Willow Smith explores new pop-punk sound alongside Travis Barker—watch
The single centers on the idea of being the best version of yourself, even if you don’t think that is possible to achieve. While Willow’s sonic influences are evident, the lyrics were inspired by a quote from a swami that urges everyone to embrace the good, the bad and the ugly about themselves. “It is said that a saintly person is so pure that he or she acts like a spotless mirror,” the quote reads. “When we come in the presence of such mirror-like soul, we can see both the beauty and the ugliness of our inner life.”
Not only does the track pull inspiration from alternative and emo figureheads such as Paramore’s Hayley Williams, My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump, Willow also drew inspiration from her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith. Along with a successful acting career, Pinkett Smith was in the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom when Willow was young.
Now, with “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” and her fifth album set for release this summer, Willow has embraced pop-punk icons such as Paramore, Avril Lavigne and My Chemical Romance and is acknowledging their impact on her style. Combined with her soulful roots, it unabashedly showcases a new side to Willow’s music.
Although you couldn’t tell listening to “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” Willow was initially unsure of how people would respond to her creating alternative music.
“I realized that it’s not my voice that can’t sing this kind of music,” she says. “I was afraid to sing this kind of music because I wasn’t sure what people would think."
She continued, saying, "I thought this was a really dope outlet for a new energy I wanted to bring to my music.”
Pinkett Smith’s involvement in Wicked Wisdom also inspired Willow to play guitar on the track as a demonstration of her ability to be involved in the entire creative process from start to finish.
“I personally feel it’s just really important to play an instrument if you’re going to have a career in music,” Willow says. “Songwriting is 15 million times easier when you can actually write the songs.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic keeping artists quarantined at home, Willow took advantage of lockdown to work on the album. The first demos of the album were recorded at her home, which further contributed to the raw, authentic sound.
Willow sees the album, which is due this summer via Roc Nation/MSFTSMusic, as a testament to an artist struggling with anxiety and overcoming it, as well as everything she has dealt with and learned through the process. But more than anything, working on the project let her reconnect with the pop-punk that influenced her as a child. Having fun was at the forefront of not only the creative process, but also the overall tone of the album.
“It was very cathartic for me,” she says. “I want to live more like that.”
Since 2018, Willow has also been a co-host with Pinkett Smith and her grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris on the Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk. The talk show gives viewers three generations of differing opinions on a variety of social and personal issues. The women also bring various guests onto the show including Kid Cudi, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Gabrielle Union and Willow's brother Jaden Smith.
You can watch the video for “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” below. Let us know in the comments what you think of Willow’s new track!
“t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” lyrics
I don’t fuckin know if it’s a lie or it’s a fact
All your little fake friends will sell your secrets for some cash
Smile in my face then put your cig out on my back
If you ever see me just get to runnin like the flash
I knew a boy just like you
He’s a snake just like you
Such a fake just like you
But I can see the truth
I can see right through just so you know
I don’t fuckin know it’s paradise or it’s a trap
Yeah, they’re treating me like royalty but is it kissin ass
No one’s brave enough to take the fall right
But it’s all your fault
Why you actin like it’s alright
I knew a girl just like you
She was vain just like you
Such a pain just like you but I can see the truth
I can see right through just so you know
It’s clear to me know
You’re scared of me wow
It’s clear to me now