Though she’s been working in music since her preteen days, it’s been almost ten years since Jhene Aiko released her official debut mixtape Sailing Soul(s). To celebrate its upcoming anniversary later this month, Aiko is rereleasing the project to streaming services for the first time ever — and it includes an exclusive track.
Sailing Soul(s) is the first project Aiko released after having adverse meetings with label heads. Instead of trying to put the mixtape out through a label, Aiko decided to debut the project through her own website. In a post about it, Aiko wrote she was sick of trying to “sell” herself to label executives at the time:
“this mixtape was a pivotal moment for me. when i was 12 i was signed to a label, singing songs i had no real connection to. besides that, i had no real stories of my own to tell at 12 lol. then i took a break to focus on school. in my teens i was singing demo records and taking meetings. i met with one record exec who told me i needed to do a better job as ‘selling’ myself when i came into meetings. dressing like myself, singing like myself, talking like myself… wasn’t enough. i thought, ‘why do i have to sell myself? why do i have to try to convince you of my worth? of who i am??? from that point on i decided i would never try to ‘sell’ myself. i would simply BE myself and whoever felt a connection would SEE ME and my worth.”
Sailing Soul(s) is out on streaming services 3/12 via 2Fish/ArtClub/Def Jam Recordings. Pre-save it here.