Photo provided by Lisa DiAngelo of Interscope Records
Carly Rae Jepsen called me! She didn’t call me maybe; she called me definitely! I promise that’s the last time I’ll make a “Call Me Maybe” joke (fingers crossed).
If you don’t know who this 26-year-old Canadian poptart is yet, you probably have at least heard her insanely catchy hit single “Call Me Maybe.” Thanks to a sizable push by fellow Canadian and pop sensation Justin Bieber, the song has exploded in popularity. It peaked at number three on iTunes’ singles chart, one on the Canadian Hot 100 and 24 on The Billboard Top 100.
Signing with Schoolboy Records, the label run by Bieber manager Scooter Braun, gave Jepsen the media resources and marketing to push her into the mainstream. But something tells me she could’ve done that with or without having a video that featured the likes of the Biebs, Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale (that currently has 24,505,654 YouTube views). Like I said before: that song is just so damn catchy.
Hey I just met you, and this is crazy…
Luckily for me, Jepsen has a sense of humor. I was fully expecting her to hang up after my first “Call Me Maybe” joke, but she just giggled and said it was “cute.”
“I’ve heard quite a lot of them,” she said when the laughter (probably more at me than with me) subsided. “Even from my friends and tour mates. It’s still hilarious.”
As long as Jepsen finds the bad puns funny, they’re funny. Though she still can’t believe her simple “folk-pop” song about “love and all the complications that go with that” is big enough to attract the flood of terrible jokes.
“That song is a bit of a mystery to me,” she admitted. “It started as a folk song and [lead singer of Canadian pop rock band] Josh Ramsay told us to poppify it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history. The song and the rest of Curiosity (her second album, which features “Call Me Maybe” as its lead single) has been influenced by, among others, Joni Mitchell, La Roux, Robyn, and Annie Lennox.
Though, as Jepsen put it: “The exciting thing about what I’m trying to do is that no one’s done it yet.”
Pop Star University
Jepsen is one of a rare group of pop stars with a college education. She attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, British Columbia, which, to hear her describe it, sounds like the perfect place for an art geek like her.
“The school itself is kind of like the school in Fame,” said Jepsen. “It had all the things I love like tap dancing and ballet and music and film.”
Besides being a “pure joy,” her college experience also helped shape her career path. Jepsen went into school with dreams of performing on Broadway, but came out wanting to write songs.
“[College] was really beneficial because it gave me a chance to spread my wings,” she said. “It had a big influence on the type of music I write.”
Another thing college did for Jepsen: give her a greater appreciation of travel and experiencing new places.
“It’s important to travel because of how new places can make you realize things about yourself,” she said.
Solid words of wisdom. Does she have any more advice for aspiring college singers/songwriters?
“Knock on every door that you can,” said Jepsen. “It’s really hard to know what’s going to work. Don’t be ashamed to try different ways to get noticed.”
Who knew there was a Canadian Idol? Jepsen obviously did, because she finished third on the show’s fifth season in the summer of 2007. Unlike American Idol and most American competition shows, Canadian Idol promoted unity among its contestants.
“We got to live in a huge mansion together,” said Jepsen. “Which was rad in a way because we got to have an interesting dynamic.”
Best part: it was across the street from Prince’s mansion. Did she ever meet the famed purple one?
“Can you imagine?” Jepsen laughed. “I probably would’ve made a fool of myself serenading him with his songs.” She followed this up by singing the title words to “Purple Rain,” conjuring images of what was sure to be an adorable meeting. If only.
But I digress. When Jepsen summed up her time on Canadian Idol, I immediately realized what it was about this girl that made her so relatable.
“It kind of reminds me of The Hunger Games except I didn’t have to kill people,” she quipped.
She’s a Hunger Games fan! More than that, she’s just a normal 26-year-old girl that happens to be a Canadian pop star, like Robin Sparkles minus the sexual innuendo. Anyway: having just finished Mockingjay and aching in anticipation for the first movie, the second I heard her say that I had to know: Team Peeta or Gale?
“I’ve been having a mini literature crush on Peeta,” she said. I could picture her blushing over the phone.
Branching Out From Bieber
Ignoring the fact I was Team Gale until the very last pages of Mockingjay, with Jepsen’s inherent likability, it’s no wonder Bieber was immediately taken by her and her music.
“He heard ‘Call Me Maybe’ on the radio, liked it and started Tweeting about it,” Jepsen explained. “He said it made him so happy.”
Aww. Clearly Bieber has an eye for talent. Or he’s trying to amass an army of Canadian pop stars to take over America. What aboot that, eh?
“There’s something sweet about the fact he’s helping out a fellow Canadian,” said Jepsen. “I don’t know if it goes any farther than that.”
Fair enough. Either way, collaborating with him has given Jepsen the career boost she needed for an American invasion. She’s still can’t believe how rapid her rise to fame has been.
“I pinch myself everyday,” she confessed. “It’s kind of like Alice In Wonderland. This can’t be real life.”
Even more surreal: she’ll be performing on The Ellen Degeneres Show on Friday before heading out on tour. She doesn’t have to worry about only maybe getting called from now on; her phones are going to be ringing off the hook for a long time.
“I love it so far,” said Jepsen. “Scooter’s always like, ‘You just wait.’ I feel like I’m living more because there’s less time to sneak everything in.”
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