Ashlee Simpson is in talks with "Saturday Night Live" to host and perform on the NBC show around the release of her sophomore album, "I Am Me," due Oct. 11 via Geffen. "It's not confirmed yet, but I w
Ashlee Simpson is ready to return to the scene of the crime. She is in talks with "Saturday Night Live" to host and perform on the NBC show around the Oct. 11 release of her sophomore Geffen album, "I Am Me."
"It's not confirmed yet, but I want to do it," she tells Billboard in her first interview about the new album. "I've battled those demons. I'm ready to go back out and do it again."
Lest anyone has forgotten, Simpson, on the back of her Geffen debut "Autobiography" -- which bowed at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 last year and has sold 2.9 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- appeared on the show last October. As she prepared to sing her second song, a prerecorded vocal track of her first performance erroneously began playing, revealing that she had been lip-syncing. Simpson, who said she had to use prerecorded vocals because her acid reflux had left her unable to sing, was vilified for passing off her performance as live.
Not surprisingly, that event and the aftermath found their way onto the new album, which, like "Autobiography," she wrote with Kara Dioguardi and John Shanks, who also produced.
The tune "Beautifully Broken" most clearly references those events. "I've obviously fallen on my face before in front of a bunch of people, but I've learned it's a beautiful thing and it's OK for people to be broken," she says. "That song is about the moment where it's like, 'God, I don't even know if I'm going to be able to get out of my bed tomorrow.' But you have to get yourself to get up and continue."
Musically, the album is more aggressive than "Autobiography" and also shows the 1980s influence of such female rockers as Joan Jett and Terri Nunn, which is surprising, since Simpson is only 20. "I just love '80s music," she says. "It's just so light and fun, and that was a lot of what I wanted to do on this record."
Simpson knows that after her "SNL" snafu, some folks won't be willing to give her a second chance, but she left the ghosts of her naysayers outside the recording studio.
"The first two days, I was like, 'What am I gonna [do]'... and then I was like, 'Who cares? I'm going to make a record that's true to myself and if people get that I can sing off of it, great, but if it's just a record that my fans love, then that's great for me too.' I'm not afraid of criticism anymore, must I say?"