"My new album Surfers Paradise is the first time that I've really known from the get-go exactly how I wanted the music to sound," says Cody Simpson. "I wanted to show the world how I'm evolving and that I've really discovered who I am as an artist." Surfers Paradise picks up where Cody's previous 2012 debut full-length Paradise, left off, telling the story of how this talented teenage singer, songwriter, and musician, now 16, traded the sunny shores of his native Queensland, Australia, for the sunny shores of Los Angeles to pursue his dream of being performer.
"Surfers Paradise is basically the most famous area on the Gold Coast of Australia, where I am from," Cody explains. "I think this album really represents that piece of me and my lifestyle there. Making Paradise felt like a journey to find myself as a young adult and artist. With 'Surfers Paradise' the entire process felt more natural, like being back home. I wanted to share that feeling with my fans."
Cody co-wrote every song on Surfers Paradise, which brims with a mix of summery, upbeat and mellow pop tracks like "La Da Dee", "Imma Be Cool" (featuring rapper Asher Roth), "Love (featuring Ziggy Marley) and the first single "Pretty Brown Eyes" — Cody's fresh, new take on girls with brown eyes, like a "Brown-Eyed Girl" for 2013. Hailed by Billboard as a "happy-go-lucky summer anthem," the song is a Radio Disney favorite, while the video, directed by Cameron Duddy (Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green, P!nk), is a YouTube sensation, earning nearly four million views and climbing.
Surfers Paradise also shows how Cody has matured as an artist with reflective, acoustic guitar-driven tunes like "Awake All Night," (which Cody wrote, produced, and performed himself), "Sinkin' In," "Rainy Day," and the yearning, nostalgic "Summertime of Our Lives," which Cody says is one of his favorites. Several songs have a distinct reggae vibe, like "Love" and "No Ceiling," the latter featuring guest vocals by Ziggy Marley, Bob's son and a beloved artist in his own right. "To have Ziggy on there is just insane," Cody says. "It's an honor to work with Ziggy, I have a deep respect for his music and the music his father gave to us."
"I am 100 percent confident in this album," Cody says. "I feel like the title, the sound, and the music all go really well together and represent exactly who I am."
Music has played an integral part in Cody's life since he was a child. Watching his dad sing and play guitar for friends and family at parties and backyard barbecues taught him the power that music has to bring people together. Inspired, he asked for his own guitar and began taking lessons at the age of seven. After learning a few chords, Cody wrote his first song. He continued practicing and soon began posting YouTube videos of himself performing his original songs alongside stellar covers by some of his favorite artists like Justin Timberlake, Jason Mraz, and Jack Johnson, racking up millions of views.
In April 2010, Cody released his debut single, "iYiYi" (featuring Flo Rida) and began to win over U.S. fans with a series of dynamic live performances including 2010. Cody and his family soon relocated to Los Angeles. Atlantic released his debut EP, 4 U, in December, which spawned the No. 1 Radio Disney hit "All Day."
In September 2011, Simpson made a stunning chart debut with Coast to Coast, which entered Billboard's album chart at No. 12 and earned Cody his second Radio Disney No. 1, "On My Mind." The "On My Mind" companion video — directed by Travis Kopach (Panic! At The Disco, 3OH!3, Boys Like Girls) — is also a certified YouTube blockbuster with over 18 million views. Cody currently has nearly 5 million Twitter followers and nearly five million Facebook likes, in addition to 150 million YouTube views on his official channel, Cody Simpson Music.
Cody has made a host of high-profile TV appearances, including The Today Show, Live! with Kelly, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures, So Random, The Early Show, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, not to mention as a performer and mentor on Radio Disney and the Disney Channel's "N.B.T. (Next Big Thing)" talent contest. He was among the top stars featured at Nickelodeon's 2012 Kids Choice Awards where he presented and took home the award for "Favorite Aussie Star," and at Australian Nickelodeon's 2011 Kids Choice Awards, where he won "Awesome Aussie," "Aussie Muso," and the prestigious "Super Fresh." Cody showcased his latest tracks "Pretty Brown Eyes" and "Awake All Night" as part of a stellar live appearance at the 2013 Radio Disney Music Awards.
