Willow Smith says it took “courage” to take a career break.
Following the success of her single ‘Whip My Hair’ in 2010, when she was just 10 years old, Willow was due to record her debut album with Roc Nation but she walked away and took a break from 2011 to 2014.
She told Billboard: “It took a lot of courage for me to say ‘no’ because everyone was rooting for me and trying to support me and expected me to do it. I was just going to dig myself a deeper and deeper hole if I didn’t advocate for myself as early as I did.”
Roc Nation co-president Omar Grant said: “We’re invested in the long-term career of artists. Giving her that space and knowing how young she was and how long of a runway she has… it’s fine for her to take a break and to find herself.”
Willow, 21, now steers her career in the way she wants and she is happy that she has been able to work in the rock genre.
She said: “I wanted to go for rock. I didn’t want to go for pop punk. I didn’t want to go for what’s necessarily popular right now. I wanted to go for the heart of rock music, which to me is a deep outcry — maybe about pain, maybe about joy.”
Roc Nation co-president Shari Bryant said: “We want to make sure that we are supporting and we’re not manufacturing an artist. If an artist is telling us, ‘This is the state that I am in today, and this is where my passion lies,’ from a label standpoint, it’s up to us to support that. Willow has always shown nothing but pure authenticity. She has been a self-starter. She has been involved in every project. Once that comes across, it’s like, how could you deny it?”