Tag Archives: Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Call Me Maybe’: Singer Reveals How Justin Bieber’s Tweet Sent Her Into Pop Stratosphere

Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen

Two months ago, Carly Rae Jepsen got a panicked call from her sister. “She was hysterically screaming into the phone ‘Justin Bieber just tweeted about your song!'” Jepsen tells AOL Music Blog. “I was like ‘What? Really? No way!’ And then I went to check it out and, in fact, he had.”

The pop idol had heard Jepsen’s insanely catchy new single “Call Me Maybe” on the radio and instantly fallen under its spell. Soon, both the Biebs and his lady friend Selena Gomez were both tweeting about their love for the song, gaining the Juno nominee and Canadian Idol alumus (she placed third in the show’s fifth season) instant international attention.

And that was only the start of Carly Rae’s whirlwind ride to almost overnight pop stardom.

“Not too long after that, we were informed by my label, 604, that [Justin] and his manager [Scooter Braun] had actually approached them and asked if we’d be interested in combining forces and spreading the music outside of Canada.”

Jepsen and her team were definitely interested, so she flew out to Los Angeles to meet with the pair and wound up signing with Braun and his Schoolboy Records label.

The ink was barely dry on the contracts before Jepsen discovered that her new label mate had another surprise in store for her. Back at home, she went on Facebook and watched a video she’d recently been tagged in. She thought the video, which featured a bunch of mustachioed fans dancing around and goofing off to “Call Me Maybe” was cute, but she didn’t really realize what was going on at first.

“It didn’t really register until halfway through. I was kind of looking at it and I was like ‘That looks a lot like Justin Bieber! That looks a lot like Selena Gomez!’ And then at the end of it, I was like ‘My goodness! This is insane!'” she laughs. “That was a total shock. A good shock, but definitely a shock.”

That video — which also features the likes of High School Musical/Hellcats star Ashley Tisdale and members of Big Time Rush — became a viral sensation, garnering over 20 million views on YouTube and rocketing “Call Me Maybe” to the top of the digital charts, the first song by a Canadian artist to do so since her new buddy Bieber accomplished it with “Baby” in 2010.

“It felt like a really welcoming gesture,” Jepsen says of the video. “We had just signed the documents not a day or two before and then they posted the video and I kind of realized how sincere they were about helping me.”

To thank him for the video tribute, Jepsen made a last-minute appearance at Justin’s 18th birthday party. “It was kind of something that was thrown my way at the last minute. Through the first verse, I’m not really aware that I’m there! And, like, halfway through the song I start to sing,” she admits. “It was a terrifying and exciting experience to be spontaneously thrown into!”

She’s also working on a duet with Bieber. “The first day I met him, he invited me to join in on a song that he had in mind for me, and we mapped it out that night. I was pleasantly surprised with just how passionate he is as a musician and how much I loved the song!” Jepsen enthuses. “I can’t even begin to explain how talented that guy is.”

She isn’t sure exactly when their track will be released, but the singer hopes it’s soon. “If I had my way, it would be out today! Yesterday!” she exclaims. “I can’t wait to share that one.”

In the meantime, she’s already back in the studio with her friend and “Call Me Maybe” co-writer Josh Ramsay of Mariana’s Trench fame, working on new pop-oriented material that she hopes will expand on the sound she discovered with her hit single. Even though her current album, Curiosity, just came out, she expects to have a new album ready for release by September. Then she’ll start planning a proper tour.

And somewhere, in all of this craziness, she might actually find a couple of minutes to catch her breath and enjoy the ride.

“There’s moments on plane rides where I’ll sit for a second and just take it all in. I’ll be looking at the clouds, thinking, ‘Life is nuts. This is so insane. I’m flying to Texas right now. I’m flying to L.A.!’ This is not something I thought would ever really be happening for me. So there’s definitely moments where I sit there and I can just feel overcome with gratitude.”

This story originally appeared May 12, 2012 on AOL Music Blog.

