Fiery pop tween Willow Smith set the world’s ears ablaze last fall with her sassy jam “Whip My Hair”, the first offering from her upcoming debut album Willow. And today the video for her third single, the Nicki Minaj-assisted “Fireball”, is scheduled to premiere during BET’s 106 & Park.
Ahead of that, we had a chat with the 11-year-old singer about what music and which artists she considers to be her favorites. (You might be surprised at what we found nestled on the energetic pop tart’s iPod!) We also discovered that, when it comes to style influences, Willow turns to one person: herself. “I kind of go off what I think is cool,” she told us.
Head below to catch our Q&A with the youngest diva on the Roc Nation roster.
What album or artist were you most into over the past year.
WILLOW: Probably Man On The Moon 2: The Legend Of Mr. Rager, from Kid Cudi. I like it because it’s different, and it has a lot of feeling. He’s not just writing songs to write songs. He’s writing songs that are about his life.
Did you catch any concerts that blew you away in 2011?
W: Actually, I haven’t seen any live performers this year except for Jessie J on The X Factor, and she was really awesome! She has an amazing voice.
When you’re not working on your budding music career, what do you get up to?
W: I dance. It’s my favorite thing to do. I’m in a company. Miss Adriana is my dance teacher. That’s what I like to do on my downtime.
Your parents have been in show business for several decades now. What advice have they given you, as far as your career?
W: The only thing that they tell me is to have fun. That’s all that matters.
What’s one song that you personally find to be influential?
W: Let me check my iPod — everything is on there! Probably Goldfrapp, “Horse Tears”.
Willow’s down with Goldfrapp! Along those lines, name an artist or album you listen to that would maybe surprise your fans?
W: Probably James Blake’s Air & Lack Thereof.
So, when did you first realize that you wanted to pursue a singing career?
W: When we were in China and Jaden was doing [The Karate Kid]. I told my dad that I wanted to sing, and I told my mom that I wanted to sing. It just came along from there.
Speaking of Jaden, both you and your brother have over a million followers on Twitter, but I couldn’t help noticing you have a slight edge over him. Do you ever bring that up when he’s teasing you?
W: No, we don’t really do that kind of thing. We’re in the same boat. It doesn’t matter how many fans I have. We have a great connection. We love each other, that’s all that matters.
When you recorded “Fireball”, did you go into the studio with Nicki Minaj?
W: No, we recorded apart, but we got to see each other at the video shoot. She’s really awesome. I’m a very big fan of her.
Last question: other than Nicki, are there any other guests on your album?
W: No, there are not.
“Fireball” is available for download on iTunes.