Rap-Up TV: Mila J Talks Debut, Influences, & Musical Family

Mila J is quickly making a name for herself. Following the release of her 2012 mixtape, the L.A.-bred singer/dancer inked a deal with Motown Records and showed off her impressive moves in the ’90s-inspired video for “Smoke, Drink, Break-Up” co-starring Ty Dolla $ign. Now the 30-year-old sister of Jhené Aiko is readying her full-length debut M.I.L.A. (Made in Los Angeles).

Rap-Up TV caught up with the budding star to discuss her album, musical family, and influences, which include TLC, Prince (she appeared in his 1992 video for “Diamonds and Pearls”), and Janet Jackson, whose “Rhythm Nation” tour was one of the first concerts she attended.

“I just love how she entertains,” said Mila of the pop icon. “You go to her shows, she’s gon’ have a million dancers—lights, camera, action. It was just cool to see a female dancing and singing.”

M.I.L.A. will feature a collaboration with Problem (“Pain in My Heart”) and a song called “Times Like These.” “It’s another love song, relationship-based song, but it’s really about me being there for my dude and going through the hard times,” said Mila, who comes from a musical family.

“My father was a musician and we got into [music] through him, like my brother raps, and even my older sister, she sings too,” she said.

But when it comes to family time, the sisters don’t talk about music. “If someone was to come in the house, they probably wouldn’t even know that anyone does music. We’re just about family when we’re together.”

On April 29, Mila will join Ty Dolla $ign on select dates of his “Beach House Tour,” which kicks off in Fresno, Calif.