Willow Smith is one of the closest things that I think you could get to a Hollywood princess. She is the daughter of superstars Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and her brother Jaden Smith is also relatively well-known. From an early age, Willow was able to see her own success through the release of hit singles like “Whip My Hair”. A lot of people are sure to recognize that song, but those same people may wonder what Willow Smith has been doing since then. What’s Willow Smith been doing more recently? Is she still making music, or has she been working more in film like her parents?
Willow Smith’s Early Life and Career
Willow Smith was born in October of 2000 in Los Angeles, California. As the daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, it isn’t much of a surprise that she was exposed to the entertainment industry as such an early age. Willow saw her acting debut in 2007, when she appeared alongside her father Will in the critically acclaimed film I Am Legend. In 2008, Smith saw another prominent acting role in the film Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. This movie, which had Julia Roberts as an executive producer, featured the talents of performers like Abigail Breslin, Jane Krakowski, John Cusack, and Stanley Tucci. Willow even saw her debut as a voice actor in 2008, when she provided the voice for young Gloria in the animated movie Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. (Fun fact: Willow’s mother Jada Pinkett Smith provides the voice for adult Gloria in the film series.) With all of these roles under her belt, I think that it’s safe to say that Willow Smith was developing quite a name for herself as a child actor.
However, in the years to come she would show that she didn’t just hold an interest in acting. In 2010, she released her very first single, entitled “Whip My Hair”. The song achieved significant commercial success, with many critics praising the song for its universal appeal and catchy hook. A lot of people were also impressed by the musical talent that Willow was showing at such a young age. In February of 2011, she released another major song in the form of “21st Century Girl”. Although this track was not quite as popular as “Whip My Hair”, it still garnered a good deal of attention. Willow was even able to perform the song at the White House Easter Egg Hunt. Around this time, Will Smith had announced that he was going to be working on a modern remake of Annie. Willow was in talks to play in titular role at first, but once production of the film had finally begun in 2013, she was too old to play the young orphan.
Anyway, Willow was working a lot in music during this time. In October of 2011, “Fireball” was released, a collaboration between Willow Smith and rapper Nicki Minaj. Despite the starpower that the song boasted, it was a commercial failure, which may explain why no one has ever really heard of it. During this time, Willow announced that she was working on her first studio album. However, the album was eventually postponed for a later release. This album, which was meant to be called Elbows and Knees, never actually ended up seeing the light of date. Instead, Smith would spend most of her time releasing songs like “Summer Fling”, “Do it Like Me (Rockstar)”, and “I Am Me”. It’s hard for a lot of young entertainers to shed their earlier, more child-like images, and that is a challenge that Willow Smith would face as she grew into more adult artistry.
Willow Smith’s Maturing Image
Just like any other former child star, it was initially difficult for Willow Smith to be seen in a more adult light by her audiences. The song “Summer Fling”, which was released when she was just 13 years old, received some heat from critics for its use of the term “fling”. In this context, “fling” is occasionally used to refer to a brief sexual encounter or relationship, which is obviously something that is a bit inappropriate for a 13 year old girl to be singing about. However, Willow Smith took to the media to clarify that the song wasn’t meant to be sexual in any way. In the context of the lyrics, “fling” was just meant to refer to something short and fleeting in length. She wrote the song as a way of talking about a summer that passes by quickly, which I think is something that a lot of young kids can easily relate to. Both her and her brother Jaden would struggle with these kinds of controversies as they aged.
In October of 2014, Willow released her debut EP entitled 3. This EP, although it wasn’t very successful on a commercial level, received a huge amount of critical acclaim. Reviewers and casual listeners alike were astonished by the album’s sound, which was markedly different from a lot of Willow’s earlier work. One of the more popular songs to come from the EP was “5”, a chill R&B track that featured the rap talents of her brother Jaden. I think that just about anyone can take a quick listen to one of the tracks to come from this EP and realize that Willow has become a lot more than just a teen pop star. Even at the young age of 14 years old, she was showing a level of artistry and talent that a lot of aspiring artists would dream to be able to attain. Willow Smith carried this momentum into 2015, when she released the songs “F Q-C #7” and “Why Don’t You Cry”.
Willow Smith took a page out of Beyonce’s book in December of 2015 when she released the album Ardipithecus without any kind of warning or promotion ahead of time. The album received mixed critical reception, with many critics saying that the production and Willow’s voice were beautiful, but the lyricism behind a lot of the songs fell flat. Either way, Ardipithecus was a modestly successful release, and Willow had finally completed her debut studio album. Following the release of this album, however, Smith went quiet for a fairly significant period of time. What did she do after she had released this album? Is she still making music? What has Willow Smith been doing in 2017?
What’s Willow Smith Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
Just a year following the release of Ardipthecus, Willow Smith self-released another EP. This one was entitled Mellifluous, and it received a warm reception from many of her fans. The EP only had three tracks, but its release at least indicated that Willow had yet to abandon the music industry entirely. It showed that she was still dedicated to furthering herself as a musical artist. In 2016, she also collaborated with Kid Cudi on his album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’, contributing to the track “Rose Golden”. Outside of music, Willow Smith has also shown that she’s quite the popular pop culture icon. As someone so young, famous, and popular, she has received a lot of attention as a fashion icon. At the 2016 Fashion Awards, her and her brother Jaden were named New Fashion Icons. In December of 2016, Willow was featured in Vogue Paris. I think it goes without saying that, despite her age, Willow Smith has achieved a lot of success in show business.