Listen to Jessica Simpson's In This Skin, and you will hear many things: Love. Romance. Sexuality. Sweetness. Maturity. Peace of Mind. Yet chief among the things you will hear is the sound of a woman becoming her own person and staying true to her heart.
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Cowritten by Jessica -- with contributions from Fran Gold, Damon Elliott and Trina Harmon, and production by Ric Wake and Rob Fusari, In This Skin shines a light on a side of Jessica that she's never had the opportunity to let free. "I've been searching my soul for things I wanted to sing about and things I wanted to say and so I came up with this record, "Jessica explains. "When people listen to this record it will make them happy."
That's because the songs on In This Skin reflect the happiness and growth that Jessica has been experiencing. Now married to long time beau Nick Lachey (of 98 Degrees) and firmly in control of her life and creative output, Jessica has reached deep inside to come up with an album that may well be most personal of her career. In This Skin might be Jessica's third collection but, in terms of emotional honesty and stylistic range, it is, in a real sense, the first album that's truly her own. That's because In This Skin marks Jessica's debut as a songwriter and her lyrical and musical influences fuel the album's thematic journeys. "I've wanted artistic control for a long time but in the past I wasn't able to get it," she confesses. "Being in charge of your creative destiny is beautiful for any artist, especially someone like me who wants to sing about positive things and to inspire others. This time I really wanted to make an album that was real and organic and that you could listen to all the way through and maybe be inspired to fall in love or follow your dreams. "
That sense of liberation is abundant on the album's first single "Sweetest Sin." Written by hit maker Diane Warren and produced by Ric Wake, "Sweetest Sin" is unabashedly carnal and, as Jessica notes, a marked change from the giddy teen pop that launched her career. "I'm not dancing around this time," she laughs. "I'm not wearing that head set mic ever again in my life!"
A celebration of love, her marriage, and making love, "Sweetest Sin" signals a new artistic direction for Jessica. "You'll definitely know I'm a woman after hearing this song," she offers. "It's a deeply sensual song but it's also romantic and recording it was one of the most natural things I've done. It's so great to be able to sing about things you're going through because it makes you relate even more to the music which makes that music beautiful."
In This Skin is filled with both beauty and love, with lyrics drawn from personal experiences and journal entries to create an album resonating with a captivating reality. Just listen to the bittersweet ballad "You Don't Have To Let Go." "I wrote that song for my dad," Jessica says. "It was so hard for him to walk me down the aisle and for him to handle the idea that I was getting married and, in his eyes, leaving. So I wrote this song for him about our relationship and all that he sacrificed for me."
"Underneath," an emotional ode to the ups and downs of romantic love, was penned during a turbulent period in Nick and Jessica's relationship when the pair embarked an ill-fated separation. Jessica cites the love and support of her fans as the motivation behind the album's title track's message of determination. Set to a gentle acoustic-laced groove "In This Skin" is, according to Jessica, about "...being comfortable in your own skin, being worthy and feeling beautiful. I wrote in the liner notes that this is for all the fans. I want them to listen to the song and let the lyrics serve as an inspiration."
Inspiration and spirit have always been crucial to Jessica. From the beginning of her career she has aimed to be more than just some cutie pie teen star: she's always invested her songs with positive outlooks and lived her life in a manner that stays true to her beliefs.
Jessica Simpson first made her mark in the world of contemporary Christian music. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Jessica was sharing bills with gospel great Kirk Franklin and Ce Ce Winans while still in junior high. Word of the then-teen's phenomenal voice and stage presence soon filtered out of the Christian circuit and, in the late 90's, Jessica signed with Columbia Records. Sweet Kisses, her major label debut, was released in 1999 and spawned the smash singles "I Wanna Love You Forever," "I Think I'm In Love," and "Where You Are." Following the release of her debut, Jessica hit the road, wowing audiences worldwide with her soaring emotion-packed vocals and high-energy stage presence. "It was an amazing time for me," Jessica recalls. "I was 17 and seeing the world, doing what I loved and doing it in a way that felt right."
The title track to Irresistible, her 2001 follow-up, was a crossover smash, charting on the Hot 100 (#15), the Rhythmic Top 40 (#12), Top 40 Mainstream (#3) and Top 40 Tracks (#5).
Since the release of Irresistible, Jessica's been working on her acting résumé. In addition to her recurring role on "That 70's Show," Jessica can be seen in an episode of UPN's "The Twilight Zone." Meanwhile, Jessica and new husband Nick Lachey will share their lives with fans in an upcoming reality TV series on MTV.
But music remained one of Jessica's truest loves and, when it came time to make In This Skin, she was ready for this vital next stage in her career. "I knew the sort of songs I wanted to sing and write," she says. "Songs that are uplifting and real."
With her new album, Jessica Simpson comes into her own as a woman and refines her ever-evolving voice as an artist. Collaborating with a crop of up-and-coming writers and producers, Jessica has created an album that sounds fresh and rings absolutely true. Her message? "It's about love and confidence and loving where I am in my life."
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