Jamila Woods’ cultural time capsule makes for a commanding set at The Foundry

Jamila Woods | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN |

Chicago’s Jamila Woods makes enchanting, eclectic rock and R&B music grounded in strong songwriting, but to sum up what she does by calling her a “musician” would be a massive oversimplification. Woods has a poet’s grasp of vivid and evocative language, a cultural historian’s drive to contextualize the stories of the past into lessons for the present. She has a compelling visual sense, from coolly calculated movements onstage, to the eye-popping pillars with lyrical snippets that stand behind her four-piece band.

More than a typical concert, Woods’ performance to a packed house at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philly last night was a seminar, a workshop, a multimedia encapsulation of a time and place in history, weaving together stories of personal frustrations with observations about the collective struggles of marginalized citizens over the past century. This is a central theme of Woods’ new album Legacy! Legacy!, where almost all the songs are named for important voices in black and brown cultural history — Octavia Butler to Miles Davis to Jean-Michel Basquiat. Continue reading →


Jamila Woods returns with “ZORA” from new album LEGACY! LEGACY!

Jamila Woods | photo by Bradley Murray | courtesy of the artist

Chicago singer-songwriter and #NPRSlingshot alum Jamila Woods returns this spring with LEGACY! LEGACY!, her sophomore album and followup to 2016’s acclaimed HEAVN. The album will be released via Jagjaguwar Records on May 10th, and finds Woods in a lyrically poetic place moreso then ever, as well as a collaborative one; the album features contributions from her fellow Chicagoan Saba, her prior tourmates in theMIND, as well as Nitty Scott, Nico Segal, and more.  Continue reading →


Just Announced: Gallant and Jamila Woods will play Union Transfer in October

Gallant | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN /

R&B artist Gallant announced his upcoming Fall headlining “Too Good To Be” tour, which includes a stop at Union Transfer. The name of the tour is quite fitting, considering fellow ascendant R&B star Jamila Woods is joining Gallant for the first leg of the tour.

Gallant broke onto the scene with the release of his debut album, 2016’s Ology, and rode that wave of success well into 2017, opening for John Legend on his “Darkness and Light” tour. While no official release date has been set for the highly anticipated follow-up album, Gallant has released two new songs, “Gentlemen” in April, and “Doesn’t Matter” just earlier today. Continue reading →


Catch up on the latest news from #NPRSlingshot artists Jamila Woods and Big Thief

The artists in NPR Music‘s inaugural Slingshot class — Jamila Woods, Big Thief and Lo Moon — have had a busy 2017. In addition to recording and releasing new music and traveling the world on tour, they’ve been chosen as the featured musicians in the artist-championing collaboration between NPR and several of its member stations, including XPN. Slingshot was announced in September and will continue throughout the coming year as an effort to support and promote the work of some of the most promising emerging artists out there.

Until recently, Jamila Woods was known primarily as a frequent guest collaborator in hip-hop and R&B, appearing with the likes of Chance the Rapper. Woods has been touring behind her debut solo album HEAVN, and made a stop last week at BLK Wednesday in her hometown of Chicago, adding some unexpected covers to her set. Watch Woods’ take on Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana below, where she mashes up “Killing in the Name” with “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Continue reading →


Get to know Slingshot, a new artist-championing collaboration backing Big Thief, Jamila Woods and Lo Moon

Teased this spring at the annual NonCOMM-vention, the new program Slingshot is an artist-championing collaboration between NPR Music and 18 VuHaus member stations — including founding stations WXPN, WFUV, KCRW, KUTX and The Bridge.

Over the summer, programming staff from the member stations each nominated a handful of artists to throw their support behind over the coming year. The submissions were reviewed, and the stations came to a consensus — Big ThiefJamila Woods and Lo Moon would be backed by Slingshot affiliates through interviews, editorial coverage, live performances and more over the next several months.

“Everybody in this room knows the impact of public radio on artist development,”  XPN general manager Roger LaMay told the crowd at NonCOMM this spring. “It’s really been essential with NonCOMMs and public radio writ large to pool our resources and work together to grow our impact.” Continue reading →


PHOTOS: Jamila Woods and TheMIND at Johnny Brenda’s

Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

Chicago singer, songwriter and poet Jamila Woods took the stage to a sold-out Johnny Brenda’s crowd last Wednesday night. Woods was on tour in support of her acclaimed 2016 LP HEAVN, and brought with her fellow Chi-towners theMIND, a production and multiinstrumental duo. Philly’s DJ Aura spun in between sets, and you can check out scenes from the evening care of photographer Koof Ibi Umoren. Continue reading →