Born and raised in Los Angeles, R&B singer/songwriter Jhené Aiko first came to prominence during the early years of the 2000s when she was signed to Epic and contributed vocals to several tracks for labelmates B2K. Coming from a musical family, with two of her sisters (Miyoko and Jamila) members of the group Gyrl, Aiko had all the musical grounding to launch her later successes through various appearances on music videos and soundtracks.
After collaborating with other artists during her early to mid-teens, she took a brief hiatus to finish her education. In 2011, she released her comeback mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), comprised of dreamy, minimal R&B vocals; it was entirely written by Aiko herself and featured collaborations with Drake, Gucci Mane, and Kanye West. In 2012, she signed with Def Jam through No I.D.'s ARTium imprint and released the single "3:16AM." The following year proved to be pivotal for Aiko — she featured on Big Sean's Top 40 hit "Beware" and teamed up with Drake for an appearance on his highly anticipated album Nothing Was the Same. Critics praised her performance with Drake, which raised her profile globally.
In November 2013 she released her debut EP, Sail Out, which included the tracks "Bed Peace" (featuring Childish Gambino) and "The Worst," the latter of which peaked at number nine on Billboard's R&B chart. Souled Out, her proper debut album, was released the following September.