It wasn't to be a global pop star and heartthrob. Or date models and celebrities, perform on Broadway and act on television.

All that has happened to the Gold Coast-born Simpson. But his dream was to swim for Australia - just like his parents.

Simpson's mother, Angie, raced for Australia at the 1987 Pan Pacific Games. His father, Brad, swam for Australia at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.

Simpson himself won two gold medals at the 2009 Queensland swimming championships. But that same year, Simpson -

who as a seven-year-old asked for guitar lessons after watching his dad strum and sing at backyard barbecues - uploaded some songs to YouTube.

They came to the attention of a Grammy-nominated record producer in the United States, Shawn Campbell.

Simpson was signed by Campbell's Atlantic Records and the-then 13-year-old and his family relocated to Los Angeles in 2010.

As he now puts it, his swimming dream was "sidetracked". In 2011, Justin Bieber's manager lured Simpson as a client: the Austra

lian teen toured around the US with pop icon Bieber, made it onto the Billboard charts, released EPs to acclaim.