Jessica Simpson Biography

10 July 1980, Waco, Texas, USA. Initially one of America’s pre-millennial rash of teenybop singers resurrecting the country’s traditions of bubblegum pop, Simpson won her spurs with December 1999’s Top 5 single ‘I Wanna Love You Forever’. She began singing aged 12 in her local Baptist church, where her psychologist father served as youth minister. After unsuccessfully auditioning for the Mickey Mouse Club she remained in the contemporary Christian field and recorded an album’s worth of material until the gospel label about to release it folded. Instead she worked the Christian Youth Conference circuit with her father, selling copies of her home-recorded debut album after performances. A copy of the album reached Tommy Mottola of Columbia Records, who believed Simpson could be groomed for a secular audience. Optimistically likened to a teenage Mariah Carey by her record label, and insisting that ‘I’m certainly not denying that I’m young, but I’m not fluff, ’ she was introduced to a wider audience as the opening act on 98°’s US tour.

Simpson’s full debut album, released in 1999, included second single ‘Woman In Me’, with guest vocals by Destiny’s Child. The follow-up Irresistible demonstrated how much Simpson had matured over the past four years; as she stated in Billboard, ‘I’d like to be the first to take pop to its next level’. Her third album was somewhat overshadowed by Simpson’s starring role in Newlyweds, a MTV series chronicling the private life of the singer and her husband, ex-98° member Nick Lachey. Nevertheless, the popularity of the series provided a much-needed sales boost and the album eventually rose into the US Top 5 in March 2004. During the same year, Jessica’s younger sister Ashlee Simpson also enjoyed success on the US pop charts. Simpson made her cinematic debut in 2005, playing Daisy Duke in the remake of The Dukes Of Hazzard.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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