NEW YORK — Jessica Simpson's summer tour is focused on music, but the thing that made her a superstar will definitely be represented.
A giant television will be behind her as she sings, and outtakes from "Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica," the hit MTV reality show that has chronicled her marriage to singing hubby Nick Lachey, will play in the background. Previously unseen clips from their successful ABC variety special will also be shown, and a few lucky fans will get a chance to interview Simpson on stage. (The show comes to the USANA Amphitheater in West Valley City on July 23.)
But the 23-year-old Simpson believes that when the tour is over, the attention will again center on her music. She'll be singing her old favorites as well as new hits from her latest album, "In This Skin," which is nearing 2 million copies sold.
AP:You're infusing your TV career into the tour. Why?
Simpson: It's a different kind of tour, it's not really something that people have really done because there's a lot of personality involved. It's not just about me being a musician. I want my personality to shine through everything, because it's really what has given me the opportunity to have the success that I have now.
AP:Is this going to be a flashy show?
Simpson: Yeah, you'll see a lot of great clothes. There's no dancing. I mean, I'll be shaking my booty a little bit, but no, there's no choreography, no dancers, because I had that before, and personally, I'll let other people, like Madonna, and Janet Jackson and Britney (Spears) and Christina (Aguilera) and all those girls, they can do that. I want to do something different. I want it to be more about my voice and being able to pull off the vocals that are very hard in my songs, and just really kind of sing my butt off.
AP:Your first tour was in mall parking lots — what was that like?
Simpson: The Dream Chaser tour was my first tour where I actually had opening acts. That was a fun tour. That was like a preparation for me. It was one of those things where I just wanted to go out and meet all my fans. Even if my music wasn't as successful as it is right now, I didn't care how many tickets I sold, I just wanted to go out and have the experience so one day I could actually pull off a big production like I'm about to have.
AP:Is there any part of touring that's annoying to you?
Simpson: No. I'm so excited about being on tour because it's actually a set schedule and you fall into a routine, and my life is so far from routine that it's nice for those nine weeks that I'm doing the same thing every day. It's just in a different city, but I'll have days off to chill out, work out.
AP:What's the one diva thing that you demand backstage?
Simpson:I'm picky about my water. I like Fiji water and I normally do not like Evian, so the only diva thing that I pull is no Evian.
AP:Are there any songs that you're tired of singing?
Simpson: Well, the hardest song for me to sing is 'I Want to Love You Forever,' which was my first single actually when I was 19 years old, and it is the hardest song to sing live because it's so high, so I always pray that I pull it off every night. I have to do it at the end of the show so I don't blow my voice out.
AP:Will Nick be joining you on tour?
Simpson: Yeah, he'll go every now and then. He's busy too, he's about to go to a new record label and do a new album. . . . (but) I'll get to see him at least every 10 days.
AP:Are you glad to be taking a break from "Newlyweds"?
Simpson: I cannot wait to go on tour and not have cameras follow every single move that I make! It gets hard. It would get hard for anybody, because you always know that somebody's watching you.
AP:Is there any performer that inspired you when you grew up?
Simpson: I've always loved Sade. I think Sade, she's just an amazing performer. Nick has been to, like, 10 of her shows. He's got a little bit of an obsession with Sade (laughs). She's just the kind of person who can stand on stage and not have to do any choreography or anything, just raise her hand at a certain point of the song . . . and it's so captivating.
AP:What does Jessica Simpson pack for a tour?
Simpson: That's a good, good question, because I can't take my whole closet, because if I packed my whole closet I'd have, like, 25 suitcases. So I don't know yet. I'm making a Target run today to stock up on all the goodies!