Nick And Jessica Getting Back To The Reality Of The Studio

After dabbling in acting, both are renewing their focus on singing.

BEVERLY HILLS, California — After dabbling for a few years in movies, TV and kissable body shimmer, both Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey are going back to being singers.

By mid-summer, wife and husband hope to have new records on the shelves.

"I've started thinking about it and I'm gonna try to release it coinciding with the ['Dukes of Hazzard'] movie, which is June 24," Simpson said recently. "That's a quick time period, but I think I can do it."

Simpson is warming up by recording some music for the "Dukes" soundtrack, including a duet with Willie Nelson, who is playing Uncle Jesse to her Daisy Duke (see "Jessica Simpson To Record Duet With Willie Nelson").

"I haven't done that yet, but we will be doing something," Simpson said. "I was just in the studio with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis recording the single. ... I can't wait for people to hear it."

When pressed for details on the collaboration with longtime Janet Jackson producers Jam and Lewis, Simpson insisted, "I can't give away any of my new secrets."

As for Lachey, as "Newlyweds" fans know, he built a studio in the couple's house to work on the follow-up to his SoulO.

"It's definitely not gonna be the straight-ahead pop ballad thing that people have been used to hearing from me," Lachey said. "I'm trying to mix it up a little bit. Part of the beauty of music is experimentation and kind of finding yourself and your direction. That's what I've been doing the past few months — writing and singing and demoing and getting back to the kind of musical frame of mind and what it is that I really want to do."

The former 98 Degrees singer, who has also talked about reuniting the group (see "Nick Lachey Forging Ahead With Solo Career, Says 98 Degrees Reunion In The Cards"), is nearly finished writing and demoing and plans to start recording by the end of the month.

"Hopefully you can see a single at the end of May or early June and off we go. I'm trying to catch her," he said, pointing to his wife.