Jhené Aiko might be new to the festival circuit but she's certainly making a name for herself. "This is my first time here at ACL, and just the energy was amazing," the up-and-comer told Fuse. "To see so many people in the crowd just there, despite the heat, there to listen to the music and to vibe—I think that’s really cool."
This year the R&B crooner released her debut full-length Souled Out, which sparked the recent interest in Aiko. "I was just super excited for people to get a legit album from me. I did the mixtape, I did the EP. For me, Souled Out is the album. I’m just excited to get that ball rolling now. It’s album time. I’m ready to put out more, honestly. Up until this point I’ve been using my music to just sort of like get through things," she explained. "For me I made sure that Souled Out was just me really expressing myself and what I was going through, and really getting through the things that I was going through, you know? I kind of feel like the EP was a little more fun, not really digging deep to who I was. I wanted to make sure that the first album, the debut album, was a real, true representation of who I am."
It's been a learning experience, to say the least. "The greatest lesson is to let go of your ego. Let the 'E' go so you can free flow. I’ve learned that. It’s super easy to get caught up in who you are and who you’re becoming and what you’re obtaining and stuff like that," she continued. "At the end of the day everyone dies and no one gets to take anything with them. I’ve learned to just keep my feet on the ground, stay grounded and not feed into the hype even if it’s my own."
She's definitely done just that and it's gotten the attention of some big names, including Chris Brown! "His manager actually texted me and said, 'We have a song you would sound good on.' I wouldn’t say that I know Chris Brown, but I’ve definitely been around him a few times. I met him probably before he put out his first albums. That was a long time ago," she said. Regarding the origins of their collabo "Drunk Texting:" "I love the song. I was actually in London and they had a tight deadline and I sent it in right away because I felt like it was so relatable that I wanted to be a part of a song like that. People can be like, 'Yes, I drunk text.'" They sure can!
Watch the full interview above and click here for our exclusive Austin City Limits coverage!