Hilary Duff Biography
“Compared to the first album, when I wasn’t confident enough to make suggestions, this time around, I was very involved,” says Duff about the recording process for Hilary Duff. “I worked with the songwriters, telling them what was happening in my life, and what I wanted to sing about. If I thought it needed to be more heavy, more rock, I said so. I feel that this record is so much more me. I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Using some of the same producer/writers from Metamorphosis, including John Shanks (“Come Clean”) and Charlie Midnight (“So Yesterday”), as well as contributing some of her own songs in collaboration with sister Haylie, Hilary Duff shows this teenpop idol graduating into a full-throttle rock star. That “metamorphosis” can be seen and heard on the Chris Applebaum-directed video for the first single, “Fly,” which features Hilary rocking out on-stage with her band. The single was #1 Most Added out of the box at Top 40 radio.
“‘Fly’ is an uplifting song in the face of all the negativity going around these days,” says Hilary. “It’s about how people are scared to open up and show who they are inside because they’re afraid of what others are going to say.”
That attitude of empowerment, for Duff and, vicariously, her fans, is also major theme on the album. Songs like “Shine” (written by Kara DioGuardi and Guy Chambers) and “Underneath This Smile” (a Dioguard/Shanks number) urge not to judge others (or yourself) by surface appearances, but to look to your inner self for inspiration.
“When I first heard ‘Underneath This Smile,’ I told [co-writer] Kara [DioGuardi], ‘This is my life.’ I can’t really act the way I want to act, or say what I want to say all the time. And a lot of times, I cover that up with a smile. But everybody feels that way sometimes, when they can’t really say what they’re thinking.”
On the tongue-in-cheeky “Haters,” which Hilary co-wrote with sister Haylie, Charlie Midnight and Marc Swersky, she takes on a bitter tabloid rival who shall remain nameless.
“Everybody knows which feud I’m singing about,” she laughs. “It’s not directed at anybody in particular; it’s about anybody that comes down on you for no reason. I know girls go through his in high school. It’s supposed to be sarcastic. People will recognize they’re not the only ones who have to deal with stuff like that.”
On the grunge rocker “Mr. James Dean,” another song Hilary penned with her sister and Kevin Declue, she tackles a boyfriend who thinks he’s too cool. “James Dean was great, but this person was a poser,” she says.
Throughout the record, Hilary makes it very clear. She wants to rock.
“I’m really into louder, heavier music right now,” she says, counting Bob Dylan, Sublime, Janis Joplin, 50 Cent and Good Charlotte among her current favorites. “My shows are more like rock concerts. I don’t really dance. They’re not choreographed. We jump around on-stage and have a lot of energy. I loved pushing the album in that direction. It’s what I wanted to do. The guitars are awesome on it.”
Duff goes into other areas of music, too, like the aptly named “Weird,” which has almost a rhythmic island feel.
“That’s obviously about a relationship. It’s a little chippy, a little offbeat, a little creepy,” she explains. “It’s not normal. I don’t think anybody ever heard me do a song like that. The verses are very mellow and chill, and then the chorus is just loud and crazy. I love that.”
“Who’s That Girl” and “Do You Want Me” show that even though she may be rich, famous and talented, Hilary Duff still has the same problems as many of her fans.
“Desmond Child wrote ‘Who’s That Girl,’” she says. “I talked to him a lot before we worked together and he knew how I felt inside. I cried when I first heard the song. There’s this part of me that everybody knows about and there’s this other me, at home or with my friends and family, that’s completely different. And sometimes I step out and watch while the ‘other’ Hilary is working and wonder how I’m able to do all this stuff… It’s like two sides of the same person.”
The Diane Warren-penned “I Am” sounds like it could be Hilary Duff’s life story. “She said it would be perfect for me… I think it can fit everyone. It’s a real anthem. People can feel so amazing about themselves that they can go out and conquer anything. And sometimes they can’t stand themselves. It’s about those contradictions. It’s about coming out, opening up and being at peace with those different parts of you.”
The show-stopping “Someone’s Watching Over Me” is from Hilary’s upcoming role in Raise Your Voice as a young girl who overcomes self-doubt to achieve her artistic goals, with the strength gained from knowing her brother, who died in a tragic auto accident, is looking down on and guiding her.
With all that has been going on in Hilary Duff’s life over the past 18 months, it’s amazing she found the time to write and record a new album.
She starred in last summer’s hit movie A Cinderella Story, whose Top 10 Hollywood Records soundtrack featured “Our Lips Are Sealed,” Hilary and Haylie’s cover of The Go-Go’s song, which was featured along with four brand-new Duff tracks on the album. She set an audience record on ABC’s Good Morning America show last July when she performed before an estimated 7,000 people in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. Her 36-date Most Wanted Tour, which featured Haylie as an opening act, defied a weak summer market and sold out in most major markets around the U.S. Among the new songs she performed live were “Weird,” “Haters,” “Do You Want Me,” “Rock This World” and “Fly.” Her DVD, Girls Can Rock, was released in August on Buena Vista Entertainment. This fall, her New Line Cinema movie, Raise Your Voice, featuring both “Fly” and “Someone’s Watching Over Me” from the new album, hits theaters Oct. 8, while Universal Pictures’ A Perfect Man, co-starring Heather Locklear, comes out Valentine’s Day 2005.
Even with that kind of nonstop schedule, Hilary still makes sure to give back to those less fortunate. As a charter member of the Kids With a Cause organization, Hilary sponsored a “Food for a Friend” drive that collected canned foods brought to her show in each city to feed more than 22,000 youngsters at shelters around the country.
And while she enjoys acting out different roles on screen, the real Hilary Duff can be found in her music, which is why it makes great sense the multi-hyphenate star’s new album is called Hilary Duff. “Music is so personal to me. I can be myself, and say what I want to say,” she says. “I feel I’m honest most of the time and don’t try to hide things. But music enables people to learn about my personality, how I’m evolving. Even if I don’t feel comfortable talking about something, I can feel comfortable expressing that same thing through my music.”
A new chapter in the Hilary Duff story starts here.
Hilary Duff Bio from Discogs
Sister of Haylie Duff.