Couric: "Saturday Night Live" was not so live when Ashlee
Simpson went to perform her second song of the night. She was
caught off guard when her own voice track came on from her first
song of the night. Simpson walked off stage after doing a little
hoe down and following that technical goof.
She's been catching
a lot of flack and she is here to tell her side of the story in
an exclusive interview.
Couric: This has been
a crummy couple of days for you?
Simpson: Yeah. …
It's one of those situations. All rehearsals -- we have clips
from all week long -- my voice was in great shape. I was so ready
to go. Saturday night came at six o'clock. I have severe acid
reflux. It started acting up and I could not speak or talk. But
most artists on big shows do that (sing to a backing track) and
I had never done it once.
Couric: Explain what
that is. Vocal guide tracks or backing tracks. Does that mean
you are lip syncing?
Simpson: No, I was
singing with the track. Like on the first (song). I was singing
with the track but my voice was not strong enough to hold up the
song alone. My dad was like, 'honey, you have to do it.' He put
my vocal doctor on the phone with me. 'You have to. (Singing)
will ruin your vocal chords.'
Couric: When you listen
to someone performing live and they have a backing track, do you
primarily hear the recording or the voice of the artist or does
Simpson: You hear both.
The sound bites fade in and out depending on how your voice is.
I have never done it before. The first time I do it becomes a
massive deal. It was something I could not control. My drummer
who I love and adore accidentally pressed the wrong button and
did not set up the song.
Couric: Is he still
Simpson: Yes. I love
him. Everybody makes mistakes. I didn't know that and I did the
Couric: This must have
been so upsetting for you because this is a big break to be on
"Saturday Night Live", to be the featured artist and
to have this happen. It must have been mortifying?
Simpson: It was definitely
upsetting and mortifying. I get comments like now , (I'm like)
Milli Vanilli. I write all of my own music and perform from my
heart. I am always singing on any show I have ever done. Singing
as hard as I can always. This was a situation where I was in trouble
like with my voice. Each in the rehearsal I was singing and I
am holding my throat.
Couric: Sounding like
Simpson: Yes. And it
was very unfortunate. What is even more unfortunate is a am being
compared to that when there are artists that even at the awards
show last night had backing tracks. People, listen to this! Your
Couric: But it's a
dirty little secret?
Simpson: It's horrible.
I think for me it was something.
Couric: This was at
the Radio Music Awards where you made a joke about it.
Simpson: I figured
why not make a joke about. I am not worried about it. I know that
things happen and not everybody is perfect. You can't help it
if you lose your voice. It doesn't mean you can't sing or don't
write your own music.
Couric: You have been
very open about how much work it took you to get where you are
today. You did an MTV reality show about it?
Simpson: Yeah. And
the acid reflux was on the reality show, too.
Couric: Do you feel
like fans will be forgiving. Your Web site has been inundated
with comments some positive and some negative. What are people
Simpson: I have tried
not to look at them because this has been -- it's hard. There
are comments that are good and bad. I hope my fans know, especially
the ones that come out to my shows, they know it's live. I never
had to do that. The one time, you get sick and then -- it's a
humbling experience. You could say.
Couric: Were you surprised
that people were making such a big deal of it?
Simpson: Yeah, because
I am not anorexic. My boob didn't pop out. I am not on drugs.
I had a bad performance and I got sick.
Couric: What did your
dad say? He's your manager. When you walked off stage, he said
you were upset?
Simpson: When I walked
off, I don't know what to do. Oh my god! He was like it's okay.
You are okay. Breathe, breathe, breathe. I went back out there.
Look, things happen.
Couric: Have you talked
to Jessica, your sister?
Simpson: Yeah, she
was like, 'stay in there and stay strong.' She knows what it's
like if you are sick or whatever.
Couric: Before we go,
where did you get the little hoe-down moves?
Simpson: I don't know.
From Texas. I freaked out. I freaked out and didn't know what
to do. … I just kind of froze. My band they started playing
'Autobiography' and switched. I love my band to death. We are
Couric: They are not
mad. You blamed them at the end of the show?
