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Ashlee Simpson

Picking Up The 'Pieces'

AshleeVideo may have killed the radio star 25 years ago, but in today's multimedia universe, it seems that the more exposure one fosters -- through TV, movies, commercials, the Internet or Billboard's Hot 100 -- the better the chance for success.

Case in point: Jessica Simpson, whose singing career was catapulted to new heights after starring in MTV reality series "Newlyweds" with husband Nick Lachey. Consider it a well-learned family lesson, as Simpson's younger sister Ashlee works the spell in reverse, transforming herself from actress to pop/rock ingenue.

Ashlee Simpson's debut Geffen album, "Autobiography," arrives this week. Musically, it's easy to separate her from her sister. While the latter Simpson capably plays the role of diva in a gown, Ashlee wears jeans and lets her hair hang loose and names such influences as Chrissie Hynde, Janis Joplin and Pat Benatar.

The songs on the album reflect the eye-opening discoveries that come with young adulthood, including first love and first heartbreak, identity and sexual awakening. "I'm 19, and I'm going through some defining moments in my life. I've tried not to hold anything back," she says. "I guess I should apologize to all of the boys that I have used for inspiration."