FROM POP PRINCESS TO FULL-BLOWN QUEEN
The voice at the other end of the line is calm and bubbly. Despite her crazy schedule, Carly Rae Jepsen has taken some time to update us on her latest projects and on how her life has been since the release of her most recent album, Dedicated.
By Marie-Ève Venne
Best known for her hit “Call Me Maybe,” which became the world’s best-selling single in 2012, Jepsen has spent the last few years emerging from her image of a tween pop star to fully embracing a more mature pop queen persona.
Showcasing a modern and sophisticated sound, her fourth full-length album comes after the release of Emotion in 2015, an album that was raved about by critics but slipped under the top charts radar. On Dedicated, she delivers breathy pop songs that reveal her sexier side, while walking us through an upbeat disco romance. She sounds more like herself, or at least like what a woman of 33 years that has spent the last few trying to rise from her mega-hit should sound like. All these tracks are unmistakably Carly, and all have a common trend: they go for the feelings.
Through her whole evolution, Jepsen’s most ardent fans continued to defend her magic beyond a doubt. Her fandom has reached its peaked in 2018 when a Tumblr user created a post calling for a “Petition to give Carly Rae Jepsen a sword,” and then continuing to say, “I like her and think she should have one.” From this, the Canadian pop star’s fans launched a social media campaign that culminated at Lollapalooza last summer, when someone hurled an inflatable sword onstage during Jepsen’s performance of “Cut to the Feeling.”
“My fans are simply incredible, and they keep on following me year after year. Every time I take a break from touring, I wonder if they will be there when I come back or if they will get on board with the newest album. But they do. I always have the best time ever when I am on a stage, thanks to them. It’s an incredible feeling,” explains Jepsen.
“I love that connection we all have through my songs. We’ve all been through some situations that are unique but that end up feeling similar because they are connected to our emotions,” she adds.
Owning all the different shades of her feelings is something that Jepsen has never been shy of, and that can be heard from track to track on her album. She takes us through all the different stages of a relationship, from the rush of torrid new beginnings to heartbreaking flame-out endings. On her latest single, “Too Much”, on top of a steamy dance track, she depicts the struggle of being too intense for her loved one. “When I party, then I party too much/When I feel it, then I feel it too much/When I’m thinking, then I’m thinking too much/When I’m drinking, then I’m drinking too much/I’ll do anything to get to the rush,” Jepsen sings in an unapologetic way.
“I think that in this time and age, we have to be brave and share how we feel and be our realest self, [whoever] that might be. I think men can also sometimes worry about letting loose because there’s this idea that you have to be a certain sort of way. Men and women, we are allowed to be as colourful and bold as we want and even to go crazy from time to time. Sometimes, being too much is a great thing,” Jepsen explains.
“WHENEVER I FEEL like I NEED TO ground MYSELF, I JUST GO BACK HOME.”
Overdoing things is something that Jepsen most certainly can relate to, choosing only a fraction of the hundreds of songs she wrote to feature on her latest album. Is this because she felt that, at some point, she had to keep some personal stuff for herself?
“I don’t really see it that way. When I write songs, it’s a form of therapy for me. It always has been. I just pour out there whatever I might feel without overthinking it. If I feel at the end of the day that it might be turned into a great song, I won’t choose to keep it for myself just because it might be too raw. People want to hear real stuff, something that they can connect to,” she says.
“Whenever I feel like I need to ground myself, I just go back home. The first time I reached Top 40, I gathered all my family together and we celebrated. It’s important to stay close to our loved ones, no matter where life takes us.”
Focusing on love, or at least what it means for her, is something that comes naturally to Jepsen. When she found herself conflicted about a relationship that she was in, she went on an Eat Pray Love-esque solo vacation in Italy. “I had so many songs,” she says. “I needed some space to walk around, reflect, eat pasta, and get to know myself a bit.”
From that retreat came the songs “Right Words Wrong Time” and “The Sound,” which both highlight that period of realizing that a relationship must come to an end. However, thinking that the tracks are full of bitterness would be not knowing Jespen at all.
“There aren’t a lot of hopeless romantics left out there,” she says. “But I believe in it. Romantic love is always going to come with some sort of euphoric high to me, so I keep singing about it. Even though a million songs have been written about it, I’ll still contribute my couple thousand, so by the time I’m gone, you’ll know that I was a believer, too.”
And what does she do when she feels like it’s time to let go and simply enjoy life as it is?
“Like everyone else, I need to take some time to relax and go wild in a fun way. I am very close with my crew on tour, so we are all already planning to go on vacation together at the end of the tour. I’ve really wanted, for a long time, to go on a safari, and it seems like something fun to do all together as a family. You’ll probably see a bunch of fun pics popping [up] on my social media around that time,” she says.
One thing is certain. Whatever Jepsen will do next, it will be everything but boring, as a true queen of pop. With or without a sword.