Jessica Simpson (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Jessica Ann Simpson (born July 10, 1980) is an American recording artist, actress, television personality and fashion designer who made her debut in 1999. Since that time, Simpson has made many recordings, starred in several television shows, movies and commercials, launched a line of hair and beauty products and designed fragrances, shoes and handbags for women. She has devoted time to philanthropic efforts including Operation Smile and a USO-hosted tour for troops stationed overseas. She started the Jessica Simpson Collection in 2009.
Simpson rose to fame with the release of her debut single, "I Wanna Love You Forever", which peaked inside the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100. Subsequently, her debut album Sweet Kisses went on to be certified 2x Platinum in the United States, and sold over four million copies worldwide. Her 2001 single "Irresistible" became her second Top 20 hit, while the album of the same name became her first to enter the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, and went on to receive a Gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her third studio album, In This Skin, went on to become her best selling album worldwide, receiving a 3x Platinum certification from the RIAA and peaking at number 2 on the Billboard 200, her highest charting album to date. Following the release of a Christmas album, Simpson released A Public Affair in 2006, and the album became her third Top 10 hit on the Billboard 200. She ventured into the country music market in 2008 and released Do You Know. In October 2010, she released her first compilation album and last album under the label of Epic Records, with the name Playlist: The Very Best of Jessica Simpson. A month later she released her second Christmas album Happy Christmas under the label eleveneleven and Primary Wave Records (owned by EMI) . She has achieved seven Billboard Top 40 hits, three gold and two multi-platinum RIAA certified studio albums, four of which have reached the top 10 on the US Billboard 200. Simpson has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. In 2013 VH1 ranked Simpson #32 on their 100 Sexiest Artists of All Time list.
Jessica Simpson was born in Abilene, Texas. She is the daughter of Tina Ann (née Drew), a homemaker, and Joseph Truett "Joe" Simpson, a minister and psychologist. She has a younger sister, Ashlee, who is also a singer. Simpson's father gave her a purity ring at the age of 12, and Simpson has often stated she remained a virgin until marriage. Her parents were married in 1978 and filed for divorce in 2012. Their divorce was finalized in 2013. Simpson has stated that she grew up in Dallas, but her parents now live in McGregor, Texas. Simpson began singing at a local Baptist church, where her father also worked as the congregation's youth minister. At age twelve, she unsuccessfully auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. Simpson has stated that they were put in groups and had acting and vocal coaches to help them. According to Jessica, Justin Timberlake was in a group with her. She explained that she had frozen after getting on stage to sing, and later commented that she had felt "intimidated" by the other performers. The following year, Simpson attended a church camp, where she sang Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" and an arrangement of "Amazing Grace". At camp, she was introduced to the founder of Proclaim Records, a minor Gospel music record label. She recorded an album, Jessica, but she was dismissed from the label when it went bankrupt. Jessica was never officially released except for a small pressing funded by her grandmother. When Simpson was sixteen years old, Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola heard Jessica. Mottola was impressed with Simpson"s musical talent and skill. Simpson was immediately signed to the label. She dropped out of J. J. Pearce High School but later earned her GED.
1999-2001: Sweet Kisses and Irresistible
Simpson began working with producers such as Louis Biancaniello, Robbie Nevil, Evan Rogers, and Cory Rooney. Biancaniello worked with Simpson on three of the albums eleven tracks, including "I Wanna Love You Forever", "Where You Are", and "Heart of Innocence". Rooney produced the track 'I Think I'm in Love with You', which was later released as the album's third single. During this time, Simpson began dating Nick Lachey. Simpson and Lachey recorded a duet, "Where You Are", which later became the album's second single. She also worked with Destiny's Child.
