Willow Smith Credits an Iconic Rock Band for Inspiring Her to Return to Music

Willow Smith recently returned to the music world with a new passion for creating audio art, and she credits one iconic rock band for inspiring her. Speaking to NME, Smith shared that she'd spent about a year avoiding music, but was sparked to create again while listening to Radiohead's "Codex," from the 2011 album The King of Limbs. "I hadn't made music in such a long time, but that song slapped, so I wanted to see if I could do anything on it," she said, revealing that she wrote her own song by using the into of the Radiohead tune.

"I looped the intro and it turned into 'Sugar & Spice', which is on YouTube," she continued. "It's kinda random and really depressing, but I thought it sounded tight. That's when I knew it was going to be OK. 'If Radiohead can make songs that sound this amazing, music is worth it and I should try and continue.'" As for why she had quit music in the first place, Smith explained that it stemmed from the grueling work she had to do o the heels of her first single, "Whip My Hair." This included global touring and stressful press expectations.

"I was extremely done with music after that. I tried to do so many other things. I didn't make music for a whole year, which is insane for me," she said. "I wanted to do other things to figure out if music was the real deal or not. But it just stuck, man. It would not go away. It's like music was saying, 'I'm in your mind and in your heart; your forever roommate. You could write a book if you want, but it's not going to be your main thing. You're not going to leave me behind and be an author.' I definitely could do both, and that's going to happen soon – but still: music has my heart. She's got me by the ovaries."

Finally, Smith also discussed how influential her mother has been on her, noting that Jada's time as the lead singer of metal band Wicked Wisdom had a big impact. "She showed me what being a woman is really all about. There are literally no words to describe having to get up in front of people who literally hated her, every night. She did it with such grace and power. And at every single show, she won them over. By the end of the show, the people who were calling her racial slurs and throwing things at her were like, 'Actually, they kinda went off.' That made it really worth it." Willow Smith's fourth album, Lately I Feel Everything, is out now and available on most music streaming services.