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Carly Rae Jepsen, Hanson: ‘Call Me Maybe’ Star Bonds With Boy Band Over Whiskey, Possible Collaborations

Hanson and Carly Rae Jepsen

Hanson and Carly Rae Jepsen

Before Carly Rae Jepsen caught the ear of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, the “Call Me Maybe” singer was already busy impressing another bunch of teen idols. Over the course of their cross-Canadian tour together this past winter, Jepsen and ’90s pop sensation Hanson became both friends and fans of each other’s work.

“I love the Hanson boys!” Jepsen gushed to AOL Music Blog on the phone from L.A. last month. “I was floored by them. Their harmonies are so in sync and their musicianship … you can tell they’ve been at it their whole lives.”

Hanson, in Toronto last week to promote the Canadian release of their latest album Shout It Out, confirm the feeling was mutual.

“She was awesome,” singer and keyboardist Taylor Hanson tells AOL Music Blog. “We had a really fun time. She’s a great performer. And we hung out a lot. We had multiple nights where she came on the bus and we just listened to records and talked about …”

“Talked about whiskey,” older brother and guitarist Isaac says with a laugh.

“Well, we drank whiskey and listened to music,” Taylor clarifies.

The boys of Hanson weren’t just impressed with her whiskey consumption and record-spinning skills, though. They were also quite taken with her talent.

“I think, as a songwriter, she has a really good sense of a hook and a good sense of melody and I think she’s going to be served very well in the future,” says Isaac.

Much like Bieber, Hanson’s also eager to collaborate with Carly in the future.

“We were talking about it on the road,” Taylor says. “I want to write some stuff with her for whatever comes next.”

Jepsen was launched into stardom thanks to the attention — and viral video skills — of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and their friends just as her time with Hanson was winding down. As musicians who experienced a similar meteoric rise to fame with their song “MMMBop” in 1997, did the brothers have any advice for their tourmate?

“We did actually talk about her roadmap for career and how to get from where she is to where she wants to be,” Taylor explains.

As a band who turned teen idolarity into a lifelong career as respected musicians, the brothers Hanson all agree that Jepsen should focus on the bigger picture.

“I think you really just have to start with ‘Where am I headed?’ Work on pondering what the destination is and who you are as an artist and what are your goals, and be willing to stick to your guns and just focus on that,” Taylor muses.

“She seems like she has a pretty good head on her shoulders,” Isaac offers. “It’s always good when you’re coming at things from a relatively humble place as far as not thinking that all of a sudden you’re hot shit, and she certainly has a very focused kind of ‘This is going the way I’ve hoped it will go and I want to go forward.'”

Drummer Zac agrees.

“Having had the blessing of traveling the world and succeeding, it’s easy to take it for granted. We’ve tried to not take it for granted,” says Zac. “But when you do suddenly have access to a lot of resources, I think having people around you that can help you parlay that into a lengthy time in that place, whether it’s touring partnerships or just the whole process of really stretching out that success and drawing attention to you as an artist and not just that song.

“That’s a hard thing to do, but it’s something that is really an important thing to keep in mind when you suddenly have the ears of a lot more people. I think, for her, she needs as many people around her helping her to look forward to the next process and the next record to keep that train moving forward, because she is suddenly going to be in this vacuum of ‘Wow! This song’s starting to get a lot of heat! OK, run around the world promoting this!’ Just keep the process moving forward so that you’re ready to strike on the next album and continue.”

“Because that’s the hardest part of any of it,” Isaac adds.

“Yeah,” Zac continues. “Just how do you keep it moving forward and build toward the next thing.”

This story originally appeared April 11, 2012 on AOL Music Blog

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Ben Howard, ‘Call Me Maybe’: Folk Singer Says His Viral Cover of Carly Rae Jepsen Hit Was Like Going ‘To the Belly of Hell’

Ben Howard and Carly Rae Jepsen

Ben Howard and Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen’s insidiously catchy “Call Me Maybe” isn’t just a number one single. The song has become a full-blown pop-cultural phenomenon, inspiring memes, viral videos starring everyone from Justin Bieber to the Harvard baseball team, and faithful covers by artists like fun..

From this mass of giggles, giddy dance moves and exuberant singalongs, one particular cover has emerged from the crowd. Haunting, pensive and delivered with just a little bit of a smirk, Ben Howard’s take is a very different beast. Even the motivation behind the British folk singer’s take on “Call Me Maybe” is more like an experiment than straight tribute. Faced with a list of pop songs that they could cover as part of their appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, Howard and his band simply picked the least offensive.

