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January 10, 2013  | by: Susie Bijan

Flickr (Joe Warminsky)

It’s hard for a budding songstress to prove herself after the infamy surrounding her first hit single. This is especially the case if you happen to be the 12-year-old daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Willow Smith – the youngest of the Smith clan – released the achingly catchy girl anthem “Whip My Hair” in 2010 to wide success. Her debut album, Knees and Elbows, capitalized on the high-tempo R&B sound familiarized by the likes of Rihanna and Ciara. Naturally, the quirky fashion sense also fit into the package (as well as a record deal courtesy of Jay-Z).

Today, Smith seems eager to apply the daring mindset embodied by her wardrobe to her art. Her new single that hit the web on Wednesday, “Sugar and Spice,” heavily samples none other than English rock band Radiohead. It’s the first taste of what to expect for her second album, due to drop later this year.

The single uses Radiohead’s “Codex” – from their recent album The King of Limbs - as the backbone of its compositional framework, adding a melancholic and touching effect to Smith’s simple desire to find herself. Instead of using the futuristic and overproduced sound of her last single that granted her mainstream success, “Sugar and Spice” allows listeners a chance to hear her actually sing.

And the results are surprisingly beautiful. The heavyhearted piano accompaniment borrowed from “Codex” falls in step with her every word and gives them legitimacy. When she cries out that she’s drowning in the public eye that’s associated with her fame, we believe her.

Of course, claims that a girl of her age (and background) knowing nothing about the pains outlined in her single come without question. After all, she is the daughter of one of the most well-known celebrity couples in Hollywood: she’s set for life.

However, her famous roots shouldn’t distract from the fact that she’s a young girl with the same problems and desires that every woman faces in her lifetime. And you know what? More power to her for using the privileges associated with her parents’ celebrity to express herself in such a defying and refreshing way.

You can listen to the track below and let us know what you think!

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