Simpson: It was the
wrong button he pushed. I was sick and things happen. It wasn't
one person that messed up.
Couric: Hopefully in
the papers they will be tomorrow's fish wrapping.
Simpson: I love my
drummer to death.
Couric: Well, we love
him too. Thanks for coming in.
Jessica's little sister talks about her
new album and why clean underwear rocks.
July 29, 2004 - Ashlee Simpson should need no introduction, especially
if you belong to the MTV/reality television show generation. This
particular Simpson chanteuse is the younger sister of Jessica.
And like her older sister, she too has her own reality show on
MTV, The Ashlee Simpson Show, and is also a pop singer.
has something her sister doesn't: the pressure of living in the
shadow of a sibling who was famous first. Ashlee has distanced
herself in several ways. For one, she's a brunette to her sister's
blonde. She also eschews the ditzy charm for straight forward
youthful exuberance. And she's modeling her musical career more
after the likes of Chrissie Hynde, Stevie Nicks, and Gwen Stefani
than the silky slick balladeering stylistics of Jessica.
Spence D. sat down
with Ashlee and discussed her new album, Autobiography, and the
joys of doing your own laundry.
Spence D., Editor-in-Chief,
IGN Music: Hey, what's up Ashlee!?
Ashlee Simpson: Hey,
IGNM: Not much other
than sittin' here talkin' to you. So, how are you this morning?
AS: I am good, how
IGNM: Great, thanks.
You recently did Letterman, how was that?
AS: I did! It was so
rad. Isn't that exciting? It was so much fun. He kissed my hand,
too. Everybody was like 'That means he likes you so much!' I was
like 'Yessss!' Isn't that cool?
IGNM: Totally. Now
given that you're doing things like Letterman and you've got your
own MTV show, are you at all worried about the backlash of celebrity?
I mean the fact that your life is on display for the rest of the
world and you've totally lost much of your anonymity?
AS: No, I mean I'm
not. I think that no matter what I have my people around me, like
my friends and family and all that kind of stuff, so I'm not really
worried about it.
IGNM: That's cool that
you have such a level head about it. I always think that would
be the worst thing about becoming famous, you know not being able
to just walk into a 7-11 and getting a Slurpee without people
AS: [laughs] I know
exactly what you're saying and that can definitely be intense.
But I'm excited about it. I mean everything's fun and everything's
exciting for me right yet. I haven't hit that 7-11 part yet [laughs].
IGNM: Well, I'll have
to check back in with you after you do and see what you say then!
AS: Exactly! [laughs]
IGNM: In this day and age, and especially for a young woman such
as yourself, in the industry you're in, there's really no way
to avoid being a sex symbol. Speaking of which, I know you're
involved in an upcoming Candies ad campaign and they've been notoriously
racy of late with Alyssa Milano and Jenny McCarthy. Also, there's
also a certain amount of pressure, I'm sure, to also be seen as
something of a role model. Do you try to kind of mix the two together
or do you gravitate toward one or the other?
AS: I think that being
a role model would be great. But if people think that something
I do is sexy, then I think that's great. But I've never looked
at myself and thought 'Oh, yeah! I'm sexy!' I'll feel sexy and
confident, but I never look at myself and say 'Oh yeah, I'm sexy!,"
you know what I mean. So if people think that I'm sexy, then that's
a huge compliment to me. But I don't really worry about what people
think. If people take me as a role model, that's great, you know?
IGNM: I've got your
first single, "Pieces of Me." And on the cover you're
sporting blonde hair. But then on the cover of the album you're
sporting black hair…
AS: Yes. But if you
get the single in the stores, I have brown hair. The one you have
is the one they shipped to radio. That was sort of like the pre-release.
IGNM: Okay. What I
was wondering was if you noticed if people treat you different
depending on what color your hair is? I mean did people treat
you differently when you were a brunette or a blonde?
AS: You know what?
I think I get hit on more with brown hair than blonde.
IGNM: Really? That's
a trip. I guess that I'm just falling victim to the myth/stereotype
AS: Really? I don't
think so. I think you get noticed a lot more as a brunette, but
I don't know. People approach me, I think, but maybe it's because
of the reality show. You know what I mean?
