Interview: Cody Simpson a popular import
Singer Cody Simpson appears at the MAGIC clothing industry convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center August 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images / April 30, 2012)
“It's my biggest advantage with girls,” Simpson said hours before performing in front of about 1100 screaming fans at Orland Square Mall in Orland Park Friday. “I'm going to try to keep my accent as much as can.”
The advantages don't end there. In addition to singing, Simpson — who has yet to release a full-length studio album but already has 1.2 million followers on Twitter — plays the guitar and appears to be a decent dancer.
He didn't have much of a choice with the latter. “When I came to the U.S., (my record company) said, ‘You have to dance,'” Simpson said.
Simpson is currently working with a choreographer in addition to taking singing lessons, which he began six months ago. He said he had very little vocal training when he was discovered on YouTube by record producer Shawn Campbell and initially questioned whether he was ready to become a singer.
“I said, ‘Shouldn't I improve?' I hadn't had much experience vocally before,” said Simpson, who was a promising swimmer with Olympic aspirations at the time. “But obviously it worked out.”
Simpson collaborated with rapper Flo Rida on his debut single, “iYiYi,” in May 2010. He will release a new EP, “Coast to Coast,” which he is promoting on his current mall tour, Sept. 20 and expects his full-length studio album to hit stores early next year.
“It's been really crazy,” Simpson said of the tour. “There's been more and more people every mall we go to. There were like 4,000-5,000 people at the mall in Detroit.”
Simpson has learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to his growing fan base (“You'll be walking and they'll come out of nowhere,” he said), and he has been forced to adapt to their high-pitched screaming — not that he's complaining.
“I have an ear monitor to block outside noise when I'm performing,” Simpson said. “It makes it easier. But sometimes I like to take the ear monitor off and listen to the craziness going on.
“Everything started taking off the last few months, so this is all new to me.”