OK, even though I’m an adult, I do kind of understand the appeal of Justin Bieber, but to be totally honest, I think Cody Simpson is even better. This 13-year-old was just a regular kid in Australia putting videos of himself singing on YouTube when he got discovered, flew to the U.S. and recorded his debut album. I’m completely addicted to the first single “iYiYi” right now. Scholastic got to interview him and get the inside scoop on this new cutie.
Q: The first song that you ever wrote was about putting a diaper on a chicken. How did you come up with that?
Cody: Oh, yeah, that’s my first song. I learned two chords on the guitar so I played it with that and I really don’t know why I wrote it about that. Just about putting diapers on chickens, changing their diapers. That’s what my seven-year-old brain was thinking. Now I look back at it now and I’m like, “Wow.”
Q: How did you get the idea to start putting your songs on YouTube?
Cody: Well, I did a concert. I performed “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz with a girl and she wanted me to put it on the YouTube so that was my very first video. And then a few people started liking it so I put on more covers of artists that inspired me like Justin Timberlake and Jason Mraz. And then more people started liking it so that’s when I got a call from a producer named Sean Campbell. He produced artists like Chris Brown, Missy Elliott, Jay Z. And he wanted to come over and record a few songs. He introduced me to a manager named Lou Williams who shopped me around to labels at Atlantic records, and now I’m releasing my first single “iYiYi.” I never really thought things would happen. It all just sort of happened real quick.
Q: What do your friends at school think about your new-found stardom?
Cody: Oh they’re really excited for me. They’ve been supporting me as well as my family. I feel really grateful to have such supportive people around me.
Q: Do any girls have crushes on you?
Cody: Yeah, sometimes. [laughs]
Q: What’s the best song ever recorded?
Cody: It would definitely have to be all the Michael Jackson songs. I think he’s really inspiring. He’s inspired a lot of people and he’s really changed the world of music.
Q: Who are you listening to now besides working on your own music?
Cody: I love listening to Jason Derulo right now. I think he has an amazing album so I’d love to meet him one day.
Q: What’s your favorite subject in school?
Cody: Probably English because that really helps me with my songwriting.
Q: Besides the chicken and the diaper song, when did you start writing real song lyrics?
Cody: When I was about eleven or twelve that’s when I wrote my first real song called “Ride My Roller Coaster” and my parents and family thought it was really good so that’s when my songwriting really started from there.
Q: When you’re writing a song does the music come to you first or the lyrics?
Cody: I don’t think it really matters. If something just comes to my head, I’ll write it down and if it’s a melody I’ll put lyrics to it. If it’s a few lyrics I’ll write the song from there. Sometimes I’ll have a chord progression on my guitar and I’ll use that as a basis for writing my song.
Q: What’s the most important thing that you want your fans to know about you?
Cody: I’d like them to know thank you for supporting me. I really appreciate it.
Q: What’s the best part about growing up in Australia?
Cody: It’s a great place to grow up where I live on the Gold Coast. There’s nice beaches. And I love to surf so it was perfect to me to be there. I used to go surfing all the time and hang out with friends and all that stuff.
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge for you?
Cody: We’re moving with my family to L.A. That’s hard because we’re gonna miss our family in Australia and my friends as well.
Q: If you could do something to make the world a better place, what would it be?
Cody: To end poverty. Actually, if I become successful I really want to help the world with that.
Cute or what? What do you think? Let me know in the Comments.
Interviewed by Marie Morreale
Photos courtesy Atlantic Records