Simpson also collaborated with Sam Watters for the album. Watters produced the singles 'I Wanna Love You Forever' and Where You Are', as well as 'Heart of Innocence'. Watters also co-wrote the track 'I Wanna Love You Forever', along with Louis Biancaniello. Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers also produced the tracks 'I've Got My Eyes On You' and 'Betcha She Don't Love You' together, though neither tracks were released as singles. Simpson's label wanted 'Sweet Kisses' to be different than that of Aguilera's and Spears' debut albums, in that they were sexually risque, especially the lead singles from both albums. For 'Sweet Kisses', the label decided they wanted Simpson to be the "anti-sex appeal", to which Simpson would sing about love and romance rather than sexual themes. Simpson's "virgin" image was thought as a great idea by the label, who felt that it would draw in listeners by making a girl whom they could relate to. Simpson also announced in an interview that she would be abstinent until marriage, which helped listeners give her the appearance the label was hoping for.
Simpson's debut single, "I Wanna Love You Forever", was released on September 28, 1999. The single entered the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number 3. "I Wanna Love You Forever" went on to be certified Platinum by the RIAA less than three months after its release. Outside of the United States, the single was successful, as it peaked within the top ten in most European nations and Australia, which reached the Top-ten in Norway, Sweden, UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and Australia. During the recording of her debut album, Simpson became involved with Nick Lachey. Simpson's debut album, Sweet Kisses was released on November 23, 1999. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200, selling 65,000 copies in its first week, significantly lower than expected by Columbia Records. To boost record sales, the label released the second single "Where You Are", but could not reach the success of its predecessor "I Wanna Love You Forever". While Sweet Kisses was kept in the top 60 for several weeks, the label decided to make one last attempt to launch the third single from the album. "I Think I'm in Love with You" was released in May 2000, peaking at No. 25 in August 2000. In total, the album stayed on the chart for 62 weeks. The album was certified 2× Platinum by the RIAA. The album has sold about 1.9 million copies in the US, and over 4 million copies worldwide.
In 2000, Simpson started recording the follow-up to Sweet Kisses, with what Columbia considered more radio-friendly, up-tempo tracks. The commercial performance of her debut album led Simpson to reevaluate her career and although she was enjoying some success, she felt she could improve on this. Feeling her more "innocent" image would halt her career from developing further, Simpson adopted a sexier image and newer sound, at the suggestion of the Columbia executives She moved into the teen-pop genre, as she felt that restyling herself to match the image of Spears and Aguilera would help remake her career. She separated from her then-boyfriend Nick Lachey, in March 2001, feeling the need to concentrate on her career. Her new image was promoted through appearances on many events, where Simpson wore revealing outfits. The development of this image coincided with the production and release of her second studio effort, Irresistible. Simpson said that she wanted to portray a "sexier, more mature style". "I recorded [Sweet Kisses] when I was 17 years old and I'm 21 [this month] so there is four years of growth involved," Simpson said in an interview with Coventry Newspapers in July 2001. In an interview with Cosmopolitan in June 2001, she explained, "This record is about who I am now. The music is edgier, and I'm all grown up." According to Terri Doughtery, author of People in the News: Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey, Simpson hoped her new image would bring more attention to the power of her voice. "It's not just me singing about being in love. I also have heartbreak songs and girls telling off guys songs. It's going to take me a while to recoup [on] this album, because we spent a lot of money on it," Simpson said to Entertainment Weekly.
The lead single from the album, "Irresistible", was released on April 12, 2001, as a CD single. The song received generally negative reviews from music critics. They criticized the sexuality of its lyrics and the over-usage of digital sound manipulators, with Associated Press calling it "unimaginative". In 2003, the song won a Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) "Pop Music Award". "Irresistible" became a moderate commercial success, peaking within the top twenty hit in the United States and in eleven countries. The song was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). The accompanying music video was directed by Simon Brand, and features Simpson dressed as a spy, trying to compromise some evidence in a laboratory. Record producer Jermaine Dupri of So So Def Recordings remixed the song within a Hip-Hop"tinged genre style which featured rap artist Lil Bow Wow. Released on May 25, 2001 Irresistible debuted at number 6 in June 2001 on the Billboard 200 chart, with 127,000 copies sold in its first week. It was later certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling or shipments of 500,000 copies or more. At the date, the album has sold 3 million copies worldwide. She toured with Destiny's Child, Nelly, and Eve on MTV's first Total Request Live (TRL) Tour, which spanned thirty dates in the US. Simpson later embarked on her first headlining tour, The DreamChaser Tour. The tour began in August, but due to the September 11, 2001 attacks could not complete the planned dates.
