Feature Interview: Cody Simpson
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:34:54
Cody Simpson Videos
Our Artist of the Week is 'Free' and rides the music waves wherever they take him.
Cody Simpson is only 18 years old, which makes him a baby by music industry standards. Yet somehow, someway, the singer is already a seasoned veteran of the pop scene. The Aussie-born singer is pals with Justin Bieber and has endured an on-off romantic relationship with head-turning model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid. But despite his associations with paparazzi and gossip media magnets, the spotlight and shine remains on Simpson's music. His material never suffers from the trappings of fame and all that peripheral BS that goes along with it.
There's a reason for that.
Simpson mixes Jack Johnson's laid back, beach-reared aesthetic with modern, John Mayer-like blues. He encases it in pop song structures and sprinkles the customized amalgam with a little deliciously lazy reggae influence.
The singer/songwriter isn't cribbing from anyone else's playbook. Instead, Simpson has fashioned his very own blend of pop music that always feels so, so good.
Cody Simpson's music transports you to an island paradise in the summer, no matter what your reality is. If it's early February and you're freezing, put on Cody Simpson's music and you will teleport —instantly— to summer!
The singer is back with his new album Free, after a pit stop making synthy pop songs and after having split from Atlantic Records.
Simpson made music on his terms with Free and you cannot argue with the results. Free is Cody Simpson at his best. He is armed with summer-ready, sun-bleached songs that are anything but frothy.
When we spoke to Simpson, he was as easy-going as his tunes and really proud of his work with Free.
What was the most, well, "freeing" thing about going from a major label to indiedom for Free?
I guess the realization and accumulations of events happening over time resulted in the sudden freak out that I had... about where I was as a musician, personally and publicly. I was almost sort of compromised as an artist. I wasn't the person that I am. I was straying from my roots and not being true to myself. I let others make decisions that dictated my life. I had to make some decisions [for myself] and do some soul searching and one of those decisions was leaving my record label and going out independently. For me, being an indie artist is the way I want to do my music. It's about the long, slow burn that I want my career to be. It's a balance of making organic, acoustic rock that I love to make so much, with having some life left... being a young dude who can hang with friends and surf and party!
You started out by doing warm, beachy pop again, which was how I remember your earlier work, like 'Got Me Good.' Then you had a pitstop at a bit more of polished and synthy sound with 'Surfboard.' Now you've returned to that softer sound, which I get the sense is more 'you.' Experimenting with different styles is obviously expressing yourself creatively. But it feels like you are essentially writing your own ticket!
Yeah! That is what it is about. You have one life to live and you have to take steps yourself. You can't have anyone do it for you. It is a step to me uncovering layers of my authentic self, with Free feeling like my first album. It actually is my first album... since becoming an adult... and I am capturing the moment in time. And that is feeling positive and relaxed, and free.
You are 18, but you feel like such a seasoned veteran because you've been doing this for so long and you've been steadily climbing for a while now. You've never had that "Young Hollywood" cliche attached to you, despite your visibility. How have you avoided that? Are you conscious of it, so people don't forget the music, which is of the most critical importance?
You have to be conscious of that and at the same time, there has to be the element of not really caring. The opportunity I had at 13, being plucked from obscurity in Australia... the age that I was... I was going along for the ride. As far as the Hollywood stuff, I just try and balance it out. I do not play into it. I don't like people seeing my private life. I try and keep it about the music. I try and keep it about work with my life.
I go out with my mates and we party every once in a while and have fun. That comes along with being a musician. I sort of have realized that I have this Hannah Montana situation going; that's the best reference for it. The records I put out... I try to tap into it more now. I stay low key and fly under the radar when I hang out. I have a lot of regular friends that I chill with, too.