“Your first album, it's a big moment,” says Cody Simpson. “It's a milestone in your career. It's giving a lot of yourself to the world.”
With over 3.4 million Twitter followers and 3.3 million Facebook likes – not to mention over 150 million YouTube views – it's clear that the world wants a lot more of Cody Simpson. Now, with the long awaited arrival of his full-length debut album, “PARADISE,” the Queensland, Australia-born singer/songwriter is ready to soar even higher. With a refreshing blend of contemporary high-energy and acoustic guitar-driven beach pop songs like “Wish U Were Here (Feat. Becky G)” and “Got Me Good” Simpson is revealed as much more than just a worldwide multimedia phenomenon – he's a distinctive and original artist with his own lane.
“That's so hard to do in pop music, which is why I took my time,” says Simpson. “When people listen to it, they'll really hear me. They'll be able to say 'That's Cody Simpson. That's what he sounds like.'”
“PARADISE” was recorded throughout the first half of 2012, all part of a non-stop schedule that includes school, recording, touring, and countless TV and promotional appearances. Despite the constant activity, the Los Angeles-based Simpson determinedly took his time making the record, accumulating more and more life experience with each day.
“I felt that I didn't really have enough to say,” Simpson explains, “but I've learned so much recently. I've grown up a bit. Having traveled the world I feel like I have a lot more to write about.”
Simpson – who co-wrote most of “PARADISE” – was joined in the studio by a veritable who's-who of modern pop hitmakers, including Dr. Luke & Cirkut (Katy Perry, Flo Rida, Ke$ha), Adam Messinger & Nasri (Justin Bieber, Chris Brown), John Ryan (One Direction, Jennifer Lopez), Colby O'Donis (Lady Gaga), Drew Pearson (Zac Brown Band, Phillip Phillips), Dwayne “Supa Dups” Chin-quee (Bruno Mars, Drake, Eminem), Jonathan Bellion, Alex Dezen & Chris Morris, and The Futuristics (Chris Brown, The Lonely Island Feat. Justin Timberlake & Lady Gaga). Cody views his work with such heavyweight talent to be a kind of college of musical knowledge.
“They have their vibe, I have my vibe, then we get in the studio and mix the two,” Simpson says. “It's cool to work with so many different artists because I get to take different inspirations and learn new things, it makes me a better artist. I'm always looking to improve, to make the best music I can for my fans.”
Simpson – who co-wrote much of the album – cites the influence of such artists as Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and Jack Johnson on songs such as “Got Me Good” and the ebullient title track. The chill vibes and sweet surfside spirit represent Simpson's deep connection to his native Gold Coast of Australia.
“Paradise, for me, is home,” Simpson says. “I only get to go home maybe twice a year, so when I do go home, it really feels like paradise. That's the great thing about paradise; it's pretty much whatever you want it to be. Everybody who listens to this record will have a different vision of paradise.”
Music played an integral part in Simpson's life right from the start. Seeing his dad sing and play guitar for friends and family at parties and backyard barbecues taught him the incredible power of music to bring people together. Inspired, he asked for his own guitar and began taking lessons at the age of seven.
After learning but a few chords, Cody wrote his first song. He continued practicing and soon began posting YouTube videos of himself performing his original songs alongside stellar covers by such favorite artists as Justin Timberlake, Jason Mraz, and The Jacksons. Simpson's YouTube Channel quickly created a worldwide commotion, receiving millions upon millions of views following its August 2008 debut.
In April 2010, Simpson released his irresistible debut single, “iYiYi (Feat. Flo Rida),” and immediately began winning over U.S. fans with a series of live performances, including 2010's Camplified tour of over 30 different summer camps across the country. Cody's debut EP, entitled “4 U,” arrived in December 2010, highlighted by both “iYiYi” and the rhythmic pop of “All Day,” which rose to #1 on Radio Disney's “Top 30 Countdown.”
In summer 2011, Simpson made a stunning chart debut as his “COAST TO COAST” EP entered the SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #12. “The EP highlighted by the hit single, “On My Mind,” which proved a top 40 favorite at Pop radio outlets nationwide, having also hit #1 at Radio Disney (his second chart-topper at the network). The “On My Mind” companion video – directed by Travis Kopach (Panic! At The Disco, 3OH!3, Boys Like Girls) – is also a certified YouTube blockbuster with over 14 million views and counting at Cody's official YouTube channel.
A truly charming and charismatic live performer, Simpson has toured nearly non-stop, including his sold out “Welcome to Paradise” headline tour, co-headline tours with Big Time Rush and shows alongside Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and appearances at such events as the 2011 & 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll, the Arthur Ashe Kids Day festivities at the 2011 U.S. Open. Cody's own “Coast To Coast Tour” of U.S. malls drew huge crowds everywhere it went in 2011, with more than 3,000 fans turning out at each of its 10 stops to see the rising teen star in action.
Cody has also made a remarkable array of high profile TV appearances, including NBC's The Today Show, ABC's Live! with Kelly, ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Nickelodeon's Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures, The Disney Channel's So Random, CBS Saturday Early Show, and the nationally syndicated Ellen DeGeneres Show, not to mention as a performer and mentor on Radio Disney and the Disney Channel's “N.B.T. (Next Big Thing)” talent contest. In addition, Simpson was among the top stars featured at Nickelodeon's 2012 Kids Choice Awards where he presented and took home the award for “Favorite Aussie Star,” and at Australian Nickelodeon's 2011 Kids Choice Awards, where he won awards in a trio of categories, including “Awesome Aussie,” “Aussie Muso,” and the prestigious “Super Fresh.” Cody was also profiled in a range of national publications, while also receiving extensive TV coverage including E! News and Access Hollywood.
As if all that weren't enough, Simpson also starred in the 2012 original film, Finding Cody. Presented by Warner Music Group's original YouTube Channel, “The Warner Sound,” Finding Cody made history as the first interactive YouTube movie featuring a major musical artist. While he enjoys such extracurricular creative activities, Simpson is firmly focused on one aspect of his art above all.
“My music is way above everything else right now except maybe school,” he says. “I'm really focused on being the best artist and performer I can right now. Definitely, in the future, I'm interested in acting and fashion, but right now I'm taking it one step at a time. I don't want to rush things.”
The delightfully idiosyncratic “PARADISE” confirms Cody Simpson as a major recording artist and a unique new voice in modern pop music. With a full-scale AEG promoted North American tour in support of “PARADISE” scheduled to get underway in February 2013 and a November European tour nearly already nearly sold out, things are about to get even more intense for Cody Simpson.
“There's so much going on right now,” he says, “it's just a crazy whirlwind. I'm super-stoked and definitely ready for it.”