After recreating Tupac Shakur’s iconic photos last month, Jhené Aiko is paying homage to another one of her inspirations. In honor of soul legend Bill Withers’ 77th birthday, the songbird performed an acoustic medley of Withers’ classics, “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lovely Day,” backed by her guitarist Jeff.
Like Tupac, Withers has had a profound impact on the Souled Out singer. “One of the things that inspires me the most about Bill is his attention to lyrics and storytelling,” she wrote in a letter to fans. “It wasn’t about his image, being flashy, or putting on a ‘show.’ For him, it was about the song. No fluff, just pure feeling. It was about connecting. It was about the music. And it is still about the music.”
Watch her tender tribute and read her full letter below:
“Last month I payed homage to one of my favorite artists of all time; Tupac Shakur. Along with an amazing talk about Tupac’s importance with Rob Markman of MTV, I recreated some of his most iconic pictures. Though people had both negative and positive things to say about my photoshoot, the pictures weren’t taken to garner opinions. They were my way of paying tribute and giving thanks to an artist that continues to inspire me and so many others. (Of course, if you read the article or listened to the interview you already knew that ;)
We live in a day and age where young people don’t have much patience. No patience to read anything longer than 140 characters. No patience to research. No patience to study the history of the art they want so desperately to be apart of. Not only is there a lack of patience, but a lack of respect. There’s not a lot of respect being shown to the true artists that came before us. Everyone is so hell bent on being THE best that no one is taking the time to honor the individuals who have influenced us.
Well, I’m getting older and I realize that I am just a compilation of all the great creators who came before me. Not only is it my duty, it is my pleasure to show my appreciation.
This month, for his 77th birthday (July 4), I want to pay homage to Bill Withers. Bill Wither’s music has been blessing my ears since I was a baby. I didn’t know it then and not until recently did I understand, that this man is responsible for some of the most beautiful, relatable, heartfelt songs ever written. Bill is not only a genius songwriter, but an amazing singer and musician. The more research I do on Bill, the more I love him. Bill didn’t start creating music until he was in his 30’s, proving that there is no limit to what you are capable of. One of the things that inspires me the most about Bill is his attention to lyrics and storytelling. It wasn’t about his image, being flashy or putting on a “show”; it was about the song. No fluff, just pure feeling. It was about connecting. It was about the music. And it is still about the music.
Thank you Bill Withers for being so authentic. You are a true inspiration. Happy Birthday!!”