Jhené Aiko (born Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo, March 16, 1988) is an American singer, songwriter and recording artist from Los Angeles, California. Her older sisters Miyoko and Jamila were in the R&B group Gyrl and toured with Immature, who were signed to MCA/Silas Records. This led to Aiko’s first meeting with producer Chris Stokes when she was 5 years old, and eventually he heard her sing.
Aiko began her career being known as “Lil' Fizz's cousin,” however she is not actually related to him. It was used as a marketing tool suggested by Sony and Epic to promote her through the R&B group B2K and attract an audience, though Aiko affirms that she and Lil' Fizz grew up together and were close like family. When B2K signed with Epic Records, Aiko was signed as well.
Aiko contributed vocals to several B2K releases in 2002. She featured on several tracks on the R&B group's remix album “B2K: The Remixes – Volume 1.” “Santa Baby,” a cover she recorded, was also featured on their album “Santa Hooked Me Up” and she appeared as a guest vocalist on the song “Tease” from, “Pandemonium!.”
Aiko also has songs featured on the soundtracks of “Barbershop,” “The Master of Disguise,” “You Got Served,” “The Proud Family” and “Byou.” She released a video for her single “NO L.O.V.E.” in 2002 which debuted on BET's 106 & Park when she was 15 years old.
Aiko was set to release her self-titled debut album but the album was never released due to tension at the record label Epic, upon which Aiko asked to be released from the label. Aiko then began to focus on school. In 2007, Aiko made a return to music. She released a mixtape in March 2011 entitled “Sailing Soul(s)” via her official website. All the songs on the mixtape were written by Aiko, except “July” which was written by Micah Powell and most of the songs were produced by Fisticuffs. The mixtape featured collaborations from Miguel, Drake and Kanye West as well as others. In 2011, she also began working closely with artists from Carson-based independent record label Top Dawg Entertainment such as, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul.
In 2012, Aiko met with No I.D., record producer and vice president of A&R at Def Jam, and he ended up signing Aiko to his Artium Records imprint through Def Jam. Aiko released the track “3:16AM” which was issued in September 2012. Aiko released her debut extended play “Sail Out” in October 2013. “Bed Peace” featuring Childish Gambino was released as the albums lead single in September 2013. The single’s artwork was inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Bed-Ins for Peace, protest against the Vietnam War.