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High Notes: Jhené Aiko

Written by Rosalie Cabison • Photography by Colleen Callahan, Live Nation • November 23, 2016

Lights dimmed. Incense burned. Tea poured. Smoke billowed. Jhené Aiko brought her living room to the stage for Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in LA. Align your chakras and get the High Notes.

The house was packed as the ethereal MC hit her “Living Room Flow,” with couches, rugs, fluffy pillows and projected windows creating space for positive energy, peace and love. Live instruments served as additional furniture—baby grand piano, harp, cello and drums—complete with band members to accompany the Souled Out singer for her set, which went a little something like this:

As the setlist suggests, the performance was surprise-guest heavy. Big Sean joined Jhené for two TWENTY88 tracks and teased squealing fans with some flirty on-stage moves.

Had to share 💞 @jheneaiko @bigsean @twenty88

A video posted by Ro (@yoitsrosalie) on

Vince Staples popped up to perform his feature verse on “Vapors,” and Chris Brown came out for “Drunk Texting” and “Post to Be.” Crowd excitement peaked and Jhené went into her more energetic tracks (“Maniac” and platinum-certified single “The Worst”). I felt like my spirit and soul had been cleansed of negativity as Jhené told us “Thank you for your time, thank you for your energy” and said, “Let’s do one more.”

She took requests from her fans until there was an air of agreement for “Space Jam” off her 2011 debut EP. Lighters and phone lights went up, sending off Jhené Aiko and her sultry voice to float off stage after an incredibly lovely and intimate performance.

Stray observations:
Shout out to the band! They improvised together with admirable ease, most notably on Jhené’s 2014 single “Bed Peace.” Live instrumentation really set it apart from the studio version.

She's so amazing✨ #30daysinLA

A video posted by Julia B 🌵 (@thriftaholica) on

I haven’t seen Jhené on a solo tour prior to this, but I hope she takes this band and the living room setup on the road for all her fans to experience.

Jhené Aiko’s airy blend of singing and rhyming is often more laid back than not, but she shows her fiery and freaky side with the track “Maniac.” She’s a killer…

What’s the ONE thing people need to know about Jhené Aiko’s live show? If you’re looking to get lifted and space out a little, Jhené Aiko is a sure bet if you're seeking inner stillness. Don’t be afraid to close your eyes and sway.

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