Jhené Aiko believes in her music's purpose to heal.
From her 2011 debut mixtape Sailing Souls to her third studio album Chilombo, the ethereal 32-year-old singer has not only established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the music industry but has also cemented herself in our psyche through her music.
"After hearing so many stories from fans and the reasons to why they listen to my music, I realized that my purpose in creating is to help people heal and transform," Aiko tells E! News in a recent interview via email. "Incorporating crystal bowls into my music became very important to me when I realized how much their vibrations and tones were helping me heal personally."
Sound or singing bowls are said to promote relaxation and the vibrations of a singing bowl can have beneficial changes in the body including reducing stress, balancing the body's energy system, among other healing properties. In Chilombo, the Los Angeles-bred singer plays alchemy crystal singing bowls under every song.
For example, "P*$$Y Fairy (OTW)" carries note D in the background which stimulates the sacral chakra (your passion and pleasure center) and "H.O.E (Happiness Over Everything)" is in note C and F which stimulates the heart and root chakra (your stability, security, and basic needs center) respectively.
She adds, "The more I study sound and its healing effects, the more I put intention of healing into my music."
From the spiritual and otherworldly ways in which she carries herself, Aiko is a voice for those in search of healing. And as the world continues to fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, the "Growing Apart Too" singer speaks to E! News about what she's practicing to stay grounded during anxious times, the healing effects of sound bowls, her reading recommendations and what she's doing to keep busy at home.
E! News: During a time when people throughout the country and across the globe are feeling collectively anxious and frustrated, can you share some of your personal grounding techniques?
Jhene Aiko: Putting down my phone is essential when I'm feeling anxious and/or frustrated. Sitting and focusing on my breath really helps. Instead of running away from my thoughts, I try to sit with them in silence and just breathe through anything uncomfortable that comes up. Cleaning, organizing, journaling, reading and painting helps me redirect any nervous energy into productivity and/or creativity.
E!: You've spoken about using sound healing bowls in each track of your album to activate a particular chakra in the listener and in the past, you've also held sound healing events. Can you talk more about your process with adding sound healing bowls in your new album and what led you to start incorporating them in your life to begin with?
JA: When I was a teenager I bought a Tibetan sound bowl. I fell in love with the tone and the feeling of playing the bowl. About a year before I started recording "Chilombo," I was introduced to alchemy crystal singing bowls from Crystal Tones. At the same time, I was studying sound healing and the effects that certain tones and frequencies have on our mental, spiritual and physical bodies. I started collecting the crystal bowls and using them as a form of therapy for myself.
After hearing so many stories from fans and the reasons why they listen to my music, I realized that my purpose in creating is to help people heal and transform. Incorporating the crystal bowls into my music became very important to me when I realized how much their vibrations and tones were helping me heal personally. The more I study sound and its healing effects, the more I put intention of healing into my music.
E!: In your new album, your song "10K Hours" featuring Nas meditates on the loss of a loved one—what is a piece of advice you'd give people during this time who might be experiencing loss and grief?
JA: I would tell them, it's okay to be sad and cry. Cry as often as you feel the need. Stay in contact with friends and family. Write out how you're feeling, memories and dreams. Anything you find difficult to talk about with someone else, write it down even if just to release it. Know that because you are still here, you are keeping your loved one's memory alive and the best way to honor them is to take care of yourself.
E!: What do you recommend for people at home who might want to give sound healing a try, where should they start?
JA: One of the first things I learned when I started studying sound healing is that singing the scale (Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti, Do) is actually a good warmup in balancing your chakras. Humming different tones and feeling their vibrations throughout your body is a cool way to begin to understand how sound vibration works and how it travels through your body and is beneficial on a cellular level. I would also suggest reading "The Energy Codes" by Dr. Sue Morter.
E!: As an artist who's always on the go, performing and touring (you were set to begin touring in May and also headline a music festival in Los Angeles)—how are you dealing with abruptly having to slow down in the midst of promotion for "Chilombo" and instead spend this time at home?
JA: I am a big fan of slowing down. Even when I'm super busy, my team knows that I need a lot of downtime in between shows and promo runs. With that being said, it's been an easy transition for me. I do a lot of my creating at home so I've been doing more of the same. I've been spending much needed time with my daughter and cats, cleaning and organizing, getting lots of rest and reflecting.
E!: What books are you currently revisiting and reading during this time?
JA: "Becoming Supernatural" is a book I started reading before the quarantine—it's been super beneficial during this time because it's all about how you have the power to transform your life no matter the circumstance. I've also been revisiting several books by Thich Nhat Hanh, he is a monk from Vietnam whose books I've been reading since I was about 16. His books are very poetic and flow perfectly while teaching mindfulness and how to live more peacefully. A good book to start with of his is "Peace Is Every Step."
E!: What other self-care routines are you doing at home? Are you incorporating something new into your skincare routine or cooking more?
JA: I'm always switching up my skincare routine and concocting lotions and serums out of natural oils and such. I've been spending time doing even more of that. I am definitely cooking more, getting a lot more rest, taking longer breaks from social media, spending more time with my thoughts, getting to know myself better. I often need and take long periods of time to be alone and regroup, so this time is no different… other than the fact that the world is doing it with me.