From teen pop confections to beachside bonfires, Australian singer Cody Simpson specializes in feel-good tunes that evolved from beat-driven dance pop to mature, guitar-based ditties within the span of a decade. On his Bieber-esque 2010 debut, 4 U, Simpson broke into the mainstream consciousness, buoyed by the hit “iYiYi.” Following the Top Ten, gold-certified Surfer’s Paradise, Simpson captured his homeland’s sun-drenched spirit with the bright acoustic pop of 2015’s Free and 2017’s Wave One, which combined the vibes of Jack Johnson and Ed Sheeran.
Coast to Coast EP
In 2008, 11-year-old Cody Simpson opened a YouTube account and began posting videos of his own musical performances. Accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar, the Australian preteen sang songs by other artists — namely pop stars like Jason Mraz and Justin Timberlake — while also giving some air time to his original tunes. Producer Shawn Campbell stumbled across his YouTube page one year later and invited Simpson to the U.S., jump-starting a series of songwriting collaborations and studio sessions that resulted in a 2010 deal with Atlantic Records. His debut single, “iYiYi,” was released later that year and cracked the Top 20 in Australia, thanks in no small part to a cameo by Flo Rida. Two versions of the song were later featured on 4 U, Simpson’s debut EP, which appeared in December 2010. Simpson kept himself busy with a variety of projects in 2011, releasing the single “On My Mind” that May, then launching a brief tour of the United States, all designed as promotion for his EP Coast to Coast; he also appeared on Australian television with some regularity. Simpson finally released his full-length debut, Paradise, in October 2012; it was preceded by the aptly named summer EP Preview to Paradise. Paradise did well in Australia, where it peaked at number two, and in Canada, where it went all the way to number one; the album performed respectably in the U.S., peaking at number 27.
Simpson quickly followed Paradise with the breezy, sun-kissed Surfer’s Paradise album in July of 2013. The sophomore set was certified gold in the U.S. and peaked at number ten, Simpson’s highest placement to date. In 2015, he delivered his third studio album, the Cisco Adler-produced Free. The album showcased yet more laid-back, reggae-infused vibes and featured collaborations with Donavon Frankenreiter and G. Love.
By 2017, Simpson’s evolution toward acoustic-based, guitar-pop jams continued. Recruiting a backing band (drummer Adrian Cota and bassist Shareef “Reef” Addo), he created Cody Simpson & the Tide, issuing the unplugged holiday single “White Christmas” late that year. Along with the Tide, he continued with the five-track Wave One EP, his first for Entertainment One Music. He followed in 2018 with the singles “Pirates Dream” and “Underwater.”