Kehlani, Jhené Aiko, Teyana Taylor and Summer Walker on the State of R&B

Teyana, Kehlani, Jhené — the three of you are also mothers. How has that influenced your art and your careers?

Aiko: My daughter [Namiko Love] is going to be 12 next month — and with social media, 12 in 2020 is equivalent to 16 when I was growing up. It was easy to bring her with me to the studio when she was younger. Now she has her own opinions, feelings and space. She helps me dig deeper into who I am, my morals and beliefs. I’ve learned more from her than any book I’ve read, movie I’ve watched or class I’ve taken. It’s the reason I make the honest and vulnerable music that I make. I want to be an example for her to be herself. It keeps me wanting to work harder, but the more I spend time with her, I think, “Do I have to travel again? Can I go to college with you? Can we be a group?”

Kehlani: It provides a perspective that you don’t get from anything else in life. There are moments when I want to bring [19-month-old Adeya] with me all the time. But I know that having her with her toys and being in her space might be better for her at a particular moment. Those moments are really hard, but I have to ultimately decide what’s better for her. I also don’t get swept up in things anymore — moments where I’d think, “I’ll quit this shit, shave my head, buy a one-way ticket out and not talk to nobody.” I don’t have the opportunity to think like that anymore, and I don’t want to. I have something that keeps me grounded. If all this disappears and I can’t do this anymore, I still have the most beautiful life in the world. As much as people think parents give to children, I think children give us 10 times more.

Taylor: It’s so crazy, I bought an RV — we’re that kind of family. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a mother of two now, but I want them with me everywhere. Being back at work as a video director, my contract says there has to be an RV space. I need to have a crib and a table there for Junie so she can paint and do what she does. To Jhené’s point, Junie’s 4 going on 40. She knows exactly who everyone is on a song. Her love for music is crazy. She has also taught me to be fearless, which is something I never really was. And seeing the way [2-month-old] Rue looks at her sister — sometimes you have to have that pure innocent soul to make you feel the most beautiful. Motherhood is beautiful and tough, yet it’s everything.

Kehlani: (Laughs.) I’m about to go get pregnant again right now.

Taylor: Make sure you buy an RV!

A few of you have mentioned the scrutiny that comes with social media. How do you decide what to share and what’s too much?

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