NEW YORK — Ashlee Simpson is a survivor — at least, that's why she was honored Tuesday (November 13) at CosmoGirl!'s Born to Lead Awards, held at the magazine's headquarters. "I will survive!" she sang in jest as she worked her way through the room, trying to stay a few steps behind Fall Out Boy, who were also being honored for humanitarian work with the Invisible Children organization.
"It's pretty nice to get to be here, but there's a little separation right here," she said, motioning to the space between her and boyfriend Pete Wentz. Meaning, today was their day to raise awareness for the children of war-torn Uganda, and she wasn't going to try to overshadow that coverage.
Besides, Ashlee had a different message to spread, and it was about "believing in yourself," even when others don't. "I've gone through my highs and lows," she said. "Everyone is human, and we all have our mess-ups. I've had quite a few." Which is why CosmoGirl! thought Simpson set a good example for teen girls, because despite all the blows the singer had taken for public "mess-ups," she'd only became more determined than ever, taking the stage on tour and in the London production of "Chicago" to prove her critics wrong. And now she's moving on, having finished her third album, which she's readying for release for next year.
"Right now, the record's done," Simpson told MTV News, "but I'm one [of those types where] I like to continue to write, write, write. [The album is slated for release] in March, and the single is in January."
The first single, for which she's shooting the video in December, is the Timbaland-produced "Out of My Head (Ay Ya Ya)." It's a song that her father Joe previously joked was about Ashlee's mom, Tina, though Ashlee explained it was about everyone in her life. "It's about too many voices, too many people having their own opinion," she said, "so it's not necessarily about my mom. I love my mom — there's no sides here — and my dad gets to hear me say all the sweetest things about him. It's mainly a fun, dancey song. I think it's got a little bit of an '80s feel to it, too — you'll hear that in it. But at the same time, it's Timbaland."
It's also very Ashlee, and not so much of her "Vicky Valentine" alter-ego as she thought might end up on the tracks (see "Ashlee Simpson's Bad-Girl Alter Ego Rules New Timbaland-Produced Album"). "The whole Vicky Valentine thing got a little blown out of proportion," she said. "Vicky was a joke for us making the record, and it's all lighthearted and all in good fun. It's me at the end of the day. We've all got different sides to us."
And so accordingly, there are a lot of different sides to Ashlee musically on the yet-untitled album, though some songs that she worked on with Beth Hart and John Legend may be shelved for a later release. Some of the songs that might make the cut draw from her theater experience in "Chicago" ("Follow You Wherever You Go"), while others are more attitude songs ("Rulebreaker," "Ragdoll"). Some express more through rap ("Murder"), and others through vulnerability.
"There's ballads, there's an emotional progression," she said, "because you never know what kind of emotion you're going to be going through. It's definitely a quirky record."