Where were you when you were first introduced to the artistry of Aina Brei’Yon?
I can still recall distinctly being a young lesbian preparing to cross the street on the eastside of Chicago when out of my peripheral I saw a car turning the corner. Inside was someone with a striking face and a gorgeous afro. As this individual drove by I was so struck by their features that I could only mouth “wow” before proceeding to cross the street and continue living my young teenage day.
It would be a few years later before an older cousin of mine would introduce me to the music of a rapper by the name of Temper. Oh, so this human had been doubly blessed? I could dig it.
Since then I have watched this talent grow and bloom in their craft, passions and self-evolution. As fortune would have it, Ms. Malcolm Hughes was recently able to ask a few questions of the multihyphenate artist and creator.
Why is now the right time for you to finally go on a solo tour?
I don’t believe there is a right time for anything. You either do it or you’ll never get to it. I just had to trust myself. Plus, it’s long overdue.
What does the name of the tour, the Black Lion Experience, symbolize to you?
The Black Lion Experience symbolizes power, and certainty for me. It symbolizes my bravery to walk in my purpose.
What is something fans who have seen you perform in the past can expect this time around?
My supporters will see more of me as a person and as an artist. They will get to feel what I felt while writing my songs. Careers, like every other aspect of life, must evolve for them to truly grow.
What did the name change from Temper to Aina Brei’Yon symbolize for your career transition?
I felt that Temper boxed me in as an artist. That name feels one dimensional and there’s more to me than that. I changed my name to support that growth and broaden my audiences view of my work.
What drives your inspiration?
There are things instilled in me that I honestly can’t explain. Not having that support system as a child, I was still able to see in me what others couldn’t see. I’ve always been special. My drive comes from a place I can’t describe. I just know it’s up to me to break my family cycle, so I always keep that in mind.
A lot of your older music is still really popular with fans, myself included, why isn’t it available across streaming platforms or YouTube? If we purchased it we still have access, but I’m curious to know your reasoning, especially in the streaming era.
I removed my old music to reroute people to where I’m actually at versus staying where I use to be. I wanted to attract new energy.
You once mentioned having a career as a chef, is that something you think you’ll pursue in the future?
I’m going to own a few restaurants and a few food trucks. That is still going to happen.
What’s your response to the recurring question of why you chose not to pursue a career as an androgynous model?
I make the same face in every picture lol. I’m not against modeling. I’m just not passionate about it.
If you could give any advice to your younger artistic self, what would it be?
That everybody is not going to like what you do and to not take it personally.
Finally, what can we expect from you, and the music moving forward?
Just keep expecting authenticity and keep an open mind.
Looking for more opportunities to experience Aina Brei’Yon?
Check out these projects:
1. All new music.
2. The Figuring It Out show where Aina discusses “real life situations, and help with figuring each one out.”
3. Aina Truck Chronicles where you get to experience more of the intellectual and philosophical Aina Brei’Yon.
Photo: Aina Brei’Yon