Ashlee Simpson Biography
Early life and career beginnings
Simpson was born in Waco, Texas and raised in the Richardson area of Texas. She is the daughter of Tina Ann (née Drew), a homemaker, and Joe Truett Simpson, a former psychologist and Baptist youth minister who works as Simpson's agent. Simpson has an older sister, Jessica, who is also a singer and actress. Her parents were married in 1978 and filed for divorce in 2012. She attended the same schools as her sister, Prairie Creek Elementary and Richardson North Junior High.
In 1987, when Simpson was three years old, she began studying classical ballet. Simpson enrolled at the School of American Ballet in New York City in 1995, a year in advance. During this time, Simpson suffered from an eating disorder for about six months but received treatment from her parents. Tina and Joe Simpson made the decision to relocate to Los Angeles, California for Jessica's singing career in 1999. Subsequently, Ashlee was cast in television commercials.
Following the success of her sister Jessica's first album, Ashlee became one of her backup dancers. Simpson recorded a song entitled "Christmas Past, Present and Future" in 2002 for the holiday album School's Out! Christmas, which was later re-released on Radio Disney Jingle Jams in 2004 and 2005. In the summer of 2003, she released a song called "Just Let Me Cry" for the soundtrack to the film Freaky Friday. After her appearances on the School's Out! Christmas and Freaky Friday albums, Simpson signed a record deal with Geffen Records. Her first album, Autobiography, debuted at number one in the United States in July 2004, with first-week sales of around 398,000 copies. The album was certified triple-platinum by the RIAA in September 2004. Simpson co-wrote all of the album's tracks, describing it as "very true to my emotions", however, critical reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Relic characterised the album as a "mundane melange of Avril-ish brat pop and Sheryl Crow cod rock." The single which preceded the album, "Pieces of Me", was one of the biggest hits of the summer in the United States and was certified gold by the RIAA. The follow-up singles, "Shadow" and "La La", were less successful, although the latter became an RIAA-certified gold seller. At the Teen Choice Awards on August 8, 2004, Simpson received the "Song of the Summer" Teen Choice Award for "Pieces of Me", as well as the "Fresh Face" Award. She also won the Billboard Award for New Female Artist of the Year in December, and in the same month, Entertainment Weekly named her one of its Breakout Stars of 2004.
Simpson's first North American tour ran from mid-February to late April 2005. The tour was described as "stripped down" without pyrotechnics. As well as material from Autobiography, Simpson performed her own unreleased song "Hollywood", The Pretenders' "Brass in Pocket", Blondie's "Call Me" and Madonna's"Burning Up".
2005–06: I Am Me
Simpson's second album, I Am Me, was released on October 18, 2005. She wanted to incorporate the feel of music from the 1980s on the album, and unlike with her debut, she wanted to focus less on relationships and more on herself. The album debuted at number-one, selling around 220,000 copies in its first week; as of 2008, it had sold 944,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its lead single, "Boyfriend", became a top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 while Simpson's next two singles, "L.O.V.E." and "Invisible" (a track not featured on the album), reached the top 40. Simpson began a concert tour in late September in Portland, Oregon and appeared on the October 8, 2005 episode of SNL to promote the album. The first song she performed on the show was "Catch Me When I Fall", a ballad written about her previous SNL experience, and she thanked the crowd after her second performance. In mid-December, Simpson collapsed after performing in Japan, and was briefly hospitalized, consequently cancelling an appearance at the Radio Music Awards. The collapse and her subsequent hospitalization were attributed to exhaustion as a result of her busy work schedule.
In March 2006, Simpson won an MTV celebrity surfing invitational competition, which also featured celebrities such as Meagan Good, Jack Osbourne, Ashley Parker Angel and Tony Hawk. On April 12, 2006, she hosted and performed at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards, where she won "Best Female Artist" and "Best Pop Video" for the single "Boyfriend". She began a summer tour on June 5, 2006, with Ashley Parker Angel as the opening act.
2007–10: Bittersweet World
During 2007, Simpson recorded her third studio album, Bittersweet World with producers Timbaland, Kenna, and Chad Hugo. She described the album as being influenced by 1980s music—bearing similarities with I Am Me—while still incorporating elements of rock and pop and described her intention to go on tour to support the album. Geffen Records chairman Ron Fair said in December 2006 that working on Simpson's next album would be "very tricky" because of press scrutiny and "prejudices", but that Geffen would work with her to overcome that, "because she deserves to be heard and she deserves a shot." Bittersweet World was released in the United States on April 22, 2008 to mixed reviews. The album's first single, the Timbaland-produced "Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)", was released as a digital download in December 2007, but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single, "Little Miss Obsessive", was released in March 2008 and performed marginally better, reaching number 96 on the Hot 100. Bittersweet World has sold 126,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
2011–present: Fourth studio album
In an interview with Paper, Simpson stated that her fourth album would have a "folk feel". On the June 23, 2011 episode of On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest confirmed that Simpson had held meetings with record executives alongside previous collaborator John Shanks to plan the exact direction of her next album. On July 20, 2012, in an interview with Nylon magazine, Simpson talked about her new album saying: "I'm really proud of the sounds and I'm really excited for it to be an artistic venture. The sound is a little soulful, a little electronic" She also said some of the tracks were completed. On October 31, 2012, Simpson revealed through her official website a preview of the song and video of her new single "Bat for a Heart." The song was released a month later under a patent of her name, "℗ 2012 Ashlee Simpson".