The Records That Made Me: Jlin

By in Features





With The Records That Made Me, VF uncovers the vinyl releases that have influenced and shaped our favourite musicians, DJs and artists. 

Jlin is an innovator. Coming to prominence on Planet Mu’s legendary second Bangs & Works compilation, Jlin has since enthralled audiences with her forward-thinking expansion of the footwork genre, earning herself a name as one of contemporary electronic’s most exciting artists and collaborating with the likes of SOPHIE, Philip Glass, Björk and William Basinski along the way.

Jlin’s first brush with vinyl came through her mother’s expansive collection. “My mom always listened to records when she was pregnant with me,” Jlin explains. “But vinyl came into my consciousness when I was like three or four years old”. Her first record was from soul legend Luther Vandross, followed by Earth, Wind & Fire.

These days, Jlin’s record-buying centres around stumbling upon her favourites in the wild. “I am such a homebody but if I’m out, and I see a record I like, I’ll get it,” she says. Despite her casual vinyl collecting, having her work on wax is important to Jlin. “Whether it’s an EP or LP, I’m always just so grateful to have it on vinyl,” she says. “Vinyl is such a rare thing in the world of streaming and digital. When you have vinyl, it’s a super keepsake.”

Ahead of the release of her upcoming album, Akoma, on March 22, we find out about the records that made Jlin.


Lovers Rock


Everybody knows Sade and her band are so ahead of their time but when Lover’s Rock came out, it just touched me in a totally different way. It was like, “Damn can she keep elevating any higher?” and then every time she does. I just love Lover’s Rock. “Slave Song” is my favourite track by Sade because, firstly, the lyrics and then also the way it’s structured. It’s such a broad stroke to me–the lyrics, her voice, and the band are always on point.

Then there’s “Every Word” and, of course, “King Of Sorrow”. Track-for-track the album never misses. Sade is my favourite artist, and this record is just track-for-track. With a lot of records, you’ll be skipping around for your favourite songs, but there are no skips on this record.

Curtis Mayfield



Superfly is genius. The way Curtis Mayfield just arranged music is like, “Wow”. It’s bizarre to me. “Give Me Your Love” on that record is so well arranged. When I say arranging, most people think I’m talking about the technicality of arranging, and that’s not it. I’m an intuitive creator and I can hear the intuition in all of his music. A song like “Freddie’s Dead”–who the hell else could come up with that besides Curtis Mayfield? Nobody.

Curtis Mayfield is another person who just was so well tapped into himself. That’s why I love that record. I mean, I love other Curtis Mayfield records as well, but here his voice has such a presence and is so distinct. Curtis is a whole universe.

Earth, Wind & Fire

All ‘N’ All


Let’s just be very clear, everything Earth, Wind & Fire has ever created is a masterpiece. Maurice White is somebody that influences me a lot. The way that he thought spiritually definitely fed into how he created, and that is very much the same with me as well.

He created with intent. Most people, when you say that, ask what was the intention. I think that’s a problem–everything is not so black and white. Some things just are what they are, whether they’re understood or not, because sometimes even the person who’s creating may not even understand fully themselves but they did but they are the vessel in which it comes out and I think that needs to be respected.

When I listen to Earth, Wind and Fire and look at their album artwork, I can just see you can see the spirituality and how they were ahead of their time. They had a unity that was so grounded and beautiful. One of my favourite songs on this record is “Fantasy” and then there’s the beautiful love song “I’ll Write A Song For You”. It is so elegant and beautiful, not even just because of the lyrics but also the melody and the entire arrangement. Everything Earth, Wind & Fire does is like that though. They never miss.

Jazmine Sullivan

Heaux Tales


Jazmine Sullivan is right up there with Leila Hathaway and I’m not trying to make a comparison between the two of them, but she does not get the recognition that she deserves for her range. Also, whoever does her arrangements is amazing–I’m sure she’s definitely involved, if she doesn’t do them all herself. She is so versatile in whatever she touches.

She has this unique pitch in her voice that you know as soon as you hear it, and her musicality is just beyond. She’s another person that taps in but I cannot wait until she taps into a space where she’s just like, “This is it”.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Heaux Tales from start to finish. But I know Jazmine got so much inside of her. I cannot wait until it just all pours out and you can hear it. Missy Elliott got a hold of her–Missy has a beautiful ear too, especially with vocals. She can sing herself. Missy is a great person to bring out a vocalist and when I first heard Jazmine Sullivan, I was like,” Ooh, she’s something very special. Definitely”. Heaux Tales is great, but I know she has so much more to offer and I can’t wait.

Lupe Fiasco

Tetsuo & Youth


“Mural” on that record is like an eight-minute freestyle–I’ve never heard anyone do that. It’s beyond me. I had to rewind when I first heard that track, and I rewinded it back at least 30 times.

With Lupe Fiasco, ever since “Kick Push,” you knew he was special. When I heard him, I was saying, “Oh yeah, Lupe got that thing”. But when I heard “Tetsuo and Youth”, I was like, “Wow”. Only Lupe can come up with a lyric like “Paint cold pictures like Nova Scotia landscapes”. He’s just brilliant. I mean, he ain’t teaching at MIT for no reason. A brilliant mind.

Lyrically, Lupe is so on point and you hear his wisdom come through in the storytelling. You also hear this spiritual route, and the spirituality coming through the wisdom–I love things like that, when a person has tapped into themselves. It just makes your spirit smile.

Jlin plays In The Round Festival at Roundhouse, London on April 23. Tickets are available now.

Read more of The Records That Made Me series here.