The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, Willow Smith -- like older brothers Jaden and Trey -- got her start in the entertainment industry as an actor.
She first appeared alongside her father in I Am Legend (2007), which led to roles in Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) and Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa (2008), as well as a couple appearances on the television program True Jackson, VP (as a younger version of star Keke Palmer). In 2010, Jay-Z's Roc Nation label signed Smith as a vocalist. Her first single, the bouncy "Whip My Hair," was released later that year and was in the Top 20 of Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart by the end of October. Smith's debut album, Ardipithecus, followed shortly thereafter. Exploring different sounds and textures, the album was a stark departure from "Whip My Hair," unveiling a more alternative side to the songwriter -- somewhere between Lorde and Janelle Monae -- who also produced ten of the album's eleven tracks. Her sophomore effort, The 1st, marked another shift in tone for Smith. Issued in 2017, the album focused on an organic, singer/songwriter style highlighted on tracks like "Boy" and "A Reason." ~ Andy Kellman & Neil Z. Yeung