IGNM: Speaking of your
reality show, you've done a spate of acting in films like The
Hot Chick, plus television shows like Malcolm in the Middle and
Seventh Heaven. What's the difference between doing a reality
show where the camera is just following your around and then doing
something like Seventh Heaven?
AS: Well it's definitely
interesting. Because in Seventh Heaven you're playing like a character.
You're not being yourself, you know what I mean? It's not like
on a reality show where you're just living your life. I mean it's
so different. It's almost like harder sometimes [to do the reality
show and] go 'Oh my God, I'm just living my life.'
IGNM: Are you saying that it's harder to be yourself than to disappear
into a character?
AS: I think that it's
easier to be myself, but I think that being a character is something
that I've just learned how to do for a little while on Seventh
Heaven. Then on my show, it was like 'Oh my gosh I have to just
like be myself.' And I did. And the MTV crew was so nice. They
thanked me for not like putting on a show or anything like that
and for just kind of being very real.
IGNM: It's safe to
assume that you're not pulling any prima donna demands on the
AS: Oh no, not at all.
IGNM: No bowls of M&Ms
with all the red ones removed…
AS:No [laughs]. I haven't
done that yet. [laughs] I'll never do that.
IGNM: I was recently
reading an interview you did on MTV.com where you mentioned that
you loved Gwen Stefani and that you were a fan of Courtney Love,
but that you would like to see a good female rocker emerge in
this day and age. What do you feel makes a good female rock star?
AS: Actually I think
that Gwen Stefani is a good female rocker. And I think Courtney
Love used to be, too. But I think that a good female rocker is
like Chrissie Hynde.
IGNM: Ah, you're going
AS: Yeah. Like the
Pretenders and you know, Joan Jett. Those kinds of people. I love
IGNM: Would you say
that they're more influential on you and what you're trying to
do with your music as opposed to say a Stefani or a Love?
AS: Yeah, absolutely.
IGNM: Forgive me for
saying so, but that seems kind of weird considering how young
AS: I know,
but they're so great though. I've gone back and looked at every
single thing that they've done. I think that they're sexy and
confident and they have these cool, kind of like tough attitudes,
but at the same time they are sexy. And I think that's so cool.
And they can get up and rock and they're so good. And their voices
were so incredible.
IGNM: On your
album you collaborated with folks from Sugar Ray, Good Charlotte,
and Goldfinger. How did those collaborations come about? Did you
seek those people out?
AS: Yeah, I did. I
had meeting with them and was like 'Hey, let's work together.'
IGNM: I kind of lump
them all into that same sort of poppy-punk category. But then
Goldfinger has been around a lot longer than the others. And then
Sugar Ray has been around longer than Good Charlotte. It's kind
of cool that you went for lineage styled choices rather than just
using artists who are brand new and the flavor of the day.
AS: No, no, not at
all. I met Benji and I thought he was great and talented, so I
wanted to work with him. And Sugar Ray is great. Stan [Frazier]'s
incredibly talented, so it was very exciting to work with him.
And Goldfinger is just an amazing band, I think.
IGNM: How do your friends,
family, former lovers or boyfriends feel about you writing about
them in your songs?
AS: [laugh] I don't
care if the former lovers care about me writing about them in
my songs. But my family thinks it's great. I mean I've never written
a mean thing about them and they're so happy with the record.
And they think that it's awesome that I wrote to Josh ["Unreacheable"]
and everything. But I had to, I had to get it out, you know what
IGNM: Oh yeah. But
I always think that's an interesting dilemma for a writer—either
a novelist or song writer—is that when you start delving
into personal stuff, do you tell the people 'Hey, guess what?
I just wrote a song about about you.' Or do you not tell them
and then when the song comes out they end up on your front porch,
pounding on your door yelling 'Dude! Why did you write that song
AS: I think you don't
IGNM: You just do it?
AS: You just do it
and then they hear it and then they go 'Oh man, I f@#ked up.'
IGNM: Now what about
the song "Shadow," which is essentially about you living
in your sister's shadow. Did you just write it first and then
play it for Jessica?