“We really didn’t have many options,” the mostly soft-spoken singer/songwriter says. “It was one of those classic ‘choose a song from the playlist things’ and there was just so much shit on the playlist. It got whittled down to about three different options and I suppose Carly Rae Jepsen’s song was the best one of the three, really. We thought it would be funny. If you’re going to look for the devil, you may as well go to the belly of hell.”

While evocations of satan and hell aren’t the most flattering things that have ever been said about Jepsen’s epic earworm of a hit single, Howard is quick to point out that he thinks it’s a genuinely good tune. It’s just not something that you’d ever find in his own personal record collection.

“It’s an incredible song, but it’s not the sort of song that I would listen to. I’d say I’d probably hate it,” he admits with a laugh. “But it’s a great song.”

Oddly, it was the singer’s lack of attachment to the source material that really makes his version of “Call Me Maybe” what it is. It allowed him to play around with the sound and feeling and make it his own in a way that he really couldn’t with a piece of music he genuinely adores.

“I rarely do covers of songs because the songs you want to cover are songs you like, really. But a lot of songs I like, they’re untouchable,” Howard muses. “Like ‘Hallelujah.’ Everyone covers Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ and Jeff Buckley did what is really the definitive version and I don’t see why people are still trying to do covers of it.”

Another song that he considers untouchable is Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” a version of which just so happens to appear on Carly Rae Jepsen’s Curiosity EP, right alongside “Call Me Maybe.” Howard has heard CRJ’s popped up take on the Canadian classic, and he can’t say that he’s a big fan.

“It was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” the singer says, admitting that he’s not one to mince words. “It’s really weird, what she did to it.”

Howard finds the cover so distasteful that it makes him question Jepsen’s folk rock roots.

“If she was a Joni Mitchell fan, then surely she wouldn’t have touched that song,” he says.

Luckily for Ben and his crew, the public’s response to his own cover have been far more favorable. Pop and folk fans alike have taken to the song, making it a minor viral sensation. The singer is more amused than anything by the response.

“I think when you do a cover, you’ve got to do something different and you’re going to step on a few toes and people are going to hate it or people really enjoy it. I think, on the whole, it’s been positive,” he theorizes. “It was interesting to branch out into a new audience of a lot of mainstream pop fans and just kind of doing… we just jammed it out in a day and thought it would be funny. And then, all of a sudden, everyone’s got an opinion on it and people are taking it all so seriously. It was a just a laugh, to be honest.”

Anyone who appreciates the singer’s soft and broody cover will likely be a fan of his debut album, Every Kingdom, as well. Although the subject matter isn’t quite the same, trading flirtation for broken relationships and the slightly eerie presence of nature, the raw and passionate folky sound is similar. When asked if his “Call Me Maybe” is the perfect Ben Howard gateway drug, the singer says “Hopefully. I guess we definitely did put our stamp on it.”

Recently converted North American fans will have a chance to see the folk artist in the flesh when he returns for a more extensive tour of Canada and the U.S. this fall. After an impressive first round of shows on this side of the Atlantic earlier this year, he’s eager to come back.

“We had a real fun tour last time, just some amazing gigs,” he recalls. “Better gigs than we ever could have hoped for. The shows in New York and Toronto and Montreal just blew our minds a little bit. We were expecting to play little venues and for people to not really get it, but it was just great vibes off of everyone. So we’re really looking forward to coming back.”

And if karma happens to pay him back in the form of a bunch of Canadians and Americans covering his music, Howard is ready. It’s already started to happen across the pond.

“I’ve heard a few,” he says. “There’s some amazing little covers. I always love watching other people’s interpretations. I think as soon as you put a song into the public, part of it is no longer yours. I’m quite happy to let people interpret it and see how they get on. Some of them are awful, but some of them are pretty great.”

This story originally appeared June 4, 2012 on the AOL Spinner website.

