Tempering sharp and powerful lyrics with a sweetly melodic voice, Jamila Woods is an activist, poet, and R&B singer/songwriter whose inspirations include Gwendolyn Brooks and Toni Morrison, as well as Erykah Badu and Kendrick Lamar. A native of Chicago, Woods started performing in church. After she graduated from Brown University, she returned home and formed the self-termed “adventure soul” duo Milo & Otis, aka M&O, who released The Joy (2012) and Almost Us (2014), the former of which featured an appearance from Chance the Rapper. Woods and Chance connected again for “Sunday Candy,” a highlight from Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment’s Surf (2015). Early the following year, signed to Chicago’s Closed Sessions label as a solo artist, Woods released her first single, the charged and proud “Blk Girl Soldier.” Around the same time, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis issued “White Privilege II,” for which Woods delivered the song’s closing lines. Shortly after that, she could be heard on “Blessings,” the finale of Chance’s Coloring Book. HEAVN, Woods’ highly anticipated debut album, arrived digitally on Closed Sessions in 2016. The following year, an expanded edition was released on multiple formats by the Jagjaguwar label.
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