AS: Yeah. I just wrote
it and then played it for my sister. And, awww, she cried and
she was like 'I love it. It's the most beautiful song.' My mom
was the same.
Everybody in my family
was like 'Oh my God, we love it! It's amazing.' So it was cool.
I got a good reaction from the family.
IGNM: In reference to that song, how are you going about finding
yourself and creating your own identity that is separate from
your sister and climbs out of the shadows, so to speak?
AS: I think that for
me, that was really something that I went through when I was literally
15 and 16 years old. And I was just finally writing about it,
writing about how it was being in the shadows at that point and
stuff. I think for me, I know who I am and I have my own identity
and everything, so for me it's just about staying true to who
I am and everything.
IGNM: I made mention
of the Candies campaign you're involved in earlier. What can you
tell me about it?
AS: The Candies ad
was fun. It's racy, but it's cute. It's not like…
IGNM: You're not sitting
on the toilet like Jenny McCarthy, are you?
IGNM: Okay. Now are
these actual print ads that will be in magazines or what?
IGNM: When you say
that they're racy, but cute, can you reveal any more details?
I mean are they like the Alyssa Milano ones?
AS: They're not even
as racy as hers. Wait, what were hers like again?
IGNM: They had one
where she was in a school girl uniform and she was bending over
in front of a bathroom mirror putting lipstick on. And her skirt
was short enough that you could see her panties.
AS: Mine are not like
IGNM: So your pictures
are, shall we say, a little more tasteful than that?
AS: Yeah. Exactly.
Mine are very tasteful. They're not too racy at all. It's cute.
And actually my mom was on the whole set to make sure…
IGNM: …that nobody
was taking advantage of you?
I wouldn't let anybody take advantage of me anyway. But my mom
had my back.
have this great line on the title track "Autobiography"
where you sing "I have stains on my t-shirt…"
So I was wondering what you use to get stains out of your clothes.
And more importantly, do you do your own laundry or does your
mom still do it?
AS: I do my own laundry
IGNM: Are you like
a Tide girl? Or All TempaCheer?
AS: I'm a Tide Girl.
Tide Spring Breeze.
IGNM: No! I can't roll
with the scented detergent. It makes my nose itch.
AS: I know, it kinda
stinks sometimes. But the last time I got [detergent] I got Spring
Breeze. But the time before that I got the original. I don't really
know what I get. I just kind of get whatever Tide stuff I see.
IGNM: I totally hear
you on that. Actually, I've been pimping my roommate's laundry
detergent for the past couple of months. So I've been using whatever
his fiancé has been buying.
AS: [laughs] But actually,
I like to do laundry.
AS: I think it's fun
[laughs]. There is nothing better than clean clothes.
IGNM: Well, I think
there's a few things better than clean clothes, but I'll say that
it's probably in the Top 10.
AS: Yeah, it's definitely
the Top 10. Clean underwear? Are you kidding me!?
IGNM: Yeah, but sometimes
it's nice to go without.
AS: [laughs] I don't
know about that!
IGNM: I guess I think
that laundry is a chore. It's something you have to do.
AS: I think it's fun.
I'm proud of myself [that I do laundry].
IGNM: Maybe you should
do some ads for Tide. You know, 'Ashlee says doing laundry is
fun!' You could totally cash in on that. You could start a new
movement where kids start doing their own laundry.
AS: [laughs] Totally!
IGNM: When I visit
my parents, my mom will still do my laundry. You would think that
after more than 20 years she would trust me to do it, but no.
AS: My mom still does
my laundry when I'm at home.
IGNM: I kind of put
all the colors together.
AS: You do?
IGNM: I mean it's not
like I put a dark blue shirt in with the whites, but I run the
blues, blacks, and greens all together. And I'll run yellow shirts
with the whites, you know?
AS: I do that, too.
IGNM: Right on.
IGNM: Those are pretty
much my questions…
IGNM: Unless you've
got anything additional you'd like to toss out there.
AS: I'm good.
AS: Thank you so much!
IGNM: No, thank you
for taking the time out to talk to me. I totally appreciate it.
AS: Of course!
It was nice talking to you. Bye!