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photos / Angelo Kritikos

story /  Jasmine Lake

stylist/ Wilford Lenov

You probably know Cody Simpson as the heartthrob musician with sun-streaked Aussie locks and delectable pop hits to match.  But take a listen to just one of the tracks on his new album FREE and it is apparent that this young adult has something to say. FREE, released
through Simpson’s Coast House Records, marks a new chapter for the musician.  It’s fresh nostalgia; equal parts pop rock and blues. 

LADYGUNN chits and chats with Cody before he hits the road on tour.  We get the real on his music muses, funky fashion and what it means to pick a flower for a girl. Cody is not playing by the rules anymore- we are cool with that.

This album feels so personal. Tell me a bit about your songwriting process and what inspires you…

”Free” is my first album. My first project distributed through my very own Coast House records. The first time I’ve had the creative freedom to find my feet as a musician,
singer/songwriter and guitar player. The songwriting process flowed quite freely. I’m 18 and developing all of my views and philosophies on things. The world, life, the environment, politics etc.

I think I’m inspired by whatever is around me at the time and whatever is relevant in my mind. Whether it be a woman, an idea, an animal, a friend. It doesn’t really matter, poetry is a free flowing activity and can almost adopt different meanings during the development.

FLOWER is such a beautiful song, it gets me every time.  What is this story about this track, what is it about?  What kind of woman is worth picking a flower for?

The song is actually a metaphor for the first time I got high with a girl. A cool chick that I knew I was never going to date or marry or anything but we were into each other at the time and wanted to just sit back and listen to tunes and watch the ocean. The verses of the song were freestyled kind of randomly to symbolize free-flowing ideas and the ”pick you a flower” metaphor is quite obvious haha.

You are constantly switching up the fashion game and are leading the new Ralph Lauren campaign this fall with
Tinashe.  Describe your personal style.  What does fashion mean to you?

On a day to day basis I dress like any other of my friends. Usually just a tee, jeans, vans or converse and a cap. Casual street wear. Being a musician though allows me the freedom to sometimes be a little more rock n roll than that. I love thrift shopping, picking up cool vintage pieces on the road. I have some cool leather jackets and old band tees. Fashion is just a way of stating who you are whether it be intentional or not.

Who was your biggest influence musically growing up?

Johnny Cash, John Denver, James Taylor

If Cody Simpson had a completely free day and could be doing anything, anywhere in the world, he would be…

Back home on the Gold Coast with my mates, chilling, soaking up some aussie sun in the surf. having a BBQ with some pretty girls and whipping out the guitars for the odd serenade and sing along!

People who think they know Cody would be surprised to learn that…

Being some sort of celebrity is the last thing I want to be! People used to make me do bullshit celebrity stuff when I was young and impressionable and had just moved to the states. That’s the furthest from who I am. All I care about is playing music and a being a teenager.

You have toured and traveled all over the world.  What was one of your favorite shows and why?

Playing a recent intimate gig on the Gold Coast for all of my family and friends was super cool. It was so rewarding being able to jam all of my new tunes for those closest to me and share with them why I’m doing what I’m doing. Just an unreal feeling.

You are about to head on tour… Singapore, Tokyo, all across the US.  Tell me a bit about tour life.  What’s life like on the road?  Any secrets you can share about this particular tour that fans can look forward to?

Life on the road is very spontaneous and fast. Anything can happen at any time. I usually just try and keep my head
buried and play as well as possible each gig. Now that I have my freedom I’m just playing these new tunes from ”Free” and jamming some blues and some cool old school covers with the band. Some people are taken by surprise but that’s the way we like it!

With new digital platforms like YouTube, Soundcloud etc. technology has provided a new platform for artists to express themselves.  As someone who was discovered online, where do you think the music industry is headed?

I think we’re headed towards an era in which a live experience is the most valuable thing there is. With music and everything else being so accessible so immediately, a live gig is the only thing that is not.

You recently performed at the Special Olympics.  Your
performance of REACH UP was incredibly moving.  Are there any other causes that are near to your heart?

I work alongside the United Nations on a few on their humanitarian and environmental causes. Also the Surfrider foundation. The environment must be preserved and a musician incorporating some of those messages into my music is the bare minimum.

What inspires you the most about making music?

That its the most freeing job in the world. There are no boundaries, I hate boundaries!

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