Willow Smith took the stage at The FADER Fort Presented By Converse at the CMJ Music Marathon and shared a soulful and organic set with an audience mostly made up of twenty- and thirty-somethings.
According to the NewYorkPost, the show was Willow’s first performance in three years, and she debuted material from her upcoming EP 3, which will be hitting iTunes on November 10.
The 13-year old songstress performed as part of an indie-type line up at the ultra-hip Brooklyn spot on Friday – and played five tracks, three of which are from her EP, while the other two included her wistful tune “Summer Fling” and a more eclectic version of her 2010 hit “Whip My Hair”.
After her first track, Willow addressed the crowd, “I hope y’all are feeling the vibes,” before bringing out her “soul-sister”, SZA, who sang along with her as Smith bounced to the lyrics and beats and smoothly crooned enthralling melismas.
SZA, impressed, informed the crowd – “Literally, she is 13. I want to remind you she’s literally the future. You’re looking at the future onstage!”
Willow’s ability to connect with a packed room of audience members who are predominantly twice her age and beyond is quite a remarkable feat – and SZA’s declaration of Smith being “the future onstage” may not be so far off.
Willow is the precocious offspring of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who many have watched grow from an adorably eclectic fashionista to a soulful artist looking for self-transcendence.
Willow’s obvious strong sense of self and individualistic attitude towards life at such an early age is a clear characteristic of a person with an old soul – a person who has lived for many lifetimes and who knows that he/she has a particular purpose in this one. Whether or not Smith knows her purpose in life may not be so clear, but what does show is that this young star wants to positively influence those around her, and call out some of the bull**** in the world along the way.
Speaking with TheFader, Willow stated with open enthusiasm, “The government, they’re trying to do all this stuff, and I’m speaking that out in my art a lot,” she said. “I’m just trying to get everyone else to see it.”
Taking a page from her experience in the seventh grade after turning down the role of Annie and deciding to leave Hollywood to ‘be a kid,’ Smith said it turned out to be one of the worst experiences in her life – “They teach you to just go to school, go to college, and then get a job,” and consequently “repress creativity.”
Seemingly on the right path, the young artist – who was said to be the biggest star in the Smith family by Will and big brother Jaden in an interview with NewYorkMagazine– has already inspired her kin. “She has a magic power in the family… There’s something really incendiary about a 12-year-old girl who says and does what she wants,” said Will.
“She just knows who she is, so she just is.” Jaden explained.
Willow, whose recent songs offer a more soulful and honeyed R&B feel like “8,” gives a glimpse into the heart of this young crooner with smooth falsetto lyrics like – “Take the money, take the fame/ All I want is truth…”
In her interview with The Fader, Smith stated with assured confidence, “I’m transitioning from being someone I thought I was to, like, ‘Wait, that’s not me,’ she said. Adding, “I wanna transcend personality. I wanna transcend all of that and go into a higher state of being.”