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Cody Simpson wants to grow up with tour, next album

21st Century Media/Digital First Media, @GraffonMu

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Cody Simpson had a deliberate reason for scheduling the start of his latest tour around his 17th birthday.

"It's a new year, a new phase in my career and a step towards the future of being an artist," says the Australian-born Simpson, whose birthday [is/was] Jan. 11. His past as an artist has certainly provided a good foundation for that growth, however.

Discovered via YouTube by producer Shawn Campbell in 2009, the Australian-born Simpson, who now resides in Los Angeles, has released a pair of albums -- with the second, "Surfers Paradise," debuting at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 in July. He's also logged hits such as "Coast to Coast" and "4U," guested on rapper Flo Rida's "iYiYi" and toured with Justin Bieber, with whom Simpson shares a manager.

His goal now, however, is to leave any vestiges of teen pop behind, and Simpson says the new tour -- during which he'll play with an acoustic trio and incorporate instruments such as ukulele, cello and djembe -- will be "the first opportunity for me to come out and really show my musicality."

"I'm putting together a really cool, unique experience, something the fans haven't seen from me before," explains Simpson, who also published an autobiography, "Welcome to My Paradise: My Journey," in October. "It's going to be a very musical experience, new versions of a lot of my older stuff. It's something that I've wanted to do for a little while and just haven't had the opportunity to do yet.

"Being seen as (a musician) is something you have to work towards, and you have to earn it. Those who have listened to my albums know it's there, and this tour is definitely one of the first steps towards earning that."

His third album will be another step, Simpson promises. He's already started working on new material and plans to hit the studio in earnest during February, after the tour wraps. "I'm just really trying to show in my music where my mind is now and the way I'm maturing and getting older," Simpson says. "I want the world to see the artist I actually really want to be, and with this album I'm going to do my best to show that.

"It's gong to be groovy. It's going to be more mature, more musical. It's not just love songs this time; I'm going to (write about) traveling, experiences I've had with people and cultures and themes that are more universal and worldly, not just about relationships I've had with girls."

Cody Simpson and Plug In Stereo perform Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $24. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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