R&B’s Jhené Aiko dropped off her first release of 2020 with her new album, Chilombo, in the first week of March. Titled after her father’s adopted last name, the 20-track is a sonical encapsulation of Jhené’s journey towards self-healing. The well-received release was buoyed by the news that the project marked the biggest R&B debut from a women artist since Beyoncé’s Lemonade of 2016.
On Monday (March 23), she sat down with radio veteran Ebro Darden on Beats 1 where she opened up about the project’s manifestation. While speaking to Ebro about crafting Chilombo, Jhené shared that her experimentation with sound healing allowed her to process and tap into her emotions on a more intimate level.
"Growing up, I was always self-conscious and dealt with a lot of self-esteem issues. I don't know, I just never liked my face. That was one of the things I dealt with when I was younger,” Jhené shared. “I couldn't look at pictures of myself. I hated video shoots, photoshoots, all those things. I almost thought that I had that thing, what is it, body [dysmorphia] disorder, where you just see yourself very distorted when you look at yourself. Basically, I'm just not in that place anymore.”
Jhené also admitted that she used to be reluctant toward collaborating with other artists. She later learned to appreciate the element of uniting with fellow musicians despite recording all of the tracks for Chilombo in full first. Once she heard the beat for one of the album’s most popular tracks, “10k Hours,” she immediately knew who she wanted to feature on it.
“I did the full complete song and was like, ‘This beat reminds me — I hear Nas on it.’ He came, I talked to him about the song and what I meant with certain things and he went in and killed it... It was legendary.”
Listen to Jhené Aiko’s full interview on Beats 1 below:
(Photo: Gotham/GC Images)