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My message hasn’t really changed

WILLOW has reflected on her debut single ‘Whip My Hair’, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.

Ahead of the release of her sixth studio album ‘Empathogens’, the singer spoke about her upcoming record with Billboard News. She was asked what she thought about ‘Whip My Hair’ and how the synth-pop song catapulted her musical career at just 10-years-old.

“There were a lot of fun things about it,” she said about making music so young. “When I was a teenager, I was very like, ‘Uh, no, trauma… There were things that hurt me and things I don’t understand!’ And now, I’m like, ‘Obviously, there were things that hurt you and things that you don’t understand,’ but overall, my message hasn’t really changed!”

WILLOW explained: “‘Whip My Hair’ is like, ‘Be yourself, live out loud, don’t care what anybody thinks, express yourself!’ That hasn’t really changed. I really feel like ‘Whip My Hair’ is just a foundation for everything that has come later. It was a lot of fun. I am so grateful — I would never take it back.”

She also revealed that she “tried to run away from” music amidst the whirlwind success.

“I’ve tried to be like, ‘No! I’m not a musician, I’m gonna do something else,’ and then, guess what? It just keeps coming back!,” she said.

“That’s how you know something is really important to you,” the 23-year-old continued. “If it causes you pain and discomfort and you’re still wanting to do it? I trust that inner drive. Even through the discomfort, you’re like, ‘I gotta stick with this.’”

WILLOW was one of the last viral child stars to blow up before the rise of social media, especially TikTok. The singer joked that “it would probably be lit” if she were 10-years-old and releasing ‘Whip My Hair’ today. “I can’t even really imagine it, thinking about it [is] actually kind of interesting.”

‘Whip My Hair’ was WILLOW’s debut single and was released in 2010. The song peaked at Number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking her first entry on the chart. She has since released five solo studio albums and a collaborative LP with Tyler Cole under the name The Anxiety.

WILLOW described her new record as “jazzy” and “funk”-inspired, shifting from her recent pop-punk run. The two lead singles – ‘Symptom Of Life’ and ‘Big Feelings’ – see the singer lean closer to the psychedelic R&B sound of her first three albums. Earlier this week, she also previewed ‘Run!’ from her forthcoming album during her Tiny Desk performance.

The LP follows 2022’s ‘COPINGMECHANISM’. In a four-star review of the album, NME shared: “Over a relatively small number of tracks compared to some of the bloated albums that get released today, WILLOW has opted for quality over quantity once again.”

It continued: “However, despite utilising a similar premise as on her last album by plucking her feelings away on a guitar, ‘<COPINGMECHANISM>’ is still an important record in her musical progression. In the poetic and thoughtful nature of it, as well as the odd glimpse of where she could go next, WILLOW’s fifth record should be noted as her breaking sonically mature new ground.”

‘Empathogens’ is out now.

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