Cody has also been profiled in a range of national publications, while also receiving extensive TV coverage including E! News and Access Hollywood. He starred in the 2012 original film, Finding Cody. Presented by Warner Music Group's original YouTube Channel "The Warner Sound," Finding Cody made history as the first interactive YouTube movie featuring a major musical artist.
In addition, Cody, a natural and charismatic performer, has toured nearly non-stop, including his sold-out "Welcome to Paradise" headline tour, co-headline tours with Big Time Rush, and appearances at such events as the White House Easter Egg Roll and the Arthur Ashe Kids Day festivities at the U.S. Open. Cody's own Coast To Coast Tour of U.S. malls drew huge crowds everywhere it went in 2011, with more than 3,000 fans turning out at each of its 10 stops to see the rising teen star in action.
In 2012, Cody launched his first-ever European headlining tour and hit the road as support for Justin Bieber's U.S. and European Believe Tour, playing to crowds of 20,000. "It was a great experience for me. I was really motivated to make my show even better by watching what Justin and his team were doing on the Believe Tour," Cody says. "I had to prove myself on his tour. My goal was to go out there every night, get people up on their feet, and turn everyone in that arena into a fan of mine." Cody recently kicked off his Paradise Tour, which visits 36 cities in North America.
In October, HarperCollins will publish Cody's official autobiography Welcome To Paradise: My Journey, which will feature never-before-seen photos and exclusive details about Cody's life on and off stage, including his early years as a competitive swimmer. "I really wanted to tell my story in my own words and share my experiences," Cody says. "Everything I do, whether it's the music, the live shows, and now the book, is about letting the fans get to know me better. I want them to feel as if we're mates."
Plug In Stereo
Behind all great musical projects lies an artistic puppeteer that orchestrates the strings – for Plug In Stereo, it's 18-year-old wunderkind Trevor Dahl. Trevor is a jack of all trades, a multi instrumentalist with a talent for easy-going and down to earth acoustic melodies.
Trevor grew up in Portland surrounded by music like Bob Marley, Jack Johnson and The Shins. Listening to his family play music while he grew up, it was something that was always part of Trevor's life. Writing poems and lyrics since elementary school and picking up a guitar in the 6th grade led to Trevor recording tracks in his bedroom and the start of something great.
"Music has always been a big part of my life," says Trevor. "Ever since I started playing guitar, I've only ever wanted to play music."
Even after being in countless bands as a kid, nothing felt as right to Trevor as the creation of Plug In Stereo. When one of the band's he was a part of took a break, he decided to borrow a friend's microphone and recorded some solo tunes. He threw them up on MySpace and when the reaction was bigger and better than he expected, Plug In Stereo became his new driving force. While other teenagers were finishing their junior year in high school, Trevor had already toured the country with the likes of Dashboard Confessional, Never Shout Never and The Ready Set, self-recorded and self-released two EPs, and has just finished recording his first full-length album, Nothing To Something. Plug In Stereo can be perceived as already living out the long career of an established musical veteran, when in reality, they've only just begun their journey. Plug In Stereo's first full-length Nothing To Something is an album filled with acoustic pop jams that will have music listeners tapping their feet and clapping their hands. A masterpiece in the making, the album was produced by several musical pros such as Kevin Gates (Never Shout Never, Cady Groves, The Ready Set), Jeff Bond, and Christofer Drew of Never Shout Never and Jordan Witzigreuter from The Ready Set. Along with being produced by some generational pop heavy hitters like Christofer and Jordan, the album's first single, "Oh Darling" features guest vocals by Cady Groves.
With influences such as John Mayer, The Shins, and Jason Mraz, Plug In Stereo's new album takes a different route, straying from his older more synth heavy sound. This time around, Trevor focused on providing his fans with more genuine melodies and lyrics brought on from experiences in his own life.
"Now, I'm more interested in the natural sounding music with more thoughtful lyrics," says Dahl. "The upcoming album is the first batch of professional recordings for me, so I'm really excited for everyone to hear them."
After recording and releasing two prior EPs, Trevor's management sent them to Triple Crown Records, who fell in love with the tracks. Triple Crown and Trevor met and before long, a beautiful relationship had evolved and Plug In Stereo was signed. Plug In Stereo's first full-length Nothing To Something will be released on their new label, Triple Crown Records, and they couldn't feel more at home.
"Getting signed was really crazy to me. It was a dream come true," says Trevor. "I feel like we fit together so well so it really worked out!"