Will and Jada Pinkett Smith's daughter Willow is gearing up to release her new LP, Coping Mechanism, on October 7th. While the album leans into the gothy pop-punk of its predecessor, 2021's Lately I Feel Everything, in a recent interview with Guitar.com, the singer-guitarist highlights some heavier influences.
"Rock has always been inspiring to me," said Willow, whose music previously fell more in the alternative R&B genre. "Ever since I was born, I've always been inspired by Deftones, Lamb Of God, Crowbar ... But I think that when you start doing something at such a young age, your mind is still growing in a lot of different ways. Then you grow up and you understand [that] you need to really apply yourself in a way that you might not have thought of."
She also spoke on the issue of metal gatekeeping, which has been a hot topic ever since Stranger Things introduced Metallica — and heavy metal, in general — to a whole new fan base.
"I think the only reason why it's older, white men mostly listening to this music is because metal has been gatekept for a long time by these people," Willow argued. "[Now,] new people of color are coming to say that that's really not the way that it should be. Rock is for everyone [and] I'm gonna bring my people to the space and we are gonna vibe it out like we always do. ... Hopefully the old white dudes vibe it out, too."
In September, Willow — whose mom notably fronted the nu-metal band Wicked Wisdom in the 2000s — shouted out another "old white dude" favorite, Primus, as one of her most beloved bands in an Instagram video of her jamming along to the song "Conspiranoia." The clip earned a nod from the group's Les Claypool, who wrote in the comments: "Fine guitar pickin' there young fiery lass."