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Justin Bieber’s Boo-Gate Conspiracy Theory At The 100th Grey Cup

Justin Bieber at the Grey Cup

Justin Bieber at the Grey Cup

Last week I got to attend the 100th Grey Cup under the guise of covering the Justin Bieber half-time show. It was pretty exciting for me in part because the Toronto Argonauts were in the final (and won!) and because going to a Grey Cup game was on my list of things that every Canadian must do at least once.

The big story that came out of the half-time show was that Bieber got booed mercilessly (read my onsite report).

That statement is… inexact.

Did Justin Bieber get booed? Yes and sort of.

Here’s what happened: During a stoppage in play somewhere between mid-1st quarter and mid-2nd quarter the Skydome (nobody calls it “Rogers Centre” except Rogers employees) showed a giant image of Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen on the Jumbotron with some sort of “Stay tuned for Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen at the 100th Grey Cup half-time show…”-type message.

THIS got super-booed. As in, everyone in the arena was really loudly booing.

The game continued. Then came the half-time show.

The stage got built, which took about five minutes, then Gordon Lightfoot played on a small riser far removed from the main stage. During this time half the stadium emptied out to go get beer/food/pee break. Meanwhile, somewhere in this time frame about 300 screaming girls were unleashed on to the field to surround the main stage. Then Marianas Trench played (who were wretched, truly awful). Then Jepsen played. Then Bieber.

Besides a short burst of teen girl screaming when Bieber hit the stage and a bit of gauzy, unfocused low end rumble that could have been booing, the crowd noise during Bieber was relatively inaudible.

Bieber’s face on the jumbotron during the game = super-booed. His half-time performance = not so much.

Now, an audio-minded conspiracy theorist could suppose all sorts of things from this. First off, in advance of the Grey Cup game the Argos had been practicing with crowd noise pumped through the Skydome speakers — the assumption being that the ‘Dome would be hella loud during the game and when the Argos would be on defence the noise would disrupt their opponents the Calgary Stampeders plans if they couldn’t hear themselves.

During the actual game Argos players and cheerleaders were constantly whooping and encouraging to the crowd to make noise when Calgary had the ball. This is all pretty standard football stuff. Nothing nefarious there.

But what if the stadium was miked for crowd audio (for a high-profile televised sports event… this is a certainty) and during the big game the home team, on their home field, fed some of that crowd audio back into the stadium soundsystem to make the crowd noise seem louder? There’s a long sports tradition of home team fans, hoteliers, venue staff, etc trying to mess with visiting teams before and during big games (painting the visiting team’s dressing room the day before an NHL playoff game is a thing home arena staff do to the away team), so touching up the audio to help the Argos — who practiced to anticipate said noise — is well within the realm of possibility.

So how does this relate to Bieber? Well, what if that jumbotron flash earlier in the game was a test of the “augmented” audio the stadium was using? So when the super-booing happened the decision was made to completely dampen crowd audio during Bieber’s performance — just turn it right down — be it boos or cheers. Which would explain the relatively mute sounding crowd during the half-time performance.

Now, have I investigated this? Talked to people? Dug further? No.

This is mostly just tin foil hat-wearing with a minor in event trolling. I don’t actually care enough to investigate further beyond the 20 minutes it took to write this. So take it for what it is, nothing more.

By the way, I actually did write about Bieber’s performance for Huffington Post Music Canada. The story — in which pretty much everyone has ignored the obvious sports analogy-as-defense-of-Bieber — has resulted in a fiery comment war based on gnarled CFL fans vs. teenagers lines. You can read, and comment on it, by clicking here.

Here’s the performance, filmed by someone in the Rogers Centre — not via the television feed (which would have had tinkered crowd audio). Decide for yourself:


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Grey Cup Music: Analyzing The Most “Football” Songs By The Artists Playing This Weekend’s CFL Festival

Grey Cup 2012

Grey Cup 2012

Toronto has been overrun this weekend by Canadian Football League fans partying it up in advance of tonights 100th Grey Cup competition between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders.

Those parties have also meant the CFL bringing in a ton of bands for street festivals, ticketed concerts, and during the game’s halftime show tonight, performances by Justin Bieber and Gordon Lightfoot.

We combed through the Grey Cup festival schedule and tried to figure out what was the most “football” song by the artists playing this weekend. Then we wrote about them for Huffington Post Music Canada.

To read the story, click here.


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