Willow Smith, who performs under the mononymous WILLOW, announced the release date for her fifth album, titled lately I feel EVERYTHING, out July 16. Her second single from the forthcoming album, “Lipstick,” was released today as well, continuing WILLOW’s venture into the depths of heavy rock.
Her first single from this new, pop punk-fueled album was “Transparent Soul,” featuring Blink-182's drummer Travis Barker, and channeling influences like Avril Lavigne, My Chemical Romance and Paramore. WILLOW was recently seen filming a new music video for the upcoming album alongside one of her idols, Lavigne. WILLOW digs into a grunge aesthetic and the cathartic release of shredding guitar in the two singles from lately I feel EVERYTHING. She’s always been a magnetic presence as a musician, and this new sound shines a new light on the limitless expression of her voice. In a genre where Black women have always existed but is still dominated by white men, this traverse into metal and punk presents new challenges for the singer.
“Being a Black woman in the metal crowd is very, very different on top of the pressures that the music industry puts on you,” WILLOW tells V Magazine about her new sonic direction. “Now, it’s like an added pressure of the metal culture, the metal world, and just rock in general. I used to get bullied in school for listening to Paramore and My Chemical Romance.”
You may first recall her as the 9 year-old who with the help of her father, Will Smith, became an overnight star with the song hip-hop track “Whip My Hair.” Over the last eleven years, the now 20-year-old has released four albums covering a range of sounds, from the electronic and hip-hop infused ARDIPITHECUS to the folk oriented and soulful The 1st. In addition to looking toward the pop-punk greats of her childhood for, WILLOW says her mother, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, has been a great inspiration for lately I feel EVERYTHING, stemming from her history as the lead of nu metal band Wicked Wisdom.
“I think that seeing my mom on stage and how she commanded the music and the band just made me realize that’s what I want to be,” WILLOW tells Alexis White for V Magazine. “I want to be that strong woman who is putting it all out there on the stage.”