Lari Basilio joins Willow Smith for an electrifying performance of Transparent Soul on The Tonight Show

Willow Smith
(Image credit: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube)

Willow Smith has given her new track Transparent Soul a stellar live debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Teaming up with Travis Barker – who also played drums on the studio version of the track – as well as Brazilian virtuoso Lari Basilio, the pop star-turned-rocker serves up an electrifying rendition of the pop-punk cut, with her new Yvette Young-designed Ernie Ball Music Man St. Vincent signature model in tow. 

Check out the performance below.

Wielding her new Ibanez LB1 signature model, Basilio reminds us of her musical versatility, forgoing the more technically demanding neo-soul playing she's better known for in place of silky clean arpeggios and chunky powerchords.

Transparent Soul marks the beginning of a new musical direction for Willow Smith. The track – taken from the 20-year-old's upcoming fifth studio album – trades the R&B flavors and vocal stylings of her previous work for chunky walls of guitar and thunderous Barker-delivered drumming. 

The creative shift was fueled, in part, by her mother Jada Pinkett Smith's now-inactive nu-metal band, Wicked Wisdom, to whom she recently paid homage with a performance of their 2006 track, Bleed All Over Me.

On her hesitance to unleash her inner rockstar, Smith explains: “I never felt like I could sing that kind of music because I was always trained to sing R&B and pop. I realized that it’s not my voice that can’t sing this kind of music. I was afraid to sing this kind of music because I was afraid of what people would think.”

Smith reveals, however, that the yet-to-be-titled album will showcase a musician who's overcome that anxiety.

“I personally feel it’s just really important to play an instrument if you’re going to have a career in music,” she says regarding the role of the electric guitar on the new album. “Songwriting is 15 million times easier when you can actually write the songs.”

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Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).