Recently I played a game with a few of my friends. It’s a game I have played several times with others in the past. I choose a song that was a major hit by an artist I doubt the group knows. However, the song usually is one that everyone can readily identify. I played a few seconds of the chorus and all in the group knew the song right away. Then I asked, “Who is the singer?” No one knew. The song I chose was “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, the featured artist for this week.
Most likely all of you reading this post are familiar with the song. Released in 2011, “Call Me Maybe” reached number one in 18 countries during 2012 and was the year’s best-selling single worldwide. In January 2012, fellow Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber tweeted about the song to his millions of Twitter followers, and the following month the song was featured in a viral video in which Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale lip-synced and danced to the track.”Call Me Maybe” has been covered by several artists, including Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Cosgrove, Reel Big Fish, Dan Deacon, Fun, Big Time Rush, R5, Lil Wayne, The Chipettes, Enter Shikari, Ben Howard, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Cody Simpson, and The Saturdays, and parodied by Cookie Monster and some of the news staff of National Public Radio. Carly Rae Jepsen had done what every artist would love to do; record a song that became an international smash hit! Perhaps the hit song also brought about an unwanted issue; the song became more well-known than the artist. That could be the recipe for a one hit wonder, but Carly Rae Jepsen has continued to make music and draw new fans. Allow me to provide more information about the young singer/songwriter.
Carly Rae Jepsen was born on November 21, 1985 in Mission, British Columbia. She attended Heritage Park Secondary School in Mission, where she pursued her early passion for musical theatre by appearing in student productions of Annie, Grease, and The Wiz. She studied musical theatre at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, British Columbia and took barista, bartender and other minimum wage work after graduation. Jepsen honed her songwriting skills with a guitar her parents gave her and, in 2007, decided to pursue her burgeoning interest in music by auditioning for the fifth season of the reality television competition Canadian Idol. She placed third in the show and was part of the Canadian Idol Top 3 concert tour. After the conclusion of the tour, Jepsen returned to British Columbia to focus on writing, recording and completing her band. Her demo recording attracted the attention of music manager Jonathan Simkin, who signed Jepsen to a management deal. Jepsen struck an independent record deal with MapleMusic Recordings and distribution via Fontana North. To further her music career, she subsequently relocated to Vancouver. Jepsen’s debut album, Tug of War, was released in September 2008 through MapleCore/Fontana North, and was re-released via Jonathan Simkin’s label 604 Records, with distribution from Universal Music Group.
Carly started work on her second album in 2011 and released the hit “Call Me Maybe” September 2011. The release of Jepsen’s second album was postponed to allow “Call Me Maybe” to spread in popularity, although 604 Records issued a six-track EP, Curiosity, in February 2012 in Canada. Jepsen’s second album, Kiss, finally was released in September 2012 and reached top ten chart positions in Australia, the UK, and the US. At this time Carly Rae Jepsen’s music caught the attention of the music industry. Jepsen received the Rising Star Award at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards. At the 2013 Juno Awards, Kiss won the awards for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year and “Call Me Maybe” won in the Single of the Year category. The single received nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
Jepsen’s third album was tentatively due for an early 2014 release, but she stated that she would not rush the album, instead taking her time to make sure it was of quality. “The one intention I had going into making this album was to take my time and create something I was really proud of—something that showed sides of me that I hadn’t ever revealed in my music before,” Jepsen says. The album, titled Emotion, was released in June 2015 and received positive reviews; the album appeared on many publications’ year-end albums lists for 2015. Emotion peaked at number eight in Canada and at number 16 on the US Billboard 200.
Some music fans may still think of Carly Rae Jepsen as a one hit wonder. However, Jepsen’s Saturday Night Live appearance last year well demonstrated that her third album was the signal that she had more than one hit left in her tank. Carly has continued to produce music and her fan base is growing. There were many more performances that recently served notice that Jepsen now was a true pop music star. Jepsen embarked on the Gimmie Love Tour in support of Emotion, playing dates along the east coast of the United States as well as Japan in November 2015. She played Frenchy in Grease Live, Fox’s live television presentation of the musical Grease on January 31, 2016. She also recorded the theme song to the Netflix series Fuller House, a reboot of the sitcom Full House which premiered in February 2016.
What might be next for the thirty year old singer? Most likely more personal music. In speaking about her current album Emotion, “A lot of the album’s about me trying to get some power back,” Jepsen says. “I’d recently broken up with someone and moved to New York, so it was a scary new world for me—but at the same time I felt like I was coming into my own.” “At a photo shoot one day I was looking at the definition of ‘emotion,’” she recalls, “and I loved the example that went along with it: ‘She was attempting to control her emotions.’ In some ways that’s exactly what I was doing with all these songs.”
Take a moment and listen to Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Emotion. You will hear a great collection of songs, and also learn a little more about one of today’s young singers. You may even get clues about what she will do next. More emotional music I guess.