The Wondrous World of Jhene Aiko: Event Recap
Michelle Zhu | On 19, Mar 2016
We know her from her collaborations with some of the biggest names in hip hop and rap, such as Drake and Childish Gambino, but Jhene Aiko is not an artist great by association. She stands steady and strong on her own, and you should not let her petite and pretty exterior fool you.
Ghana gracedÂ Brisbane with a show at The Tivoli, taking the stage wearing a white crop top, a lacy vest, and a flowing white skirt. Her look was only an extension to how I imagine her to be on the inside- overflowing with purity and untainted by unpleasant life experiences. She took the stage, already expressing a thankfulness for those who were in attendance, and along with her long flowing garments and her elegant braid, she brought an eagerness to interact with the people she was singing to, to get to know them, and for them to get to know her.
Although her attitudes and her energy seem untainted by the unlucky hands that life can hand you, her lyrics are unafraid of exploring times of heartbreak and despair. While she sang of peace, she sang of its counterpart, and how important it is to find inner peace. She sang of hard times, and was never afraid to be vulnerable. Though her voice has a honey-sweet exterior to it, her words sometimes came with jagged edges, as she spoke about broken promises and trust, and ways that she has had her inner peace tormented and toyed with. Her voice echoed throughout The Tivoli and serenaded those who understood the universality of love and loss, as if cooing to the audience that they were not alone and that they never would be.
And while she held the hands of audience members, thanked everybodyÂ repeitively after each song and shared some wise words of wisdom, she also made sure to keep the crowd dancing and moving. She played some of her most upbeat numbers, including ‘Post to Be’, the first time just her verse with the iconic line that shall not be repeated (you know the one thatÂ I mean), and the second time a slowed down, jazzier version, just so we could relive the particular lineÂ withÂ a completely different mood. She sang her verses of ‘Bed Peace’ that features Childish Gambino, and ‘From Time’ that features Drake, and the best part about each of those performances was how she sang of the love she has for herself, and the way both tracks dominatedÂ her as a powerful woman within the competitive R&B and hip hop industry.
She giggled and grinned at the crowd, as if it was her first show, and each annunciation of every word and syllable showed how directly she believed in them, herself and everybody who cared to listen. Another amazing thing about the entire performance was how deeply involved the audiences were in entering her world, and in being completely immersed in the energy that Jhene Aiko made sure she expressed. There was a direct communication that took place while she performed, and the ebb and flow of dialogue was transmitted through a voice as smooth as honey, open to sharing her insecurities and imperfections, but also urging us to believe in ourselves and our own inner forces.
Being invited to Jhene Aiko’s world was a humbling and intimate experience, and I do not think I am alone when I say that every audience member took a piece of it home with them, because Jhene was so undeniably willing to share.