On her expansive new album, "Water Made Us," Chicago musician and poet Jamila Woods shines anew as she asks what it means to fully surrender into love? Across Water Made Us, Jamila embraces new genres, playful melodies, and hypnotizing wordplay as she wades through the exhilarating tumult of love's wreckage and refuge.
While 2017's HEAVN saw Jamila celebrating her community within a lineage of Black feminist movement organizing, and 2019's Legacy! Legacy! Reframed her life's experiences through the storied personas of iconic Black and brown artists, Water Made Us is self-revelatory in an entirely new way. The upcoming album reveals a new side of Jamila, never fully shared with her previous work, making this her most personal album yet.
Coming out of her Legacy! Legacy! Touring schedule and into 2020's COVID-19 quarantine, Jamila wanted to challenge herself to write as many songs as possible and spent several months in deep creativity and self-reflection. But despite giving herself this freedom to write without worry, she still yearned for a story to tie her disparate songs together, a clear message to hold in the distance as a guiding light. Early songs "Bugs" and "Thermostat" revealed a common thread: love, relationships, and the hard lessons learned in their wake. Journaling, therapy, and frequent consultations with a trusted astrologer all began to reflect Jamila's patterns in love and intimacy back to her. "I was able to understand these little things about myself and say 'Okay, I want to write about every one of these feelings that I always return to, or patterns that I notice, and give language to them.'" After being connected with LA-based producer McClenney, the album's story began to take shape, and the two worked together, building each song from scratch across 2021 and 2022, first virtually and then in-person at McClenney's Haven Studios in LA. The album's sequence was then carefully and cleverly designed to echo the different stages of a relationship: the early days of easy compromising, flirtatiousness, and fun; the careful negotiation through moments of conflict or hurt; the grieving of something lost; and the tender realization at the end of it all that the person who is gone never really leaves, but stays with you as you find yourself ready to try again, refreshed and reassured.
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