Hours after being nominated for three Grammys on Friday, R&B singer-songwriter Jhene Aiko took the Electric Factory stage with humility, the set glowing with candles to get her to a level of complete Zen on her first headlining tour. As she faced the audience, her petite frame was buffeted by a strong gust of screams.
Aiko, 26, responded with ethereal vocals. One of the first songs, "To Love & Die," featuring Cocaine 80s from her album Souled Out, released in September - had aspects of a warrior anthem as she crooned, "Where I'm from, we live for the love, die for the love."
She turned it up a notch with "Bed Peace," featuring Childish Gambino from her 2013 EP, Sail Out.
The crowd was happy for an upbeat change of pace as Aiko twirled, skipped, and jumped, singing, "Wake up, wake up!"
Riding the energy, she asked audience members to take out their phones and call ex-lovers who'd done them wrong.
She took the phone of one audience member who said an ex named Andy had cheated on her. When Aiko called Andy on speakerphone, the call went to voicemail. Perfect. Phone in hand, she began to sing "Lyin King," adding Andy's name. There, there, Andy.
As the audience swayed to each lyric, some FaceTiming the entire concert to friends, the strong smell of cannabis was in the air.
Aiko noticed, adding that she no longer indulged for the sake of her voice but instead gets "high off life." She then sang the whimsical "Higher" and invited the audience to get high off her. Listeners closed their eyes and swung their heads like pendulums to the beat.
Nearing the end of her set, commenting on protests against police violence across the country, Aiko said, "It's hard to be calm when you see such unfair treatment [but] it's up to us to stay positive," then sang "Eternal Sunshine" from her new album.
She urged everyone to appreciate "all of the good things, good things - only the good, the good, the good," before launching into "W.A.Y.S.," which is dedicated to her older brother, who died of a brain tumor. "You got to lose your mind," she sang, "just to find your peace of mind."
Then she surprised fans with with an acoustic performance of "Space Jam" from her 2011 debut mixtape, Sailing Souls, leaving the audience out there in the universe, where she likes them.