2002-2005: Marriage, In this Skin, film career and divorce
Despite the pair splitting up when Jessica began recording Irresistible, she later began dating Nick Lachey once again. Simpson married Nick Lachey on October 26, 2002. She famously announced she had remained a virgin until her marriage. Following the announcement of their wedding, it was confirmed Simpson and Lachey would star in the reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, which began airing on MTV. The show was originally intended for Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley, but the couple decided not to continue with the project after the start of pre-production. It was shelved until 2002, when Jessica's father and manager, Joe Simpson, contacted MTV about producing a show starring his daughter and her new husband. Newlyweds quickly became a pop culture phenomenon and is credited with making her a household name. "I never knew that just doing the show would give me that pedestal to step on," Simpson told Blender magazine.
On February 1, 2004, Simpson opened the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. On July 22, Simpson released the lead single from her upcoming third studio album. The single, "Sweetest Sin", dealt with the topic of Simpson losing her virginity to then husband Nick Lachey. The recording process of "Sweetest Sin" was documented in an episode of Simpson's reality series, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica. Simpson originally recorded "Sweetest Sin" confidentially in a slightly remixed form and announced she was pleased with its progress. However, her superiors at Columbia Records told her that she had made the song too "challenging"; in essence, they felt that potential listeners of the song would be alienated by singing they would not be able to duplicate. Simpson was filmed breaking into tears when she received the news. Later, she re-recorded her vocals with the assistance of Nick Lachey, whom she brought along because she felt he was a good vocal producer. On August 9, 2003, the song debuted at number forty on Billboard Pop Songs, reaching number thirty-seven two weeks later. "Sweetest Sin" failed to make into the Hot 100 chart, peaking at number twenty-four on Bubbling Under Hot 100.
Simpson's third studio album, In This Skin, was released on August 19, 2003 to coincide with the series premiere of Newlyweds. In This Skin, debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200, with sales of 64,000 in its first week. The album quickly declined down the charts, failing to match the success of Simpson's previous efforts. By January 2004, the album had sold just 565,000 copies. "With You" was released as the album's second single, largely in hopes that the song would revive In This Skin on the charts. In the United States, the song debuted at number sixty-five on the Billboard Hot 100, on the issue dated December 27, 2003. In March 20, 2004, the single reached its peak position of number fourteen and stayed on the chart for twenty-three weeks. "With You" became Simpson's fourth top-forty single in the US and her second highest peak on the chart since "I Wanna Love You Forever" (1999). The song also peaked at number one on Billboard Pop Songs chart and was her first number one on the chart. Due the strong sales, the single was certified Gold by RIAA for selling 500,000 copies. In 2004, Columbia Records decided to re-release In This Skin with several new tracks in order to utilize the success of the singer. With "With You" on the top of the radio charts in February 2004, Simpson released her third single, "Take My Breath Away", as the first single from the new re-release. The re-release worked as In This Skin jumped to number two on the Billboard charts, selling over 157,000 copies that week. The album stayed in the top ten for eight non-consecutive weeks and stayed in the Top 100 for sixty-one weeks. The album spent a total of 75 weeks on the Billboard 200. In December 2004, In This Skin was certified 3x Multi Platinum by the RIAA for sales more than 3 million copies only in U.S. The album ranked the No. 14 in Billboard Year End Charts Albums 2004. According to Simpson's biography, the album has sold 4 million copies in US, to date.
