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Ashley Simpson, Evan Ross aim to be new dynamic duo
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Singers, actors and reality stars are just a few ways to describe celebrity couple Ashlee Simpson and Evan Ross.

Many may know Simpson as the younger sister of Jessica Simpson who began acting on the TV show 7th Heaven. She spun off from Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica to The Ashlee Simpson Show on reality television. As a singer, she released "Pieces of Me" to big success and followed that with other albums. She began dating Ross in 2013 and married a year later. They had a daughter together named Jagger Snow Ross a year after that.

Ross made his acting debut on the dramatic film ATL, then went on to fight in the first two parts of The Hunger Games. He currently has a major role on Fox series Star as Angel Rivera. In real life, he's the son of Arne Næss Jr. and superstar singer Diana Ross. He has one full brother and three older half-sisters, including actress Tracee Ellis Ross, who co-stars on the TV series black-ish.

Now the young couple have come together as a singing duo, with Ashlee+Evan releasing an album of that name. The six track EP was produced by Verdin White ( of Earth Wind & Fire ) and were featured on their E! docu-series, Ashlee+Evan.

Windy City Times: I'm glad we got to talk before the holidays.

Ashlee Simpson: It's getting wild. We are in the middle of Christmas shopping and rehearsing.

Evan Ross: We start the tour on Jan. 7 and are with you guys on Jan. 12.

WCT: Have you spent much time in Chicago?

AS: I have and you have too, Evan.

ER: We love Chicago. I have a lot of friends that are excited that we are coming out that way.

WCT: Do you ride in a tour bus or stay in hotels?

ER: Right now we are looking at a tour bus and hotels. For Chicago, we are staying at a hotel.

AS: I love a tour bus though. It puts me right to sleep!

WCT: What was the concept behind making the EP?

ER: We have been making music together for a long time. I have been working a lot and we have been all over the place. In the process of that we stopped making music. Ashlee got pregnant and had a baby. We finally got to make this album and wanted to make something special that we could share with the world. It is about love and the conversation of love. Right, babe?

AS: Yeah, and for us it was a chance to work together and have that space together. I think that was inspiring for us. Although we have our solo things, getting to do something together was a very powerful thing for us.

WCT: I heard elements of different genres of music in it.

ER: Oh yeah. We got pop, R&B, funk and hip-hop.

AS: That was fun, getting inspirations from each other and putting that together. By not putting a certain genre on our music we explored each other's sounds.

WCT: Was the song "Paris" inspired by the place?

ER: That was a trip we were on when we first were engaged and I was shooting Hunger Games there. It was the most amazing trip ever. She was looking for a wedding dress there at the same time. When we were in the studio and coming up with the production it felt like the vibe we had in Paris.

AS: When we perform that song live it is one of our favorites. It just feels good.

WCT: How did it work to make the album and also be on a reality show at the same time?

ER: The whole point of that show was to document the process of making the album. It was to see where we were at during that time.

AS: We wanted to show something positive and our love along with the process of going through that. We were happy with it.

WCT: How does having kids work with touring?

AS: We are not on tour too long so it will work out. We are going to bring them to certain shows so that will be fun.

ER: I grew up on tour a lot and it was a great experience. For the time period we are doing it is not the longest. I think they will have fun doing it. We might start the tour a few days without them then have them come in.

WCT: Ashlee, are you singing "Pieces of Me?"

AS: I am. I will have a moment of old-school songs. So every night I will do three of them!

WCT: Evan, what did you learn from being in the movie Life Support, playing a gay man struggling with AIDS?

ER: Life Support was one of my favorite projects I ever worked on. Nelson George directed and wrote that project. It is actually the story about his sister who had HIV. I learned so much from that and it was so important. I was so proud to be a part of it and the message behind it.

AS: It was amazing.

WCT: I heard you went to the gay bar The Abbey in LA with your mother, Diana Ross.

ER: What is so funny is that my mom doesn't go out like that. She just called me up and asked me to go to the club with her. When I found out it was The Abbey, I knew she would have a good time. She danced all night and I had to tell her it was time to go.

WCT: Ashlee has some gay fans, too.

AS: They are my faves!

WCT: We need to get the gay crowd to the concert.

AS: Yaaas, queen!

ER: We can't wait.

WCT: Do you want to perform in more musicals, Ashlee, like in the musical Chicago?

AS: That was amazing. I did Chicago a lot. I did it at the West End when I was 22. I did it in New York when I was 25 and then here at the Hollywood Bowl. It came into my life at different times. I love Bob Fosse and everything about that dancing.

I would love to do theater again. It is eight shows a week though. It is a grueling schedule, but so worth it. I will definitely do it again in my life.

WCT: Have you two ever thought of doing a variety show, like Sonny & Cher?

AS: That would be so fun.

ER: That's a great idea.

WCT: You could bring in family members, perform skits and sing "I Got You Babe."

AS: There you go!

WCT: Any resolutions for the new year?

AS: I want to make a new album and tour more. I want to get pregnant at some point—maybe the end of the year.

ER: I want to focus on the clothing line. I need to dive into what I want to do personally for myself. I want to make one resolution that I am going to stick through this year.

WCT: What is the clothing line?

ER: Ashlee and I have both worked on it. It is unisex and unique. I have been trying to create it for a while. It just hasn't been the right time.

AS: This could be it!

WCT: What have you both learned about growing up in the spotlight that you can bring to your kids?

ER: I was very lucky that my mom told me I could do anything I want and to dream big, to do what you love first and don't do it for money. That is a real thing.

AS: My parents were great and we are all still the same. They kept a good head on our shoulders. No matter what you do in life focusing on that is always important.

WCT: Anything else you want to say about the tour?

AS: We are excited.

ER: We can't wait. Maybe we will do something fun and go out after. At the show people will get to have a special moment with us that will be intimate.

Ashlee Simpson + Evan Ross hit Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave., on Satuday, Jan. 12. Look for tickets or .

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