Pop star Cody Simpson returns to Australian roots with new album

NEW YORK Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:29am IST

Singer Cody Simpson arrives on the red carpet for the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto in this file photo taken June 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/Files

Singer Cody Simpson arrives on the red carpet for the MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto in this file photo taken June 16, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Teen pop star Cody Simpson may exude the laid-back, surfer dude attitude associated with his native Australia, but behind the mellow exterior lies a business brain.

At age 10, he had the wherewithal to ask his mother to book the domain name CodySimpson.com. Three years later he signed a record deal.

The 16-year-old blonde pop star with an estimated net worth of $4.5 million has already toured with Justin Bieber, is headlining his own North American tour and releases his second album, "Surfers Paradise," on Tuesday.

He co-wrote all of the songs on the album which returns to his roots on the Gold Coast of Queensland.

"I wanted to really stay as true to myself as possible and incorporate some influence from back home," Simpson said about the album during a break from his tour.

"The sound and the whole vibe of the album share a piece of me and my lifestyle," he added.

In "Pretty Brown Eyes," the first single from the album, the tall, lanky teen heartthrob gives his own take on brown-eyed girls. Another track, "Imma Be Cool," features rapper Asher and Ziggy Marley, who performs also on the song "Love."

"It's definitely a classic summer album. There are a few reggae songs. There is a lot of acoustic guitar, some ukulele," said Simpson, who is managed by Scooter Braun, whose clients include Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen and The Wanted.

Despite his early success after being discovered on YouTube and MySpace, Simpson said he wasn't always sure he was destined for a singing career.

The son of swimming champions in Australia, Simpson said he once wanted to follow in the footsteps of Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps - until music took over.

He doesn't know what prompted him to book his domain name but he knew he would need it some day. Simpson remembers telling his grandmother when he about 7 that he would be really successful at something when he got older, but he didn't know yet what it would be.

"I thought it would be swimming, then something else and then the music thing came about," he said.

With a huge female teen fan base, more than 4.8 million Twitter followers and 146 million YouTube views, comparisons to Bieber are inevitable.

While touring with Bieber earlier this year and in 2012 Simpson said he learned a lot from the Canadian singer, whom he described as a "great mate." But musically they are taking different paths, which he said is evident on the new album.

Simpson, who relocated to Los Angeles with his family to pursue his career, has spent much of the past year on the road. Next up is a tour in his native Australia and an autobiography, "Welcome to Paradise: My Journey," which will be published by HarperCollins in October.

He said he is taking his success one step at a time.

"I do like the steady growth I've had over the past couple of years. And I definitely would rather grow into an artist that can exist as an adult rather than blow it all out," he said.

(Editing by Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman)

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