Simpson and Lachey starred in the television special The Nick and Jessica Variety Hour which aired in 2004 and was compared to The Sonny & Cher Show. In late 2004, Simpson released her first Christmas album, Rejoyce: The Christmas Album.
It includes a duet with her sister, Ashlee Simpson, on the song "Little Drummer Boy". Additionally, it also includes a duet with Nick Lachey, Simpson's husband at the time, on "Baby, It's Cold Outside". The cover of Amy Grant's "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" is notable, as Simpson has said that Grant is one of her favorite recording artists and her role model. Rejoyce was certified gold by the RIAA in January 2005. Its singles are "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" and "What Christmas Means To Me" (although no accompanying video was produced); the song "O Holy Night has a video. In 2005, Newlyweds won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Reality Show before wrapping shortly after.
In the summer of 2005, Simpson made her first appearance in a motion picture as Daisy Duke in the movie version of the television series The Dukes of Hazzard. The film was No. 1 at the box office its opening weekend, and grossed $30.7 million on 3,785 screens. It also had an adjusted-dollar rank of No. 14 all-time for August releases. The film eventually collected $110.5 million worldwide, although it was much less financially successful outside the U.S. Simpson appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack, releasing "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", a cover of the 1966 Nancy Sinatra. The song peaked at number fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and won a People's Choice Award for Favorite Song from a Movie, in 2006. The song's video featured Simpson as Daisy Duke. It contains scenes of her flirting and singing in a bar and then later washing the General Lee car, wearing a skin-tight, revealing pink bikini. In some countries the video was banned for its overtly sexual content. Simpson received criticism from a Christian group calling itself "The Resistance", for the sexualized image she used in the music video for "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". In response, Simpson stated, "It didn't really surprise me because I grew up with a lot of that backlash. That's why I didn't end up going into the Christian music industry. I think that if they're really good Christians the judgment wouldn't be there."
In November 2005, Simpson and Lachey announced they were separating. Simpson filed for divorce on December 16, 2005, citing "irreconcilable differences." Their divorce was finalized on June 30, 2006.
2006-2007: A Public Affair and Employee of the Month
In 2005, MTV reported that Simpson had begun working on her fifth studio album. It was also reported that Simpson had parted ways with Columbia, and would release future albums through Epic Records. The album's lead single, "A Public Affair", was released on June 29, 2006, the day before her divorce from Nick Lachey was finalized. The Yahoo! Music download of the song gained media attention because it was made available in MP3 format, without Digital Rights Management, which is normally used to restrict copying of commercially released singles. However, the price to download the song was US$1.99, higher than the $0.99 norm for most DRM-restricted tracks. The increased price was rationalized not by the DRM-free format, but by offering users the ability to "personalize" the song with a specific name. The single was released in United States, Canada and Australia in 2006. Later the song was released in Europe in February 2007. The single debuted at number thirty-nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, Simpson's second highest debut after "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". It had previously debuted at number twenty on Billboard's Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which represents the twenty-five singles below the Hot 100's number 100 position that have not yet appeared on the Hot 100. Digital download sales were moderate until the release of the single's music video. In late July "A Public Affair" joined Ashlee Simpson's song "Invisible" in the top ten on the U.S. iTunes Store's list of most popular songs, the first time in iTunes history that two siblings had different songs in the top ten. The song peaked in its fifth week on the Hot 100. In October 2006 the song peaked at number 1 on Hot Dance Club Play. "A Public Affair" was certified Gold in US for obtaining more than 500,000 downloads.
On August 29, 2006, Simpson released her fifth studio album A Public Affair under Epic Records. The album debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200, selling over 101,000 copies in its first week, the highest first week sales of Simpson's albums. A Public Affair shipped 500,000 units in the US and was certified Gold by the RIAA. In Canada the album debuted at number 6, marking Simpson's highest position on the albums chart in Canada and was later certified Gold for 50,000 copies sold. A Public Affair also made the Top 40 in Japan, Ireland and Australia, in the latter country peaking lower than In This Skin which reached number 13 and was certified Platinum. Despite the title track becoming an international hit, the album has sold just 1 million copies to date, and is considered by and large a commercial failure compared to Simpson's previous work.
