Jamila Woods, the Chicago-based singer and poet whose appearance on Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s infectious single “Sunday Candy” brought her voice to national prominence, has signed to Chicago-based independent label Closed Sessions, Billboard can exclusively report. Today, she celebrates the signing by releasing a new track, “blk girl soldier,” the first single off a forthcoming project due out this spring.
Produced by Jus Cuz, the driving, soulful track is a defiant song that shines a light on the issues facing black women in this country, which Woods describes to Billboard as “therapeutic” to write.
“I drew inspiration from a protest chant I learned at a Black Youth Project 100 meeting in Chicago,” Woods writes in a statement. “I love how music and chants were used in the Civil Rights movement to help people keep marching. How songs were both a balm and a call to action. I’m interested in figuring out what freedom songs would sound like in 2016. My hope is that ‘blk girl soldier’ is a freedom song for black women today who are fighting the macro and microagressions of daily life in our city/country/world.”
In signing with Closed Sessions, Woods joins a roster that also includes producers Odd Couple and Boathouse, Illinois MC Kweku Collins and Cleveland-based rapper Kipp Stone. Since its launch, the label has released projects by Vic Mensa (Innanetape), Curren$y (3 Piece Set) and Alex Wiley (Village Party), among others.
“Jamila Woods is an incredibly talented artist that also stands for something,” Closed Sessions co-founder Alex Fruchter says. “Her addition to Closed Sessions brings great new music to the table, but also a personality and energy that we can all benefit and learn from.”
“I hold strongly to my identity as a Chicago artist and want to do whatever I can to participate in creating a strong community here so that artists don’t feel pressure to move somewhere else to succeed,” Woods says about the deal. “I really value what Closed Sessions is doing to build the Chicago music scene and am excited to partner with them for my first solo project.”
Check out her new song “blk girl soldier” above and keep an eye out for her debut solo project on the way in the coming months.