MUSIC

Former child actor Hilary Duff back with new album and show

Five years after getting married at 22 and quitting showbiz, singer-actress best known for her role in US teen sitcom Lizzie McGuire is divorced and itching to get some new songs out there

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 6:16am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 July, 2015, 6:16am
NYT

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Hilary Duff - the child actor-turned-singer best known for her role in US teen sitcom Lizzie McGuire - returned last month with her first new album in seven years, titled Breathe In. Breathe Out.

It's a comeback of sorts, having quit showbiz after she married former NHL player Mike Comrie in 2010 when she was just 22 and gave birth to son, Luca, two years later. Whether she is able to attain the kind of success she had during her Disney Channel days is yet to be seen.

When her marriage to Comrie ended earlier this year with a formal divorce, Duff suddenly found herself awake at night, scribbling in her journal, itching to write new music.

WATCH Hilary Duff sing the title track from her new album

When she started working on the album two years ago, she was without a label. But she reached out to songwriters she'd collaborated with previously (Toby Gad, Kara DioGuardi) and got herself a role in Younger, a new comedy-drama series that films in New York. As she began dividing her time between coasts, she wondered whether she was prepared to return to the balancing act of her teenage years.

"Trying to penetrate the music world takes all your time - you have to hit every radio station, or they won't play your single, unless you're, like, Taylor Swift," she says of getting back into the game. "That was when I realised that I really care about being an actress, a singer and having a life outside of both. So maybe that means … I'm not going to be able to fight for being the biggest artist."

Her new music is also much more mature than, say, 2003's hit single So Yesterday. At least half of the 14 tracks on the new album - three of which were co-written by Tove Lo, one by Ed Sheeran - sound as if they're about Comrie. Especially the title track, about a relationship gone sour.

It takes being mature to say, 'Hey, guess what? I rock
Hilary Duff

"I'm sure it was hard for him to listen to some things I'm sharing about him," she says. "But that's my job. I'm an artist."

Early reception to Duff's first single, Sparks, has been mixed; its music video, which featured Duff going on real Tinder dates, met such strong internet vitriol when released that she soon put out a separate cut without the date footage. She plans to support the album with a tour in January, after the second season of Younger wraps, playing what she calls more intimate venues.

But if the record doesn't go over well, she's open to pursuing other avenues. "I'm really proud of the person I am," she says. "Everyone's like, 'Wow, you're so normal'. But it's true. And it takes being mature to say, 'Hey, guess what? I rock.'"

Tribune News Service