It's amazing to think that at just 25-years-old, Jhené Aiko has essentially had two separate music careers. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter initially got her start at the age of 14, where she signed a record deal with Epic and collaborated closely with R&B boy band B2K under the performing name “Jhené.” She worked on a number of releases over the next few years, including B2K’s Christmas-themed album Santa Hooked Me Up, before shifting her focus on finishing school.

Her calling for making music came back in 2011, when she released her debut mixtape Sailing Soul(s). The 13-track project displayed Jhené Aiko’s immense potential as a singer and songwriter, with smooth records like “My Mine” and “Stranger” proving to be clear standouts. Aiko’s Sailing Soul(s) immediately caught the attention of Def Jam Records, who signed her by year’s end.

We caught up with the rising star to talk about how her career has changed since the early days, the influence hip-hop has made on her sound and the importance of staying balanced. Get to know Jhené here.