Jepsen’s winsome voice and willingness (or perhaps need?) to leave her whole self in her lyrics, combined with her ear for killer hooks, have made her one of the standard-bearers of the genre.
carly rae jepsen agent – Carly Rae Jepsen Popularity & Fame
Tuesday night’s Carly Rae Jepsen show at House of Blues was an experience at pop church, with the sweaty masses singing back every word trilled by the Canadian singer with fervency and joy. Jepsen spent her formative years absorbing pop culture in her hometown of Mission, British Columbia. She starred in productions of Annie, Grease and The Wiz at her high school and became one of 25 female students to be admitted to the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, British Columbia. After graduation, Jepsen – who had relocated to Vancouver and worked as a barista and pastry chef assistant at a coffeehouse where she performed at open mic nights – was persuaded by her drama teacher to audition for Canadian Idol. Jepsen competed in the fifth season of Canadian Idol in 2007, ultimately winning third place and performing in the show’s nationwide tour.
Jepsen hasn’t recaptured the mainstream success she so richly deserves. But the great thing about niche success is loyalty. This was a much bigger crowd, mostly gay men, than her 2016 show at the same venue. They knew every lyric. They responded to every song. They loved her wholly and unconditionally.
The way Carly Rae Jepsen dances explains it all, like a metaphor with light choreography. The Canadian singer, 33, bops to her own effervescent hooks with a youthful verve simultaneously brimming with aunt-at-a-wedding energy. Jepsen conjures both the first blush of love and the battle scars of several blushes hence. Her lyrics about late-night bike theft and finding lips in the streetlights graze specificity on their way to pop abstraction.
Jepsen’s material mines an assortment of sounds, from early Madonna to ABBA to Kylie Minogue. But nothing ever feels like a copycat. The ’80s wail of “No Drug Like Me” gave way to the gorgeous “Emotion,” the best song Madonna never recorded. There were opposing sides of pop exuberance during “Now That I Found You” (fizzy” and “Gimmie Love” (hazy).
Jepsen’s 2012 record Kiss” features her two biggest hits: Call Me Maybe” and the sleek pop duet Good Time” with Owl City. Both of those songs slap so ridiculously hard with earworm choruses and harmonious keyboard synths. They remind me of a much simpler time in my life, a time where everything was immediate. I could ride my bike to my neighbor’s house and waste an entire day.
Just a visit,” says Carly, like I’m her old college roommate and she’s not here to do press for her fourth studio album, Dedicated, for which literal millions of people are waiting with bated breath. The three of us go on to chat about parking in Manhattan, the iffy weather, and how bad we are for buying a cumulative $175 worth of sugar. That Carly’s a famous pop star never manages to come up.
Meanwhile, her demo for the competition caught the ear of manager Jonathan Simkin, who helped her get a deal with 604 Records. In 2008, released her folky debut LP, Tug of War, which featured a cover of John Denver’s 1974 hit ballad “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” The album’s singles “Tug of War” and “Bucket” were both top 40 hits on the Canadian Hot 100.
Interestingly enough, Emotion didn’t see huge commercial success, nor usher her into mainstream conversation. For a star of her connection and caliber, her social following remains relatively meager (you could compare her 1.8 million Instagram followers to, say, Miley Cyrus’s 93), and she mostly uses her accounts for album promotion.
Jepsen, who we’ve snagged for a chat during a break while she’s rehearsing for her forthcoming tour, says that she knows she’s grown as a songwriter, performer, and singer since Emotion. And she brings the sound. Her songs are packed to the brim with dance rhythms, electropop synths and big feelings.
I mean, I’m not the tell-all of that. I think it’s something that you learn and you keep re-learning. But it was a new lesson for me. I didn’t want to grieve it because it had been such a beautiful relationship, and a friendship that I think we both hope to continue. I wanted to be able to take what was known as a sad moment, and sort of look at it as a brave new patch of my life, getting good at singlehood. The first night, it was just like an actual party: I ordered all the food I wanted and some wine, and I was just like dancing to the songs we were working on — which is why we chose to have the video represent that hotel chaos.
But early commercial peaks have their advantages. Since Maybe” slipped out of the Hot 100, she’s released three albums — 2012’s Kiss,” 2015’s Emotion,” and this year’s glittering Dedicated” — that have been master classes in pop music at its best. Jepsen’s winsome voice and willingness (or perhaps need?) to leave her whole self in her lyrics, combined with her ear for killer hooks, have made her one of the standard-bearers of the genre. Kiss” laid the groundwork, pairing her voice with ornately detailed dance-pop; Emotion,” which drew textural inspiration from early-MTV-era staples and spiritual guidance from scribbled-down journal entries, was a high-spot-filled collection of Number One songs in heaven; and Dedicated,” for which she reportedly wrote 200 songs, added heat to its predecessor’s gloss.
Party For One” was soon followed by the release of two new singles in 2019—you can read about those here —which led up to the release of her fourth studio album, Dedicated. And yet, in the wake of 15 new tracks , she revealed that she had an entire album named Disco Sweat that she scrapped to make way for Dedicated.
A: It’s funny what you think you want, and what you want. I’m really glad I got to experience it, but there was some time afterwards when you feel that adrenaline of, What’s next? How do we (make another hit)?” And I just thought, what am I working for here, because this isn’t fun, even. I would love to have a job in music, but there’s different goals, and being honest about that was critical. It doesn’t mean we didn’t try for it. We were on the road, in the hustle, but there was a point where it was good to take some time off and get back into the studio. I spent a while before Emotion” came into fruition. When I had that album, I was hoping to find a tribe of people who loved music vs. the celebrity-ness of my career, and I’ve been so lucky to have that.