Simpson's second film, Employee of the Month, was released October 6, 2006. With poor reviews, the film took in $11.8 million in its opening weekend, debuting at number 4 just behind Open Season. In December 2006, while performing a tribute to Dolly Parton at the Kennedy Center Awards, she botched the lyrics, getting flustered in front of a crowd that included prominent persons such as Steven Spielberg, Shania Twain, and President Bush. Though Simpson was given the chance to redo the song for cameras, her portion was edited out of the CBS broadcast. In December 2007, Simpson co-starred with Luke Wilson in her third film, Blonde Ambition. The film opened in eight theaters in Texas (the home state of both Simpson and Wilson), and earned US $6,422. It was released on DVD in January 2008. Blonde Ambition fared better overseas, where it grossed $253,008 in Ukraine its opening weekend.
In November 2007, Simpson began dating Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. The relationship was controversial among some Dallas Cowboys fans, and she was blamed for Romo's poor performances. Some of the Cowboys' fans gave her the nickname "Yoko Romo" in reference to Yoko Ono, who many Beatles fans blamed for "ruining" John Lennon. Even then-President George W. Bush jokingly endorsed the "Jessica jinx" after the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl in 2008. During the traditional White House reception for the winning team, President Bush was quoted as saying: "We're going to send Jessica Simpson to the Democrat National Convention".
2008-2009: Move to country and Do You Know
In September 2007, Simpson's father, and manager, Joe Simpson stated to People magazine that Simpson was considering doing a country album. Joe Simpson told People that she is "talking about doing a country record and going back to her roots, being from Texas." "Come On Over", first leaked onto the internet on May 27, 2008. Shortly after country radio stations around the country began giving the single radio play. In the United States, "Come on Over" became the most-added song to country radio for the week of June 6, 2008, debuting at number forty-one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It broke a record held by Miranda Lambert ("Me and Charlie Talking") and Brad Cotter ("I Meant To") for highest-debuting first chart entry by a solo artist; both artists debuted at number forty-two on that same chart. The video for the first single, "Come On Over", premiered on Simpson's official website in July 2008. The single peaked at number eighteen on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. Prior to the album release, Simpson performed at select state fairs and visited various country music radio stations in order to promote the album. On July 19, 2008, Simpson performed at the Country Thunder Festival in Wisconsin. She was booed by the crowd and received a poor reception from country music critics. She responded by saying, "I don't know what your perception is of Jessica Simpson or what tabloid you buy, but I just want you to know that I'm just a girl from Texas; I"m just like you. I'm doing what I love and dating a boy."
The country album, titled Do You Know, was released on September 9, 2008. Despite selling only 65,000 copies in its first week, Do You Know debuted at number four on the Billboard 200, but fell rapidly, dropping out of that list in only nine weeks. At the same time, it dropped rapidly out of the top twenty on the Country Albums Chart, where it had held the top spot for only one week. Overall, the album has dramatically underperformed compared to the sales of Simpson's previous album, which was also widely regarded as a commercial failure. As of early 2009, it has sold 173,000 copies in the United States. Sales in Australia and the UK were far more poor, with the album barely managing to enter the top 100 in Australia, at number 95. In 2009, it was announced that Simpson would be supporting the Rascal Flatts on tour that January during the final leg of their "Bob That Head Tour". The tour kicked off on January 17, 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri running over 20 shows ending on March 14, 2009 in Irvine, California. Simpson's next movie, Major Movie Star (later renamed Private Valentine: Blonde and Dangerous) was released to DVD on February 3, 2009. On July 13, 2009, People reported that Simpson and Tony Romo had ended their relationship.
