Australian pop star Cody Simpson is heading here not only to support good mate Justin Bieber but to be a guest presenter at next month's Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. The 16-year-old Gold Coast-born, Los Angeles-based singer is making waves in the United States where he is now managed by Bieber's head minder, Scooter Braun.
Q: How did you and Justin Bieber meet?
Scooter introduced me to him a couple of years ago. I was looking for a manager and I had a bunch of meetings with Scooter and one time he asked me to come by one of his [Bieber's] video shoots and we hung out for a while. And then after that Justin had written a song [Beach Bodies] and we got together in the studio to do that, and then he asked me to come out on his tour.
Q: I asked Justin Bieber this question too, but don't you ever get sick of the screaming girls?
Um, no. I think it's important to never look at it in a way where it's annoying, and look at it like how happy you can make these fans.
Q: You're living in Hollywood but do you get homesick for Surfers Paradise?
All the time. Every day I miss the Gold Coast, I miss my friends, and I have a house in Los Angeles but it's not the same as home. I make it back home as much as I can but I'm excited about these shows [in Australia and New Zealand]. But my family are all here and we get to experience a lot of cool things together and they're along for the ride.
Q: You have a style that is very singer-songwriter but then the songs branch out into a mix of pop, hip-hop and dance.
As a young artist I think it's important to show your diversity. But as I grow up more I think now I can start to narrow down my own music and I think [second album] Surfers Paradise is my first step towards that.
Q: So how have you grown as an artist since the 4U EP, when you were only 13 years old, to Surfers Paradise?
I've learned so much, especially in the last two years with all the experiences I've had. But it was tough for me being thrown into such a crazy industry at such a young age, and not knowing what path I wanted to take and what direction I wanted to go in. I was just doing what others were telling me to do and who to be and all this stuff, and putting music out but it wasn't really true to what I was. But now, I've fallen on my feet, and with Surfers Paradise it's one of the very first times where I know it's me, right from the start, and I understand who I am.
Q: What is your earliest musical memory?
I was six years old and my dad had a lot of musical friends who would come round and jam. My parents bought me a guitar and I started playing songs from a really young age. And I've played ever since, but I never took it too seriously because I swam a lot [he was age group champ]. Music was just a hobby.
Q: Until you released 4U in 2010 that is. So why do you think you managed to break through when so many musicians don't?
You just have to have the motivation to work hard enough to actually make it through. I've always made sure I was the hardest working at whatever it was that I did and I feel like a lot of people aren't prepared for what it takes. So I just did everything I could to make it happen, and I'm always thinking about trying my best to make better music. But I've still got so far to go.