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Jhené Aiko didn’t take her career seriously until she became a mother


Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Jhené Aiko is celebrating her 20th year in the music business, and as she looks back at her career, the 33-year-old singer says she realizes that she didn’t focus on making money until she gave birth to her daughter, Namiko, at the age of 20.

“When I had her, that was the pivotal moment of, ‘OK, I need to really take this seriously or I need to find another career path that guarantees a paycheck, a steady paycheck, so I can take care of me and her,'” Jhené tells Rolling Stone. “She’s been one of the main things that keeps me going. It’s inspiring for me.”

Aiko began her career at age 13 singing with B2K and appearing in the boy band’s videos. In 2002, she released her debut solo single, “No L.O.V.E.”

The six-time Grammy nominee has released three solo albums: 2014’s Souled Out, 2017’s Trip and 2020’s Chilombo. Namiko, who turns 13 in November, appeared on her first two releases, but decided not to record on Chilombo.

“She was like, ‘No, I’ll skip this one,'” the “Triggered” singer says. “She’s kind of too cool for me right now. Working with her was just one of those surreal moments. Like, I can’t believe this is my daughter and she has perfect pitch.”

She continues, “I remember being in a studio with her. It’s just like, ‘You’re me, but you’re the better version.’ It’s brought us closer for sure, being able to bring her on stage.”

Jhené was born in Los Angeles, and she loved performing with Omarion of B2K when the Millennium tour kicked off October 1 in her home city.

“Thanks for bring me out for the first night of the Millennium tour @Omarion,” she commented on Instagram. “The nostalgia was real.”

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