We believe that music is a universal language that unites all of us and brings people from all walks of life together. We thrive on making people happy from the time we open our doors to the last note of the concert.
Jepsen’s music is so interesting to me. Her 2008 folk-influenced, debut album Tug of War” reminds me a lot of Taylor Swift’s eponymous debut record. Both records feature twangy guitars and lovesick lyrics, but hint at the bright, bubbly pop both would later craft.
These videos were the first time I really listened to Jepsen. I watched them compulsively. I’m generally not a fan of pop music’”my pop aversion is more a personal failure than the genre’s’”but there’s something about Jepsen’s music that’s undeniably euphoric, catchy, welcoming.
Keeping connected to her fans and keeping focused on her brand, Carly Rae Jepsen is most certainly getting calls. Dedicated shows an artist developing a sound that started to take shape two albums ago into something distinct. Perhaps the next album will be another breakthrough.
When the saxophone rips through the opening seconds of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away with Me,” all of my straight guy friends and I have a complete fucking meltdown. Though we’re in our early 30s, for the next four minutes, we just lose it. No control. Our ridiculous bodies fill with electrostatic glee, and we sing and dance until the song’s hard stop cuts us off.
Like a lot of the songs on Dedicated, Julien creeps up on you slowly until, one day, you find yourself singing it out loud in a crowded elevator. To her fans’ relief, Jepsen came to her senses and resumed work on her fourth album, Dedicated – but they had a long wait ahead of them.
It started off on Tumblr, as many matters pertaining to Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen do. One of her fans thought it would be nice if she had a sword, and started a viral campaign to get her one. A few months and many memes later, she was handed one onstage at Lollapalooza ‘18 (there have actually been several — Jensen’s fans are fiercely devoted, and seem to love swords for some reason).
The video opens with the pop singer giddily gushing into her phone, confirming with her date to meet in one hour. After hanging up, the music slips in to accompany Jepsen as she dances on her bed and sings into her hairbrush. Jumping from her bed, she prances into a grassy field over to a vanity mirror where she applies lipstick. Jepsen, once again, taps into her eternal youth: She frolics around like a teenager jamming to music, hyping herself up for the big date.
For her part, Jepsen seems genuinely pleased—and baffled—by her online treatment. I love that they have my absurd sense of humor,” she says of her fans. I’m always looking for a weird and wonderful joke.” Consider: one of her new music videos, featuring the romantic appeal of… a cat.
Whether she’s your taste or not, Carly Rae Jepsen’s an artist with a very specific vision. She’s a pop star — distinct from a celebrity — who wants to make emotionally honest pop music about love, even if some mistake that for a shallow pursuit. Even if some think of her music as $175 dollars worth of candy. But assuming a measure of depth guarantees a far more interesting payoff: She’s a heartbreaker wrapped in a fuzzy pink sweater, a Band-Aid made of milk chocolate, an everyday lovesick pop singer.
E•MO•TION, her 2015 album, remains much-loved by millions and has been crowned a pop masterpiece; I Really Like You, a hit single from the album, featured a video starring Tom Hanks that has been viewed 242 million times on YouTube — a far cry from the 1.2 billion views for Call Me Maybe, but a sizable total nonetheless. Her fans have stood by Jepsen in the years following her breakout, which has given her the push to move forward in direction that she feels comfortable with. The result is a quiet confidence, Jepsen said.
But by the time Jepsen’s music hit the market, we were all comfortable enough in our masculinity and educated enough about the idiocy of gender norms to cut to the feeling freely. So part of the love is being able to love without caring about who cares.
Consider, for instance, her outfit. She’s wearing a fuzzy pink sweater that says HEART BREAKER, a black patent leather mini skirt with fishnet stockings, and neon pink heels with a pink leopard coat. Her hair is cut into a choppy bleach blond bob (with bangs) and her eyes are lined in thick black pencil. She’s netting out somewhere between 90s-era Courtney Love, aughts-era Paris Hilton, and the physical manifestation of her own music. And yet, as we walk around Economy Candy and later the Lower East Side, no one so much as stares. Something about her registers, against all odds, as under the radar. Which I suppose is fitting for a pop star who’s managed to skirt the traditional trappings of celebrity.
Which is why, when she says she’s at a loss for who she’d be if not a pop star, I believe her. But unlike the artists with whom she shares a general cultural umbrella — say, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, or Selena Gomez — Carly isn’t exactly a celebrity. And it’s this distinction that’s made her career what it is.
Pop is often more fun when the star who makes it feels like an underdog, not like a Times Square billboard on legs. That’s a large part of Jepsen’s appeal to the fans that show her devotion, the sense of being permanently underrated. Who among us does not feel underrated? The rest of the world can have their one-hit wonder; Jepsen can be your superstar in secret.
Carly Rae Jepsen comes to The Chicago Theatre for The Dedicated Tour on July 9 with special guest Mansionair. Jepsen says she loves being creative about what visuals the team brings to life for the songs. She may not be ready to move into full-on acting.
In today’s landscape of assured self-righteousness, there is perhaps nothing more vulnerable than an evolving perspective. On Dedicated, Jepsen watches herself grow in real time. From love-struck daydream to triumphant solidarity, her record is an odyssey across a battlefield of love.
The clip starts out with Jepsen looking out on the water from the edge of the dock before joining the musicians. They remain alone on the dock, letting the song slowly build up as the performance progresses.