The recurring burden of stardom at a younger age means years of actively recreating a brand, finding ways to reinvent yourself, expanding your audience, and moving past “cute kid” status once and for all.
As an artist’s career advances, it’s always a treat for fans to witness both their physical and musical growth, especially when that growth coincides with their own, and in a whirlwind of child musicians left behind in the notoriety of their early successes, these young artists have made it to 2017 with new sounds that indicate a melodic crossover into adulthood for us all.
Trevor Jackson (20):
Then: First making his appearance at the tender age of eight years old playing Young Simba in The Lion King’s national tour, Trevor Jackson’s prominence has been heaviliy boosted by the triple threat’s love affair with acting, making various appearances in television and film.
Now: Following the release of his 2015 In My Feelings album, the young crooner ushered in 2016 with a noticeable resolve. Now a regular cast member on ABC’s American Crime, Jackson’s steadily growing into his own as an artist in every sense of the word.
Keke Palmer (23):
Then: Keke Palmer claimed her first shot at fame wih her acclaimed role as the title character in 2006’s Akeelah and The Bee, subsequently building a career that includes 3 musical projects, and countless film and television successes.
Now: All while still flexing her acting chops as Zayday Williams on FOX’s Scream Queens series, the end of 2016 meant the release of Keke Palmer’s Lauren EP, a clear effort at showing off the rising star’s transformation in all aspects.
Then: When your father is hailed as one of Hip-Hop’s most influential emcees, you’ve got some pretty big shoes to fill. A long way from his comical appearances on family show Run’s House, 21-year old Diggy Simmons is well on his way to doing just that.
Now: While we haven’t heard too much from the young Simmons after his 2015 release of his Out of This World EP, the occasional feature and single release gives us hope that he’s beginning to settle into his sound and getting ready to gift the masses soon.
Noteworthy tracks: “Feel Like”
Jaden Smith (18):
Then: First winning over hearts alongside his father in The Pursuit of Happyness, Jaden Smith’s career was birthed on the big screen, casually developing his allure along the way.
Now: Smith’s major cultural influence (alongside sister Willow) this past year was pretty hard to miss. His role in Netflix’s The Get Down and his conquest of individualism in various industries were complemented by a musical maturation that brought him to the edge of dominance.
Jacob Latimore (20):
Then: Jacob Latimore’s emergence came to be in 2010 afer signing to Jive Records and going on to create singles like “Like Em All” and “Heartbreak Heard Around The World” with the likes of T-Pain and fellow artist Diggy Simmons.
Now: Latimore’s debut album “Connection” released at the end of 2016, making its way to Billboard’s US R&B charts, actively placing the star’s ‘grown man’ vibes at the forefront.
Then: When she just was 10-years old Gabi Wilson, now the voice behind the enigmatic H.E.R, began making the rounds on shows like Maury, The Today Show, and Disney Channel’s Next Big Thing showcasing her versatility as a multi-instrumentalist and her control as a vocalist for all to see.
Now: Fast forward to today and the 19-year old has found a new way to steal the show following the emergence of the ever-so elusive H.E.R and the enchanting Vol. 1 project.