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Ashlee Simpson
When your sister is beautiful, talented and the darling of the entertainment world, it’s easy to get lost in her shadow. Ashlee Simpson did just the opposite. Sometimes a perky blonde, sometimes a sultry brunette, Ashlee has stayed in the limelight ever since her first single topped the charts in 2004. Comparisons to older sister Jessica are inevitable, but Ashlee has held her own and carved a place for herself in the music industry.

Her career hasn’t always been a smooth ride, and Ashlee has made headlines worldwide for the success of her music and the misfortune of her performances. Undaunted by the negative reactions she received last year, Ashlee went back into the studio, determined not to give up.

Introducing Ashlee

Born in October 1984 in Waco Texas, Ashlee’s humble beginnings are a far cry from the million-dollar lifestyle she has earned for herself. Her father, Joe, was a Baptist minister, and Ashlee was home-schooled by her mother, Tina. While Jessica was trying to make a name for herself through her music, young Ashlee was discovering her love for dance. Ashlee started dancing when she was four, and at age eleven she joined the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York City, becoming the youngest person ever to be admitted into the academy. When Jessica signed a recording contract, the family moved to Los Angeles and Ashlee began her Hollywood life by appearing in television commercials.

After modelling and performing as a backup dancer for Jessica’s concerts, Ashlee decided to pursue acting. She guest starred in the series Malcolm in the Middle and had a minor role in the film 2002 The Hot Chick. Her big break occurred when she landed a prominent role as a recurring guest star in the hugely successful series 7th Heaven in 2002. A year later, Ashlee went into the studio to record the song Just Let Me Cry for the soundtrack of Lindsay Lohan’s breakthrough film Freaky Friday. Soon after, Ashlee signed with Geffen Records, unaware that she was about to change the music scene across the world.

Shooting to Stardom

In the mid-summer of 2004, a song called Pieces of Me was getting some radio airplay in the US. The strong vocals and catchy music soon grabbed the attention of music lovers across the country and Ashlee Simpson exploded onto the music scene. The success of Pieces of Me propelled her debut album Autobiography to the top of the charts. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts and sold 400,000 copies in its first week alone. Since its release, the album has sold over three million copies worldwide. In September 2004, just two months after its release, the album was certified triple platinum, and the single Pieces of Me peaked at #5 in the US, #4 in the UK and #6 in Australia.

While the album marked Ashlee’s foray into music, it did not mean the end of her career on television. She got her own MTV reality show titled The Ashlee Simpson Show, which ran for two seasons in the US. The show featured a side of Ashlee that her fans had never seen before as it chronicled her experiences in writing, recording and performing music and also delved into her personal life.

You can read the rest of our feature on Ashlee Simpson in the November 2005 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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