With her first release of 2023, Chicago-based poet and singer/songwriter Jamila Woods emerges from the water to unveil a new single “Tiny Garden,” along with a new album slated for release on October 14th. Water Made Us, her first album since 2019, will be released via the Jagjaguwar label.

The new track features Candace Camacho of duendita, a Queens-based collaborative project that has worked with the likes of Wiki, MIKE, and Black Noi$e. “Tiny Garden” finds power in simplicity, based around bouncy percussion and sunny, marimba-esque chords. Woods describes her love for a partner as a tiny garden instead of a “big production”, explaining how she values a slow and steady, healing relationship during her second verse. The track was produced by Wynne Bennet, who has collaborated in the past with Twin Shadow, Janelle Monae, and serpentwithfeet. McClenney also played a part in the song’s production, who has credits with Khalid, Kyle Dion, and Mereba.

Woods’s rise to prominence came in the late 2010’s, after features and affiliation with the soulful, gospel-influenced Chicago hip-hop scene, spearheaded by the success of Chance the Rapper, Noname, Smino, and more. Her 2017 project HEAVN featured many of these rising Chicago artists, and received acclaim from critics and blogs. The new album Water Made Us, contrary to the “Tiny Garden” hook, will be a fairly big production, consisting of 17 tracks with many short interlude tracks shuffled in. The album’s iTunes pre-order credits three featured artists, those being duendita, Chicago-born MC Saba, and Social Experiment member Peter CottonTale.

As stated on Instagram, the album’s concept is inspired by the Toni Morrison quote “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” Woods explores what it is like to be pulled away from yourself, like a riptide pulls you out from the shore. A music video for “Tiny Garden” was also released with the single, and can be viewed on Wood’s YouTube channel. Water Made Us is available to pre-order and pre-save here.

Jamila Woods - Tiny Garden