2010-present: Price of Beauty, Fashion Star, and motherhood
Simpson's VH1 documentary series, The Price of Beauty, began airing in March 2010. The series followed Simpson around the world, introducing viewers to the different perceptions of beauty in different cultures. The premiere episode attracted one million viewers, but Simpson revealed that the series would return in 2011 with a format change. Initially, Simpson planned to release a new studio album that would end her contract with her label, Epic Records. However, a greatest hits compilation, Playlist: The Very Best of Jessica Simpson, was released in late October instead. Simpson's second holiday album Happy Christmas was released under eleveneleven and Primary Wave in November 2010. Also in November, Simpson became engaged to Eric Johnson, a retired NFL tight end, whom she had been dating since May. In June 2011, it was announced that Simpson participated as a mentor in NBC's new reality show Fashion Star with Elle Macpherson. In July 2011, she appeared on Fashion Star alongside Nicole Richie.
On May 1, 2012, Simpson gave birth to her first child, daughter Maxwell Drew Johnson. During the pregnancy, Simpson signed a multimillion dollar endorsement deal with Weight Watchers, in which she agreed to use the Weight Watchers diet plan after giving birth to lose the approximately 70 pounds she gained during her pregnancy. Her first TV commercial for the company began airing in September 2012. In December, Simpson confirmed reports that she was pregnant again. Weight Watchers announced that she would discontinue following the company's diet plan during her pregnancy. On March 8, 2013 the second season of Fashion Star premiered on NBC. Simpson's second child, son Ace Knute Johnson, was born on June 30, 2013.
Retail and commercials
"Jessica Simpson Dessert by Jessica Simpson" was launched in April 2004 after co-founders Randi Shinder and Simpson designed a line of edible perfume, lip gloss and other beauty products under the Dessert Beauty brand. A parallel line named Dessert Treats was launched the following year in February 2005. The new line was marketed at a much younger audience. Simpson and stylist Ken Pavés launched a line of hair and beauty products on the Home Shopping Network. Simpson also created the Jessica Simpson Collection (JSC) in which she designs and markets a line of handbags and (primarily high-heeled) shoes and boots. JSC was projected to become the first celebrity brand to break $1 billion in annual sales, and would launch an e-commerce beauty site with celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy, BeautyMint, on October 31, 2011. The Jessica Simpson's Intimates began selling in major department stores and online shopping sites in spring 2009. Simpson has launched a fragrance line. Her fragrance was made by Parlux Fragrances. Her debut perfume, Fancy, was launched in 2008. The success of Fancy spawned three more fragrances, Fancy Love, Fancy Nights and I Fancy You.
Simpson has made commercials for Pizza Hut, Proactiv Solution and a commercial for Ice Breakers with her sister Ashlee Simpson. In 2005, she started advertising Proactiv Solution, an over-the-counter acne medicine. In 2006, she premiered in another Pizza Hut commercial for the Super Bowl XL broadcast. She sang "These Bites Are Made For Poppin'," in reference to the song "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'," to advertise the new Cheesy Bites Pizza. In 2007, the Super Bowl featured her third Pizza Hut commercial, which again promoted the Cheesy Bites Pizza. She has also advertised DirecTV in character as Daisy Duke.
Simpson is Operation Smile's International Youth Ambassador. In March 2007, Simpson donated a new Chrysler minivan to the Elim orphanage in Nuevo Laredo. Simpson won a Chrysler Crossfire sports car at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, but exchanged the $50,000 luxury car for a minivan so she could help the orphanage.
Jessica Simpson is a Republican. Simpson endorsed George W. Bush for president in 2004, but was later said to have "snubbed" him by canceling an appearance at a 2006 Republican fundraiser in Washington, D.C.. The singer's father, Joe Simpson, explained that he and Jessica are "big supporters" of the president, who invited them. But they felt it was inappropriate to attend a political fundraiser.