You wouldn’t necessarily think to put Chicago garage-rockers NE-HI and the soulful, Chance The Rapper-associated singer Jamila Woods together. But luckily, you don’t have to think of it, because they already did: The two Chicago artists have teamed up to rework “The Times I’m Not There,” a track from NE-HI’s first album, with all parts rearranged and rerecorded by the band and Woods on lead vocals. All profits from the single will go to benefit Chance The Rapper’s SocialWorks charity, and you can listen and read how it came together below.
Here’s what NE-HI’s James Weir says of the collaboration:
We spent some time this summer reimagining the arrangement and rhythmic approach to “The Times I’m Not There”, a song from our first record. The idea was to explore new melodies and textures to shape around the guitar hook and find a different voice to take the song somewhere else. Jamila Woods, being the amazing vocalist that she is, came on and completely led the song into a new life. After tampering around with the edit for a while, what started as an experiment turned out to be a memorable song and recording process. Shout out to Jamila Woods, Dave Vettraino on production, and Dee Lilly on the keys! This being a project between two Chicago artists, we wanted to give all the proceeds back to young people in the city through the arts empowerment charity, SocialWorks.
Jamila Woods adds:
I had a great time working on the song with NE-HI, we had never worked together before but I really like their sound and it was fun to collaborate during the process. I think it’s dope that they chose to partner with SocialWorks for the release.