Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. Her performing name, Jhene Aiko, is pronounced "Juh-nay Ahh-ee-ko."
Jhené Aiko has a hugely diverse ethnic background: Her father, Dr. Karamo Chilombo, is Native-American, German Jewish and African-American and her mother, Christina Yamamoto, is Japanese, Spanish and Dominican.
In 1991, an adolescent Mila J appeared in the video for Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls." She is Aiko's older sister. Milo J and Aiko's other older sister Jamila were both in the R&B group Gyrl.
Aiko started out in the tween R&B world while signed to The Ultimate Group. She contributed backing vocals and appearing in videos for B2K in the early 2000s as well as serving as the boy band's opening act on their Scream Tour 3. Aiko also recorded a song in 2002 for The Master of Disguise soundtrack.
Jhené Aiko put her budding music career on the back burner in the mid-2000s to continue her education. She also conceived a daughter with R&B singer O'Ryan. Namiko Love was born on November 19, 2008.
Namiko can be seen tugging on her mother's hair as she tries to write a song in the video for "The Pressure
." She can also be heard duetting with her mom on another Souled Out
Aiko honed her electro-soul sound through free mixtapes and in 2012 signed with producer No I.D.'s Def Jam subsidiary Atrium. A friendship with Drake led to their Nothing Was The Same
collaboration "From Time
." Aiko joined the Toronto MC on his Saturday Night Live
performance of the song and also supported him on tour..
Before releasing her debut Sail Out
EP in November 2013, Aiko provided vocals for several other artists including Big Sean ("Beware
") and J. Cole ("Sparks Will Fly
She lost her brother Miyagi to a brain tumour on July 19, 2012. Aiko has a tattoo with tiny characters on her left wrist that represents the last Tweet Miyagi sent to her: "Why aren't you smiling?"
Aiko is a practising Buddhist. She gravitated towards the religion at the age of 15 because "it's not very preachy" and it requires that "you let go of the ego."