Will Smith’s Talented Metalhead Daughter, Willow, Talks Heavy Metal Gatekeeping + Favorite Bands

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Randy Blythe: Lamb Of God Facebook / Willow: WILLOW - t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l ft. Travis Barker (Official Music Video): willowsmith, YouTube (image from Facebook)
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During a recent conversation with Guitar.com, Willow spoke to heavy metal gatekeeping and some of the metal bands that she is inspired by. While Willow has been known to work with a variety of musical genres, it was on her 2021 album Lately I Feel Everything when she really began embracing metal.

Earlier this month, she spoke to music being a form of activism and what it means to be a black woman in the world of rock. In this new interview with Guitar, Willow speaks to how “metal has been gatekept for a long time” and how rock is for everyone. Here is what she had to say about gatekeeping, as well as her efforts to bring more diversity to the genre:

“I am always hoping to spread more joy. 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. [Now,] new people of colour 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.”

Metal and rock are for everyone! We love to hear Willow championing such positivity. Later on in the conversation, Willow goes on to talk about what metal bands have influenced her (and her drive to grow as an artist):

“Rock has always been inspiring to me. 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.”

Those are some great bands there! In other news related to Willow, did you hear how Primus’ Les Claypool recently gave her a shout out over on Instagram? Willow’s new album, Coping Mechanism, will be out October 7th.