WILLOW has announced her new album, Lately I Feel Everything, will drop July 16 through MSFTSMusic/Roc Nation/Polydor. The first single off the record, “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l,” was released in April and features blink-182’s Travis Barker. The alternative anthem gives fans a hint of what’s to come from the rest of the project.
WILLOW announced the date on her Instagram June 23. She wrote, “<LATELY I FEEL EVERYTHING> THE ALBUM DROPS !!JULY16th!!”
WILLOW’s fifth album release, Lately I Feel Everything, is set to be unlike anything the artist has created before, which isn’t surprising. WILLOW has proven to be unconstrained by genre, moving from R&B to pop punk with ease.
WILLOW spoke about her relationship with labeling music in her interview for her debut cover story with Alternative Press.
“I feel like in some cases genre can be helpful because it is historical,” WILLOW explains. “And the only reason why we’re seeing so much genre-mixing today is because it’s 2021 and so much has evolved. I feel like it’s really case by case, but overall, I’m all for getting rid of the categories and just doing whatever you feel. But sometimes when I’m conceptualizing things, I do need to know each different kind of genre that I’m going to be nodding to—like laying out a road map that’s specifically for me.”
The inspirations behind WILLOW’s unapologetic and frequently evolving sound include My Chemical Romance, Paramore, Avril Lavigne and her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith, who used to play in heavy-metal band Wicked Wisdom.
WILLOW also revealed that she is collaborating with Lavigne on her forthcoming album in her AltPress cover interview.
“From the age of like 3 to maybe 10, I was regularly going on tour with my mom and her metal band, Wicked Wisdom,” WILLOW exclusively told Alternative Press.
“I would sing her songs on the tour bus, just living in that environment,” WILLOW says. “So the first icon that I was ever like, ‘Oh, my goodness, I want to be this person,’ weirdly enough, was my mom! She had these really big, hard songs where she would just growl and scream. It was so passionate, and I remember knowing that was what I wanted. I wanted that excitement and that expression.”
“But it’s so interesting because I wanted it so deeply but felt like I couldn’t do it, Willow says. “Like my voice wouldn’t allow me to make that kind of sound for myself. It took a lot of years for me to realize that I can make it authentic to me, and it doesn’t have to be exactly how my mom did it or exactly how Avril Lavigne did it or how anyone else did it. Through this process, I’ve come to a realization that I can’t be insecure about it. I need to follow the genres and the kinds of music that inspire me, regardless of what I think people might think about it.”
Even with such powerful heroes to look up to, it wasn’t always easy for WILLOW to show her punk-rock side.
“I realized that it’s not my voice that can’t sing this kind of music,” she told AltPress. “I was afraid to sing this kind of music because I wasn’t sure what people would think.”
WILLOW went on to discuss the importance of her mother for helping her find a place in a genre that hasn’t always been welcoming to Black women.
“I remember feeling exactly like, ‘Wow, I just want to be a cute emo girl and just live my life.’ There’s a barrier there, every single time. And that’s one of the reasons why I loved watching my mom on Ozzfest and touring metal. A lot of people didn’t want her to be doing that. A lot of people felt offended and angry that a Black famous woman was there in their community, doing something that they didn’t want her to be doing.”
“She got so many death threats; people were throwing shit at her onstage, just being really, really racist and nasty and sexist. And me seeing that happen and seeing how gracefully she dealt with it, I was like, ‘Damn, if this is what I’m going to have to go up against out there, I’m going to have to do some mental and emotional training.’ And she helps me do that.”
Despite the uncertainty of the past, WILLOW has also learned how to grow alongside her music. She has come to terms with the journey her sound has taken.
“I spent so many of my teenage years just being angsty and depressed and being like, ‘I hate that song [“Whip My Hair”],’” WILLOW says.
“I thought I hated that era, hated everything about it. But I realized as I grew up, I’m still saying the same shit. I’m still telling women and people of all colors to stand up for their truth and to take that leap to truly know themselves and to be honest with themselves.”
“I feel like that song was just a different version of that same message, WILLOW says. “And when I realized that, I realized there’s no reason to be upset. I was preaching some real stuff, and I should be proud of that. Taking back that ownership and that feeling of power and that feeling of just like, ‘I did that…’ I should carry that with me in my life as a badge of compassion and be in service to more people who were inspired by that.”
In addition to the album announcement, WILLOW will also be releasing the title track, “Lately I Feel Everything.”
Are you excited for WILLOW’s fifth full-length? Let us know in the comments below!