Jhené Aiko caught us off guard with the lyrical content of her surprise new single “Maniac,” but the sultry songstress had a very direct inspiration for the art project that surrounds the Fisticuffs-produced record.
Aiko tapped esteemed director and photographer Steven Taylor, a master in the Japanese art form of shibari, to create artwork and visuals that involved her being tied up in rope.
“Working with Jhené on the ‘Maniac’ shoot was a true pleasure,” Taylor tells Billboard. “Not only was it an inspired idea on her part by involving the shibari artist but she also allowed me space to be creative within that. I’m really proud of the motion pieces we created in conjunction with the song and I hope it helps connect her fans and listeners to her vision on an even deeper level.”
After discovering images of shibari on Tumblr about five to six years ago, Aiko wanted to share her sexy, kinky side with the sensual track, which she made alongside Detail and Big Sean.
Below, the petite singer discusses the inspiration behind her “Maniac” art project, mixing pleasure with pain and the meaning of sexual empowerment.