At 10-years-old, Willow Smith was whipping her hair back and forth, now the 20-year-old is headbanging and breaking into the pop-punk scene.
On April 27th, Smith opened a new chapter of her music career, she released her single “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” which was paired with a visual performance.
‼️T R A N S P A R E N T S O U L‼️ IS OUT NOW ✨ pic.twitter.com/Y9Jzjr8WMn
— WILLOW (@OfficialWillow) April 28, 2021
“I thought this was a really dope outlet for a new energy I wanted to bring to my music,” said Smith.
The video was shot with a fisheye lens and grainy vintage filters send viewers back to the days of 90s grunge. The singer can be seen in a white room rocking multiple edgy outfits inspired by goth and punk fashion, along with cybergoth hairstyles and dramatic makeup.
Visuals from Willow’s ‘Transparent Souls’🖤 pic.twitter.com/vPMGhWUu3H
— LAPP (@lappthebrand) April 29, 2021
Lyrically the song took inspiration from a quote by the Hindu guru, Radhanath Swami
“It is said that a saintly person is so pure that he or she acts like a spotless mirror. When we come in the presence of such a mirror–like soul, we can see both the beauty and ugliness of our inner life,” said the guru.
The song also takes inspiration from well-known emo bands like Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and My Chemical Romance. Smith even took inspiration from her mother Jada Pinkett Smith, who fronted the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom back in the early 2000s. The “Wait a Minute!” singer was unsure if she could pull off rock vocals, but wanted to follow in her mom’s footsteps.
“I was always so inspired by the power of her voice,” said Smith about her mother. Jada also inspired her daughter to play guitar on the new track.
“I realized that it’s not my voice that can’t sing this kind of music,” said Smith to Kerrang, “I was afraid to sing this kind of music because I wasn’t sure what people would think.”
So far the track has been well-received, but some gatekeepers of the alternative music scene have had their opinions. With pop-punk making a comeback into the mainstream, not everyone has been the most accepting.
“We need to stop willow. She’s doing nothing to help pop punk, only for herself” – a white man twice her age who has done nothing to help pop punk but listen to 7 bands he loved 20 years ago.
— CEO of Ska (They/Them) (@Skatunenetwork) April 30, 2021
I think the new willow smith track has triggered them into once again thinking they decided who is an didn’t “punk”
— Dan isn’t real (@kiddthirteen) April 29, 2021
At the forefront of the new pop-punk movement is Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker who is featured on Smith’s track. Barker has also worked with Machine Gun Kelly, who swapped genres from rap to pop-punk, along with other charting artists like Yungblud and Mod Sun. If an artist wants a successful punk song, Barker is the man to turn to.
“Travis is one of my favorite artists. And it’s so interesting because he is a drummer, but he’s so much more than that,” said Smith to Apple Music 1’s Zane Lowe. “Being in the studio with him really showed me how multi-dimensional his artistry really is.”
This new side of Smith is just the beginning, “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” is the first track off her fifth studio album which is set to release this summer. Check out the eccentric music video below.