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Carly Rae Jepsen heard the call thanks to Justin Bieber, others

Updated: November 30, 2012 6:21AM



Justin Bieber, Nickelback and James Taylor are rarely mentioned in the same sentence. But when you come out of nowhere -- OK, Canada -- and score the biggest pop song of the year (“Call Me Maybe”), people want to know everything about you, Carly Rae Jepsen. And those three stars have been huge in her life.

James Taylor was the soundtrack of her childhood; Nickelback signed her to its label; Bieber’s tweet made her famous and he’s taking her on tour.

“Call Me Maybe,” released last fall in Canada, got a boost when fellow Canadian Bieber tweeted his love for the tune on Dec. 30. The song shot up the Canadian charts, leading to a U.S. release in March.

Then the Biebs piled it on. He and some of his pals, including Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale, made a homemade video of the tune that has received more than 50 million views. More videos followed, fashioned by the Harvard baseball team, the U.S. Olympic swim team, U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan and even former Secretary of State Colin Powell. (Just check YouTube.)

“The parody videos helped spread it,” said Jepsen, whose official “Call Me Maybe” video has tallied more than 280 million views on YouTube. “It was neat to see how people in countries I’d never visited were putting together their own version of the song.”

Of course, her phenomenal success has brought the inevitable detractors. Thinking: What a perfect song for teens by a teen, some people wondered if Jepsen was the next Taylor Swift.

Um, no. Jepsen is 26, not 16. She’s older than Lady Gaga.

Jepsen is puzzled by the brouhaha over her age.

“What woman doesn’t love to hear that she looks younger? I have to say it’s flattering and a little bit shocking for me ‘cause I never think of myself as that young.”

Since she was 7, Jepsen has wanted to be a singer. That’s when pop balladeer Taylor became “the soundtrack of my childhood,” she said of her days in Mission, British Columbia, just east of Vancouver. “My father used to play me James Taylor songs at night when I couldn’t sleep. My storytelling and wanting that warm fuzziness in your tummy comes from listening to him.”

After attending the Canadian College of Performing Arts and finishing third on TV’s “Canadian Idol,” she released her debut album in 2008, the singer/songwriter-styled “Tug of War.” In 2011, she offered the single “Call Me Maybe” on 604 Records, co-founded by Nickelback’s singer, Chad Kroeger. “Kiss,” her debut U.S. album, was issued last month.

The new disc is more electro-pop, reflecting Jepsen’s love of Madonna and the influence of Katy Perry. Her new single, “This Kiss,” was written in collaboration with LMFAO’s Redfoo and the guy Jepsen definitely calls her beau, singer/songwriter Matthew Koma.

The Redfoo connection came by happenstance. Unaccustomed to paparazzi, Jepsen was being pursued at the Los Angeles airport when Redfoo and his security guard came to the rescue, inviting the newly minted star into a private airport lounge.

“We became really fast friends and bonded over our musical taste,” she recalled. “We decided we should write something together but he was traveling one way and I was traveling the opposite way. So we ended up connecting that night late, writing a chorus over the phone. He brought Matthew Koma into the loop. And the three of us did the rest via email, text and phone calls. The song was all done virally.”

Jepsen’s album features a duet with Bieber that came about in impromptu fashion, as well. After signing a U.S. recording contract with Schoolboy Records (run by Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun), she was invited to Los Angeles to meet key staffers and Bieber, who was in the studio recording his latest album, “Believe.”

“We really hit it off,” she said. “He showed me a song called ‘Beautiful’ and asked if I liked it. Of course, I really dug it. He suggested I sing on it. I was beyond floored. But he meant ‘right now.’ It ended up being one of those nerve-racking but totally awesome experiences that I’ll never forget.”

Scripps Howard News Service



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