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Ashlee Simpson Biography

Last updated: 04/17/2012 11:00:00 AM

Ashlee Simpson-photo
Ashlee Simpson has experienced more highs and lows in the last year than some recording artists do in a lifetime. Yet ask her about it and Ashlee shrugs it off. "Yeah, there are moments when you don't want to get out of bed," she says, "but you have to find your inner strength. That's something I found." Indeed, as an artist, Ashlee Simpson is still just beginning her journey, but if her new Geffen CD "I Am Me" is any indication, she's well on her way to a becoming an important voice in pop music.

In fact, she already is. When her single "Pieces of Me" took the music world by storm and her 2004 debut CD "Autobiography" entered the charts at #1, Ashlee made an immediate national impact.. Now, with her latest work, she reveals explosive growth as both a singer and songwriter. At 21, Ashlee has left girlhood behind. On the new CD she explores dark themes side by side with plenty of flamboyant fun. "Everything has evolved," she says. "My voice has matured, and so have the situations I've been through."

Once again, Ashlee teamed up with producer John Shanks (who also plays keyboards, bass and guitars). Having previously worked with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morissette, Shanks knows a thing or two about talented female artists, and he brings all his skills to bear on "I Am Me." Ashlee co-wrote every song with Shanks and Kara DioGuardi, both of whom clearly grasps the singer's subtle moods and musings. Of the ten songs collectively, Ashlee says, "The record is dark meets light in a sense. I feel everyone has a dark side. This album is about finding the positive, finding the lighter side as well."

She wastes no time, starting with "Boyfriend," the opening track and premiere single. Shank's churning Sting-like riff underscores Ashlee's tale of jealousy and playing emotional defense. Indicative of the album's triumphant tone, at one point she sings, "Hollywood sucks you in, but it won't spit me out."

Songs like "In Another Life," the reggae-flavored "Burnin’ Up" and "Coming Back for More" explore the notion of love as an all-consuming passion, while the hip-hop influenced "L.O.V.E" is straight up girl's-night-out party anthem. Others, like "Say Goodbye" and the ballad "Catch Me When I Fall," plumb the depths of depression and isolation. "That’s one of my favorites," says Ashlee of the latter. "I wrote the lyrics when I was going through a hard time. I continued working through a feeling of loneliness and emptiness."

Ashlee reclaims the emotional high ground on the title track ("I am me and I won't change for anyone" she sings) and the moving "Beautifully Broken," a celebration of healing and wholeness. "It’s actually about my experience with SNL," says the singer. "It's about wiping away the tears, putting my shoulders back and keeping on going. I realized it's OK to be broken."

Ashlee was born October 3, 1984 in Waco, Tex., and raised in Dallas by her parents Joe and Tina Simpson. She is of course the younger sister of Jessica Simpson. At age 4 she started dancing, and at age 11, she became the youngest person ever admitted to the prestigious School of American Ballet. Once the family relocated to Los Angeles, Ashlee went on the road, dancing in her sister's show…

But she wasn't destined to remain in the shadows. Ashlee is also an accomplished actress. Her first television appearance was a small role on "Malcolm in the Middle." She also appeared on "Saved by the Bell, "but it was a continuing role on the hit WB series "7th Heaven" that jumpstarted her rise to stardom. Yet all the while, she dreamed of a music career. After she signed with Geffen Records, "The Ashlee Simpson Show" premiered on MTV. The reality series followed Ashlee as she delved into the making of her debut CD and won her countless fans around the country, all cheering her on.

The album's hit debut single "Pieces of Me" propelled "Autobiography" to #1 in its first week of release and to date it has sold nearly three million copies. She criss-crossed the country on her own headline tour playing to packed houses every night. She even had the chance to befriend idols like Gwen Stefani (with whom she shares a birthday). "I felt I belonged everywhere I went," adds Ashlee. "Going to radio stations, meeting fans, it's all been amazing to me. People told me that my music got them through some hard times."

Once off the road, she began concentrating on the new album. Writing it was an artistic leap of faith for Ashlee, who put everything she had into this collection of songs. "I try not to think about what people will take from a song," she says. "I just try to stay really honest and not feel I've gone off track."

Besides, what 21-year-old doesn't look to the future, especially one as promising as Ashlee Simpson's? With "I Am Me," she is confident her fans will happily go along for the ride. "The most important thing is that this is something I really enjoy doing," she says. "I love creating songs people can connect to."

Thanks to Kayla Lynne for submitting the biography.


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