Cody Simpson Getting 'Free' on New Self-Released Album

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Cody Simpson performs during the Rachel Ray Feedback Party at Stubbs Bar-B-Que at SXSW on March 21, 2015 in Austin, Texas.

After a five-year run with Atlantic Records, Australian singer-songwriter Cody Simpson is free. And he plans to show what that means when he releases Free, on his own Coast House Records label, later this year.

"Oh dude, I'm so stoked for it. It's got a really cool sound to it," Simpson told Billboard after his performance at Rachael Ray's Feedback party at Stubb's where he played new tracks such as "Flower," "New Problems," "Happy Little Hippie," "Driftwood" and his new album's title track. That title, Free, he adds, "is sort of symbolic for me. I'm 18 years old. It's symbolic for my independence and my freedom, especially now after leaving (Atlantic) and being free in that sense. It's the perfect title for where I'm at at the moment and what this project means to me."

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Growing out of his teen pop past, Simpson described that sound as "acoustic rock, basically. It's mellow rock and obviously has tinges of reggae and tinges of western sort of spruced on top. It's like the taco, and then the lemon and then the salt and pepper." 

Free is being produced by Cisco Adler and includes songwriting collaborations with G. Love and Donavon Frankenreiter, with John Mayer serving as a sounding board. "He sent back a bunch of nice advice and stuff and I applied that," says Simpson, who's back in Los Angeles this week and hopes to be "nearly done" after the latest sessions.

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"It's nice to have a lot of people supportive of what I'm doing," Simpson says. "All the stuff is tracked live with the band and we get the one take that sounds good all the way through and I'll just go back and clean up my vocals and do it that way. It gives the music so much more life; you start to hear stuff for what it is, which is so nice." 

Simpson has already released "Flower" and "New Problems" from the set, and he plans to have two more out around June, with album following later in the year. 

"I'm more excited than apprehensive," Simpson said about his new independent course. "I love a challenge. When we played the other night, obviously there was a portion of women, a portion of girls, but there were so many dudes, like, smoking J's and enjoying the music. That's sort of exactly what I want to see and it's so fulfilling to see everyone enjoying the music for the music as opposed to, like, preconceived notions because of my age or what ever. To see it in speed-motion is so cool."