Spread Wings into the Ocean Blue
The Australian tween idol has blossomed into a man and, more importantly, a role model: His name is Cody Robert Simpson. While many of his peers struggled under the intense pressure of success, Simpson thrived. His transition from the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia to L.A. then to New York (to star in the Broadway musical Anastasia
as Dmitry until its final Broadway run on March 31st) has been tough, but his family’s support has allowed him to flourish, and grow. “I’ve had the privilege of doing what I love, from a young age. It’s helped me be more independent, more creative, and if anything, it’s given me more opportunity and freedom,” says the 22-year-old performer who sits in a NYC hotel room after stopping by Elvis Duran and the Morning Show
. He is very quiet and soft-spoken, but occasionally makes a flawless joke and grins. Although having a pretty packed schedule, he looks calm and confident. It’s a clear, chilly last day of February.
His range and capability in acting, and limitless passion have lent a uniquely elusive perspective to the Anastasia cast, and this has further shaped his career. “It’s definitely taught me new techniques, ways of using my voice that I didn’t do as frequently before,” Simpson says. Following the lead of Nick Jonas, Sara Bareilles, and David Bowie, Simpson has been the latest pop star to make the transition to Broadway: a path that he’s more than happy to follow. “I’m very interested in doing more shows, especially given this experience. I’d love to do more – it’s a passion of mine,” he shares.
Moreover, his B-Sides EP widely expanded – and evolved – as he regularly dropped a set of 4 songs (including a tune like “We Had”). “A lot of these songs, I’ve had [them] for a couple of years now, and I wanted to release them as groups of guitar ballads,” he elaborates. Joined by drummer Adrian Cota and bassist Shareef Addo, Cody Simpson & The Tide chronicle the stories of love, unity, and environmentalism (“As a writer, I’ve been writing poetry and stories from a young age. I’ve always been really interested in describing settings, in describing images and seeing them, as opposed to strict storytelling”).
That being said, in 2017, to mark World Oceans Day, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) named Simpson (who’s an avid surfer) as its first-ever Ocean Advocate for environmental responsibility. “I think we’re at a very crucial period in terms of people paying attention to environmental issues, especially my generation now. I’m involved in getting the right narrative out to young people, and hopefully encouraging them to do the right thing,” describes Simpson, adding that the newest generation has the most power to change the way that we think about the environment by influencing not only one another, but everyone around them – their parents included.
The future possibilities for Simpson – just like the ocean – are limitless as his genuine passion always activates his creativity in all directions from pop to theatre. After almost a decade in the spotlight, an artist could be limited in their endeavors. Simpson’s career has already proven that the contrary is possible: “I’m looking forward to releasing all this music that I’ve had locked up for a while – I think it’s time to share.”
Writer: Margaret Mallison
Photographer: Ron Contarsy (for Highmark Studios)
Photographer Assistant: Sarkis Delimelkon
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