Why Willow Smith Took an "Insane" Year-Long Break After "Whip My Hair" Craze

Willow Smith revealed why she didn't write music for "a whole year" after her experience releasing the viral single "Whip My Hair" in 2010. Here’s what inspired her to return to music.

By Emlyn Travis Dec 03, 2021 11:31 PMTags
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Willow Smith almost called it quits on being a musician.   

In an interview with NME on Friday, Dec. 3, the 21-year-old singer shared that after her viral mega-hit single "Whip My Hair" in 2010, she felt like she was "extremely done with music" entirely.  

After the song's release, Willow took a break from all things related to music to see if she even really wanted to still be a musician, telling NME, "I didn't make music for a whole year, which is insane for me." 

"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," she explained. "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.'"  

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An entire year later, it would be Radiohead's song "Codex" that got her back on track. "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, creating a track that would later be known as "Sugar & Spice."  

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When she completed the song, the "Transparent Soul" singer said that everything else clicked into place. "That's when I knew I was going to be OK," she stated. "If Radiohead can make songs that sound this amazing, music is worth it and I should try to continue."  

Now, she believes that life has gone full circle with the release of her album, Lately I Feel Everything, in July. "This record is an amalgamation of everything that I wanted to be when I was 13," she shared. "The angst, the darkness and the moodiness were very important to me."  

This isn't Willow's first time explaining how being thrust into the spotlight as a child has affected her. In May 2018, Willow shared in a Red Table Talk with her mom, Jada Pinkett Smith, that she lost her sense of "sanity" after the release of "Whip My Hair" and experienced self-harm.  

"It was after that whole 'Whip My Hair' thing and I had just like stopped doing singing lessons and I was kind of in this gray area of, 'Who am I? Do I have a purpose?'" She said on the show. "'Is there anything I can do besides this?'"  

A few months later, Willow shed more light on the situation in another episode of Red Table Talk, adding that it took time to not only "forgive" her mom and dad, Will Smith, but also herself. 

"I spent a couple of years trying to regain trust for not feeling like I was being listened to or like no one cared how I felt," she added. "I had to forgive myself because I felt guilty because everyone is trying to make me better, trying to make my dream [come true]. But I didn't really understand what my dream entailed."