Ashlee Simpson

Rock y Pop

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Ashlee Simpson has been one busy pop superstar. She's starred in her own MTV reality show; recently wrote, recorded and released her sophomore album I Am Me; and she and the band are currently on the road with her new tunes in tow. She took a moment out of her busy schedule to speak with Ticketmaster about the record, the new songs, her tour and the artists who've inspired her along the way.

TICKETMASTER: Let's start things off by talking about the new album. How do you feel I Am Me differs from your debut album Autobiography? In sound, subject matter, etc?

ASHLEE SIMPSON : I think with each album a person grows and, with this record, I was obviously going through different things this year. I'm definitely writing about different experiences. As far as sound goes, I wanted to try out a little bit more of a dance-y, kind of fun vibe. I have that element in my personality and I really listen to a lot of music like that, so I wanted to try that out. And I definitely did that on this record with "L.O.V.E." and "Burning Up" and "Dancing Alone." Then there's that other side of me...I have this angst-y side that songs like "I Am Me" are written for... I'm twenty one, when am I going to get rid of this? You get upset with the boyfriend and you're all pissed (laughs). I have songs like "I Am Me" for that. Which is nice 'cause I feel like, with this record, there's diversity. I get really bored when I listen to a record and it's, like, the same sound all the way through. I think this record explains exactly what I was going through as I made it, you know. There's positive songs and songs that you can cry to.

TM: Who were your musical influences when writing the album?

AS: I really didn't have, as far as vocally, an influence for the record. I love '80s music, though, like Joan Jett...Pat Benatar, Chrissy Hynde and the Pretenders and stuff. Those are artists that I love...their vocals and music and how you can dance along to them and still rock out which is great. So, if anything, that was mainly my musical influence.

TM: Are there any songs from the album that you hold especially close to your heart?

AS: "Catch Me When I Fall" is definitely one of those songs on the record that is really emotional and every time I play it live, it's just like (she sighs)... I really go there because when I wrote the song, it was after my SNL experience and it's a song about being on the weak side. It's always good to search and find your strength, but there are definitely times where you feel like, "ok, (laughs) who's gonna help me right now?!" And that's what that song is about and every time I perform see my fans and to be able to share that with them is really, really cool. And they're always like "we'll catch you when you fall!" It's so cute.

TM: It takes a lot of courage to revisit something like that.

AS: Yeah, absolutely.

TM: I thought something similar--regarding revisiting the past--when I saw the video for your song "Shadow" off of the first album. (In this video, Ashlee sings about growing up in the shadow of another person's fame, and she appears as two characters--herself, brunette at the time, and as a blonde bombshell who, many thought, looked quite a bit like her famous older sister.) That was really gutsy! How did your sister react to that video?

AS: You see, a lot of people took the video the wrong way! That blonde...was another version of me...the other me. If I could be this, if I could look like this, if I could be so perfect, you know. And Jessica, actually, when she first heard the song I was sitting with her and she cried and she was like "oh my god, that's such a beautiful melody!" and "I didn't know you felt this way." And she hugged me and it was really cool. I think everybody's felt that way before. Be it toward your older sister or somebody at work, you know. It's that 15-year-old girl inside of you, you know, who's insecure.
TM: So you've just kicked off your new tour. Is it exciting for you to be playing your new songs live?

AS: It is! And the tour is know, it's kind of just raw. It's just us playing around and having fun and whatnot. It was really cool to play my new songs. I didn't know how my fans were going to take to these songs, but they all were singing them at the top of their lungs, so it was cool!

TM: What do you enjoy the most about touring?

AS: Well that's my favorite thing to do. I pretty much like to stay on tour and when I'm not on tour, I'm like "I wanna go back on tour!" (laughs). It's just fun, you know. Just being on the bus and being with my band everyday's like, your day is kind of mellow, then to be able to play a show that night. It's incredible.

TM: Do you and the band ever drive each other crazy? Being together for so long?

AS: No we don't! We're all really good friends and we're all on the same bus and nobody drives anybody crazy. It's good.

TM: For those who've never seen you perform live, what can you tell them to expect from an Ashlee Simpson show?

AS: Just to come out and have a good time... I hope that I put on a fun and emotional performance. I like to have fun. When you come see me, you'll definitely see that I like to have fun!

TM: And do you still get nervous on stage?

AS: I don't get nervous whenever I'm on stage. My fans are's like singing with your friends. It's cool. But before I go on I get excited and get little butterflies and I kinda start jumping around (laughs).

TM: What artists or bands do you enjoy watching perform live?

AS: I recently saw the White Stripes and they're really good. I really enjoyed that. And I went to the Coldplay concert the other night and they were incredible. So amazing. And I've always liked U2. Any band that really moves you is incredible to watch...Alanis Morissette...

TM: Do you remember the first concert you attended?

AS: I grew up going to church and stuff, so I went to all these Christian concerts. But the first concert that I remember as being so exciting--'cause this was the one show that really inspired me--was the Lilith Fair and Jewel was on. And I remember watching her and being like "I want to be like that one day." And Joan Osborne too. So that was like my first real concert.

TM: Is that when you first knew that you wanted to be a performer?

AS: I've always wanted to be a performer. I used to go watch Broadway shows all the time and I wanted to be a Broadway star.

TM: What would be your dream role on Broadway?

AS: It depends, you know. I love RENT and Les Miserables.

TM: I could see you as Eponine in Les Miserables.

AS: Yeah! I would love to do that--exactly! Les Miserables is amazing. I actually went and bought the CD and I still remember every word. It was great!

TM: Wrapping things up now--do you have any advice for young people out there who want to break into the industry?

AS: The best advice that I could ever give is to work on your craft. I still do voice lessons everyday. With your writing--work on that everyday. Whatever it may be. Take lessons or listen to people that inspire you then really sit in your room and work on it. And then go out and do it.