Last night, Cody Simpson brought the blues to Ralph Lauren's concert to celebrate the singer/songwriter as one of the new faces of its fall/holiday Denim & Supply line. Alongside fellow D&S model Tinashe, the "Thotful" singer performed four songs all complete with jam-band sessions that let the Aussie showcase his shaper-than-ever guitar skills. It all previewed a new direction for the singer who may very well be fronting your new favorite band soon.
Fuse talked with Cody backstage before the show and got deep about his new band Coast House, style tips and what the status is on that elusive Justin Bieber collaboration record.
How do you define your style?
It depends where I am or what the weather's like. I live in Venice Beach in California, a lot of my friends are very much in the same costal areas. So, it's kind of a lot of the same stuff as far as T-shirts, jeans and Vans or something like that. But as far as being a musician, you get kind of a free pass to wear what you want or come up with some cool signature things. So I really love to do a lot of thrift shopping, I find a lot of denim and leather, and some collectible pieces, instead of always wearing black.
Why were you excited to collaborate with a line like Ralph Lauren's Denim & Supply?
It's an incredible brand to be partnered with. I had never done anything like this before. I was just in New York, I came by the Ralph showroom becuase they were doing a presentation. I met photographer Arnaldo Anaya-Lucca there—he was a character—he took a photo of me and after that they asked me to be a part of it. I was stoked. I love the clothing, I like the whole aesthetic of the line; I thought it would be a perfect situation. And I got a lot of cool denim clothes out of it.
And Ralph Lauren's famous for denim. Did you have a favorite pair of jeans or jean jacket growing up?
Yeah, my dad actually gave me his jacket when I was younger and I've been wearing that a lot, and wore it through my teen years. I love denim. Whenever I don't know what to wear, I wear a denim jacket.
How was it working with Tinashe on the "Express Yourself" cover and shoot?
It's cool. We all kind of came from different worlds and collaborated on an amazing project. Everyone was in such great spirits the entire time. It was kind of like a jam most of the day while we were shooting. I got to sit and play guitar on the couch all day and they just took photos of me. So that was very cool. The whole crew, Tinashe and all the other models were all in good spirit.
Free came out recently which felt like a big landmark in your career. What did you learn from that whole experience?
When I first sort of freed myself from my prior situation with my label, I immediately had this creative burst of energy through the liberation that I had to create with no boundaries or limitations. So, that birthed this process that is still happening very rapidly. I'm at an age where I'm sort of a different person every week, evolving very quickly every week, learning way more than I ever have, and been very focused and motivated. Because I have a very clear vision for my future and I'm very optimistic about it too. That just translates and manifests in a way where I have to do what I have to do to get there.
But even with Free, I'm a completely different person than I was when I made that. But it was an album I had to go through and I had to get out of me because I sort of had that side of me suppressed for so long that when the bat was let out of the cage, it kind of all wrote itself.
“I'm at an age where I'm a different person every week”
In the last six months, I've listened to more music than I ever have in my entire life. And discovered way more about music, about art. Everybody goes through that period where they start developing their philosophies or ideologies or perspective on things or their view on what the world should be like, and that's something I started developing now. With all my future work, I want that to be reflected.
I'm starting a band with my friends in Venice at the moment, writing a lot of music and really working on my craft as a guitar player and as a singer.
Is the band your future?
I don't know, I can't predict it. But it's something I'm passionate about. You got to kind of run with those passions and those kind of ideas. It's called Coast House. It's me and a couple of my friends and they're all really amazing musicians—two of them are playing with me today actually—so we're just kind of jamming. We're letting it develop naturally, do some local marketing down in Cali, build up a cool following and see what happens.
There's a lot of artists around my age that are solo or in bands or something that get caught in this trap of overexposure. Nowadays, everything is overexposed all the time and you have this outlet where people can have access to you at all times. That mystery is really the only thing any of us have on our side anymore. So, I'm just kind of trying to go down that route while I figure my shit out. Really just work on my musicianship because a lot of young people are thrown out in the business so quickly without any chance to develop themselves...what we want to do with the group is to transcend the stereotypes of young musicians and just be really good. Work on the craft and have that be the most important thing as opposed to massive hit songs initially, it doesn't really matter to me.
What is inspiring you right now?
I'm listening to so much and that comes with age because you're not necessarily supposed to know about jazz when you're 14. But it's something that's come into my life, as is blues and characters in music that may have passed away that I hadn't discovered before that I feel a connection to in some kind of way. People like Jeff Buckley, bands like The Doors, that are really what I want to latch onto and take my group.
What's the status of your Justin Bieber collaboration record?
There's no talks or conversations we've had about that at the moment. Everyone's minds are kind of on other things. I have other things that are important to me at this time. Justin's releasing his record and he's been wanting to do that for a long time. I know he's been trying to get that done for a long time so it's letting things play out, accepting the flow and let it happen as it's supposed to happen. I want to be in a different place before we do that record, but I think it will happen down the track.