CODY SIMPSON- PREVIEW & INTERVIEW
You may know him as the Aussie teenybopper heartthrob popstar, but Cody Simpson recently took us all by surprise and had a major change in tune. Previously signed to Atlantic Records, Simpson has now taken on a new identity as a laid back, 'all about the music' independent artist. He made the decision to split from the record label in August of 2014 and never looked back. Now, dancing to his own beat, Simpson is releasing his first independent album called Free, which is due sometime this summer. Simpson is already off to a good start, as he released the first singles off the album, Flower and New Problems. His new sound immediately prompts comparison to the likes of John Mayer and Jack Johnson, the faces of the easygoing, folky pop market Simpson is slowly making his way into.
Because of his new sound and image, Simpson is turning heads in ways like never before. In fact, Rolling Stone debuted the single Flower, including the awesome artwork contributed by Miley Cyrus. About his transition, Rolling Stone said,
Simpson has stepped away from his formerly synth- and bass-heavy dance pop and turned to breezy, Jack Johnson-esque acoustic beach pop. (Source).
So, it's goodbye to the days of manufactured pop songs with choreography to match, and hello to the fresh indie songs that will be sure to fill your summer playlists. Free is produced by Cisco Adler, who is known for his laid-back, indie/reggae style, which matches perfectly with Simpson's new sound and artistry. His new style is represented well by the video for Flower, as it is simple and mellow, focusing only on Simpson and his guitar.
On top of getting ready to release an album, Simpson is about to embark on a quick US tour and then head over to Europe. The tour will kick off in Washington, DC on April 4th at U Street Music Hall, and we are very excited to witness the product of Simpson's newfound independence. In our pre-tour interview with Cody (which you can read in full below), he told us the shows will be "casual" and without much production, which is certainly a switch from his big-production tours in the past.
We got to catch up with Cody Friday afternoon and talk to him about his time at South By Southwest, his new sound, who he's been working with, what it's like to be 'free', and a little preview of what's coming up for him. We are thrilled that he has figured out what he wants as an artist, and we couldn't be more excited for his new music.
For a full list of Cody Simpson's tour dates, click here.
CS: Hey Cody, thanks for taking the time out to talk to me today! I was looking at I noticed that you just got back from South By Southwest. It's a pretty iconic event, how did you feel about that?
Simpson: It was amazing to have that experience to play my music, especially the new album, it was such a cool thing. All the events were 21 and up, so all the people were embracing the music for what it was, it was just a really good feeling, you know?
CS: Yeah, that's awesome. Speaking of older crowds, your music has definitely matured over the years as you have. Do you notice any changes in your musical influences that you have now that you didn't have maybe a couple years ago?
Simpson: I've always liked the same artists, so I've always been fairly influenced by the people I listen to. I mean, I've been listening to the same kind of music since I was a kid, you know? A lot of country, a lot of rock, a lot of like, surf folk, and stuff like that, and it all ended up being influences for my first few albums. To me, an artists' album and work should be the work of that artist. It's such a cool feeling now to be 100% in creative control of the writing aspect and Cisco Adler is producing it, and I've had a really heavy involvement. It feels like a rebirth of myself, and I get the feeling that I finally have that freedom to make myself some new albums.
CS: You kinda just answered my next question! So you mentioned the album called Free, so the title clearly has something to do with your feelings over becoming an independent artist, if I'm correct.
Simpson: Yeah! It's a good title for me because it's like a symbolic word for independence and freedom. It's gotten to a point in my life where I finally feel like I've had enough understanding of the system, to have courage and confidence built up to say like, "hey guys, thank you for giving me this opportunity, but you know I I feel like I have so much going on now and I can fulfill my own dreams of what I want people to hear from me and what I want to share with the world.
CS: It's so brave of you to decide to revamp your style and image, and I can tell, as well as your fans can, that it seems a lot more authentic, which is great. Were you nervous at all about the transition?
Simpson: I was much more confident than apprehensive, because I knew this is just what I had to do. So I was never hesitant because I believe in the path that I'm going down. I just get to be exactly myself through and through, you know?
CS: It's clearly paying off because the feedback on Flower and New Problems has been extremely positive from what I've seen especially in Rolling Stone and Billboard, which is awesome, congratulations!
Simpson: Yeah, I'm really happy that I'm getting that kind of support from outlets that never really supported before. For me it's like, I still want to get so much better, I'm still 18 and figuring everything out, and I finally have a sense of who I am and what I want to share, the music I want to share. I'm just excited for the long road ahead because I just want to make music for a long time, you know?
CS: So you talked about the future and you have an upcoming tour, so without giving away any surprises, what can fans expect from the tour?
Simpson: Yeah, the thing about this tour is that it's just going to be casual; it's just going to be me and the band. I don't want any production, I just want to share the music because I'm going to play so much new music. It comes across really well live, almost better than the actual recording, and that's the way I want to be portrayed. I'm just going out and doing the week in the US and a month over in Europe, then again in the US and in Australia, but I'm just excited to be able to share all the new songs and see the reactions from people.
CS: It seems like you've had a lot of support from the fans. How has the support been from your family and friends, and other people you work in the business with?
Simpson: Yeah it's been so good! Everyone's very happy for me and I've never had support like this before because I'm following my own heart. There are all these artists that I thought I'd never have the chance to talk to or work with, I'm excited to work with them on the new album, people like Donavon Frankenreiter and G. Love, and like, John Mayer has given me some amazing thoughts on it. There's so many people that are such incredible musicians and such cool guys that I aspire to be like.
CS: That's great! So last thing before I let you go, what song on the album are you most excited for the fans to hear?
Simpson: Ah, there's so many good ones...I have a song called I'm Your Friend, which has a really good message. There's another one that has a cool ukulele interlude called Palm Of Your Hand. I'm excited for every song because this album is one that I want people to listen to Track 1 to Track 12 and to see it as a body of work as a whole.
All of the photos in this article are via Cody Simpson's Facebook page.