LOS ANGELES — Hilary Duff has a message for anyone who thinks they know her: You don't.
The 17-year-old teen queen, who's used to dealing with the pressures of the glaringly hot media spotlight, is breaking loose in the video for her new single, "Wake Up," unveiling some new looks and a more mature pop-techno sound.
The opening shot zeroes in on the singer as an alarm clock jars the slumbering starlet from her sleep in the middle of a prime-for-partying Saturday night. "There's people talking/ They talk about me/ They know my name/ They think they know everything/ But they don't know anything about me," Duff croons as she slaps on some makeup and a few designer duds, then loads into a limo filled with girlfriends, ready to dance her worries away at hot spots around the globe.
"This song makes you want to forget about all the pressure of dealing with your boss, or your teacher, or your mom, or [whoever]. It's about getting out and not forgetting to have some fun," Duff said backstage at the recent kickoff of her Still Most Wanted Tour in Los Angeles (see "Hilary Duff Launches Tour Amid Sea Of Glow Sticks, In (Gasp!) Only One Outfit").
"The video moves really quickly and has all [these] quick pops. It shows me in Tokyo, London, Paris, New York, and it goes through all these different looks, [one] in each city, and it just shows that no matter where you are, people want [to do] the same things: they dance and they party."
Duff said she especially enjoyed working under the direction of Marc Webb (the Used, My Chemical Romance). "I'm a huge fan of [the bands he's worked with], so I was really excited that he would direct my video. The [style] looks kind of grainy and it's a totally different look for me," she said.
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The perky pop singer sports a series of different 'dos in the clip, including long, dirty blond locks (à la boho chic) and a jet-black bob for her Tokyo stint, which Duff admits has inspired her to go dark. "For the Japanese look, my hair was really short and black and I loved it. I was thinking maybe not black, but I might dye my hair dark brown or something after the tour, but I might wear a wig for a couple days to make sure I like it."
Her evolution from squeaky-clean pop princess to budding rock chick might have been fueled by the talents of the Dead Executives, which includes Good Charlotte's Benji and Joel Madden, who produced her upcoming best-of album's three new tracks (see "Cheaper By The Duo? Hilary Duff Teams Up With Madden Brothers For New LP").
"I actually didn't tell anyone from my label that I was recording with them," she revealed. "They knew I needed some new songs and wanted a totally different sound, so they went into the studio and did some stuff and then Joel brought it to me and said, 'You gotta check this out. You'll like it.' "
Working with good friends helped the singer break new ground with her music, she said. "Being in the studio with people you're close with makes a world of difference when you're recording and being creative."
So should the fans expect a collaboration between the two artists anytime soon? "Um, I don't know," she said, pausing. "I love their music, but I don't think so."