Jhene Aiko Reminsces About Dancing With Prince During One of His 2011 Concerts

Jhené Aiko
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella

Jhené Aiko backstage during day 1 of the 2016 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Weekend 2 at the Empire Polo Club on April 22, 2016 in Indio, Calif.  

Singer Jhene Aiko isn't on the Coachella bill this year, but the singer is a Coachella vet: Her 2014 performance included guest drop-ins from Drake and Childish Gambino, and this year she surprised fans with an onstage collaboration with Gallant on the duo's "Skipping Stones" before they broke out what turns out to be a near-impromptu "Diamonds and Pearls" in tribute of Prince on Friday night during weekend 2 of the music fest in Indio, Calif.

Backstage, Aiko told Billboard that her father was the one to break the news that the singer had passed away. "My dad texted me early in the morning before I went on social media," she said. "I don't know how he heard so early, but he sent a message -- my whole family is big Prince fans.

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In fact, though she never worked with the star, her sisters sort of did -- and she did get to perform with him. That all sounds like a mix-up, but here's her explanation: "My two older sisters were in the music video for 'Diamonds and Pearls' when they were babies. We went to one of [his 21 concerts in 2011] at the Forum, and he called up me and my sisters to dance on stage with him -- and we danced on stage with him for six songs. We had so much fun. That's when I realized he was my size!" 
 As for her collaboration with Gallant, the one-off performance came together at the last minute. "I suggested 'Diamonds and Pearls' because it's my favorite," Aiko told Billboard. "Gallant wanted to do 'Purple Rain,' and I was like, 'Everyone's going to want to do 'Purple Rain.' We didn't rehearse it or anything, and were like, 'Let's do it.'"

Gallant later got his wish, too, performing "Purple Rain" with Sufjan Stevens, which Aiko surely approved of. After all, she says, "every singer performer [at Coachella] should definitely pay homage."


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