Ashlee Simpson Says Her Daughter’s Love For Her Old Albums Is Inspiring New Music
Ashlee Simpson is still very much in touch with her teenage self. During an interview at JBL Fest in Las Vegas, Simpson – who broke out in 2004 with the rock-edged “Autobiography” – happily confirms she’s never stopped resonating with the bands that she loved back in the day.
“I still listen to Hole. I still listen to Garbage, Nirvana, the whole thing,” she tells POPSUGAR. Of course, those bands never really lost their relevance, and like many other ’90s trends, they’re definitely having another moment in the sun. “It’s so funny that it’s even made another resurgence – it’s one of those things where music cycles all around,” she notes.
She can also definitely still relate to the emotions that animate that music. “For me, yes, I still resonate. I’m still a teen angsty mom,” she says. “I’m like yes, Jagger, we’re going to jump around and dance.”
While she could easily be talking about jamming out to the sweet sounds of Mick Jagger, the name Jagger is instead a reference to her 8-year-old daughter. Simpson’s daughter favors Olivia Rodrigo – another pop star with a penchant for punchy pop-rock refrains – but she’s also a big fan of her mom’s music. “I’m inspired that my daughter is so inspired by my old albums,” Simpson says, adding that her daughter’s love of her own music has actually been making her want to return to that style.
Simpson’s last solo LP was 2008’s “Bittersweet World,” but now, with all of her kids in school, she’s gearing up to return to her music career. “I have the itch and I’m very ready,” she says.
“It’s really important to try to be yourself and to be genuinely loved and feel loved in that respect.”
In addition to Jagger, Simpson has a 2-year-old son named Ziggy with husband Evan Ross. She also has a 14-year-old son named Bronx, whom she shares with ex-husband Pete Wentz. Fittingly, each one of her kids has a unique love for music. “We have such a wide variety of music in our house, from soul to rock. I feel like lately we’ve been bringing it back,” she says. “There are just so many different moments in music. It’s so fun to connect to – ‘Oh, that time in my life I heard this song’ . . . I connect to so many different sounds of music, especially with my kids. It depends who I have in my car. If I have my 2-year-old, it’s ‘The Wheels on the Bus.’ I’m like, please, no, let’s listen to Stevie Wonder. He’s cool!”
Meanwhile, Bronx “has the best taste in music,” she adds. “I’m like, put your playlist on. And he’ll now introduce me to artists I haven’t heard.”
And of course, her husband is a musician himself – and just so happens to be the son of musical legend Diana Ross. While Simpson hasn’t made her own music in a while, she and Ross released a six-song EP in 2018 and another single in 2019 under the name ASHLEE + EVAN. It’s easy to surmise that their home is perpetually full of music; Ross is working on his own project, and Simpson says that as she searches for her own new sound, she’s been listening to a lot of soul and rock music and channeling artists like Beth Hart.
In addition to opening her up to new musical avenues, her relationship with Ross has also opened her up to a new kind of understanding when it comes to love. “Love is so many things. It’s understanding each other, and always having that friendship and that love, and seeing one another for who they are,” she says. “I think people try to be something else, but it’s really important to try to be yourself, and to be genuinely loved and feel loved in that respect.”
Her family, too, has helped her see herself with newfound clarity. “I love parenting. For me, it’s so much fun, and all my kids are such different ages,” Simpson says. Seeing her kids get older reminds her of her own journey – all the metamorphoses that come with growing up and all the teen angst that she carries with her to this day. “For me, it’s just getting to watch them grow, watching them find themselves,” she says of her favorite parts of motherhood. “I remember being on that journey, finding myself, and getting to now watch them do that . . .”
Simpson thinks for a moment before landing on a way to summarize her hopes and dreams for her children. Her words, of course, could also serve as a reminder for anyone of any age, since none of us ever really lose our rebellious, angsty, big-dreamer teenage selves – or the music that soundtracked those formative years.
“Sky is the limit,” she says, before quickly adding one last thing. “Don’t rebel too hard.”