CARLY RAE JEPSEN loves Feist [every bit as much as we do], has an identical reading-list to us - "I just finished 'The Hunger Games' and now I am onto 'A Game Of Thrones'." - and is friends with Hanson. Plus! Justin Bieber is her homeboy.
Jepsen posed for an exclusive Coup De Main fashion editorial-shoot during her recent promo trip to New Zealand, discussed her upcoming new album, and hung out eating sweet treats. She's a girl after our own heart, she really is.
What follows below, is everything that happened...
"It's one thing to be successful in life, but if the people around you face-to-face don't admire you, then that's not really anything."
COUP DE MAIN: Welcome to New Zealand! How are you finding it so far?
CARLY RAE JEPSEN: Thank you so much! It's really amazing, I've had a really relaxed day. I didn't get to explore too much, but promo and everything was toned down which was nice. Friendly people, good vibe - it's been nice.
CDM: I know a lot of your fans are really disappointed they haven't been able to see you live this time, can we hope that you'll be returning soon?
CARLY: Oh I guarantee it, yeah! As soon as I'm done [recording] the album, which is wrapped up for Fall, then I'll be touring shortly after that, so very soon.
CDM: I remember listening to 'Call Me Maybe' online in September last year, now it's gone Number One in New Zealand and... well, everywhere! What have been your proudest accomplishments of the last seven/eight crazy months?
CARLY: That's a hard one. It's just felt like a big transition in my life. I would say the thing I'm most proud of is just keeping my head above water, and going with it... because it's sometimes up to three flights a day, there seems to be no real stop. The thing is that this is also my passion, so it's hard work, but it's really satisfying work.
[ Carly wears a 'Maurie and Eve' floral dress and 'Dr. Martens' eight-eye hot pink boots. ]
CDM: After competing on 'Canadian Idol' in 2007, you released your debut solo album the following year - it's good that you had that time to grow and develop musically, which not a lot of people do, especially reality TV contestants.
CARLY: I think in a big way that was a vital time for me in Canada, as soon as the show was done there was this journal-entry type of album that I released, called 'Tug Of War'. And then I took a bit of time to get my band together, collaborate with some different artists and really see what I wanted to do next. What I ended up being really attracted to was a folky-song, but a poppier-folky song, and so I followed down a little road to a genre I'd never really been in before - which is pop music. And when I signed to 604 [Records] and actually put that first tester song out 'Call Me Maybe', I had no idea the reaction it would have. It was a really positive beginning.
CDM: What do you hope people will take away from listening to your music?
CARLY: I just want it to connect with people. What I love about music is what it does to me when I hear it. What I think sparked the passion in me was when I was a little girl my Dad used to play the guitar for me when I was in bed and I would just listen to the song and hear the love stories and for a second I would feel the love story or I would feel the sad story and I would find myself at a very young age... I would cry about this stranger who I didn't know. I think it's just such a magical effect that music can have and I hope that I can hit somebody else that way.
CDM: What was running through your mind the very first time that JUSTIN BIEBER called you?
CARLY: Well it actually began with a tweet, I found out through my hysterical sister, she called me screaming bloody murder - something about Justin and something about a tweet. Once I had calmed her down and heard what she was actually saying, I went to go look online and saw that in fact she was correct. I felt very encouraged that someone like him would notice my song and sort of surreal that he picked me out of everybody to support in such a big way. And once I was signed with SCOOTER [BRAUN] and him to their label, I think everyday ever since I've been pinching myself, like I'm 'Alice In Wonderland'.
CDM: You already had a Team Carly assembled, so how does that fit in with Scooter and Bieber now?
CARLY: How it works is that I'm still signed exclusively in Canada to 604 Records, and I'm now signed worldwide to School Boy Records, which is Justin and Scooter Braun. I'm their first official signing for this label and I'm also working with Interscope [Records], so basically how it works is we're all kind of one big family, we're just figuring it out as we go along at this point, but it's all gone a lot faster than I expected and I think anyone expected it to, so we're kind of chasing it a little bit. <laughs>
CDM: When you first met Justin Bieber you recorded a song in the studio together, what was that like?
CARLY: It was pretty amazing! You hear good things about him all time and I have nothing but good things to add. I was going in there hoping for the best and when I met him he exceeded all of my expectations, he's just a chilled guy and a really talented artist, he's been my biggest supporter so I am indebted to him for life.
CDM: When can we expect to hear your duet?
CARLY: Very soon. It's all done, it's just a matter of deciding when to release it. At this point he's just put out 'Boyfriend' and I've just put out 'Call Me Maybe', so we're just doing our own singles at the moment but I think, not too far away... one day soon.
[ Carly wears a 'Ruby' black crop top, 'J Brand' floral jeans from 'Fabric', a 'Deadly Ponies' flocked chain necklace and 'Ruby' black zip-up boots. ]
CDM: Have you started working on your next album yet?
CARLY: Yeah, it's mostly finished actually. Travelling as much as I have in the past three months has sparked some new ideas as well, and I don't want to totally close it until it's finished and [can] compare A and B.
CDM: What do you feel are the main points of difference between 'Tug Of War' and the songs that you've worked recorded so far for your new album?
CARLY: 'Tug Of War' was my baby, right after doing the show where I had to do covers all the time, so I was really excited to write and do what I love most of all - they were a good representation of my childhood and my upbringing, which was my parent's house where they listened to folkier sounds like James Taylor and Van Morrison, so what you hear is more a folky album with 'Tug Of War'. When I moved to the city shortly after my experience with Idol, and just really committed to pulling the grind and to see if I could be a singer-songwriter there, I found that I was going dancing with my girlfriends, and I was listening to dance-music and pop-music. I just really wanted to show the transition of me into adulthood with my second album, things that I like that are separate from what my parents like. <laughs> That's what you have with my EP 'Curiosity', which is just exclusively sold at this point in Canada, but I think that what you can expect for the Fall record is something very similar to that, it's a new relationship, pop and me, but I'm falling more in love with it, than less.
CDM: Which song on your 'Curiosity' EP do you feel best represents your music at this stage?
CARLY: Actually, the song 'Curiosity'. 'Call Me Maybe' is a very fair representation of what's to come, it is pop and it is supposed to make you feel good, and sing-a-long, but 'Curiosity' was actually what sparked the transition from folk into pop. I'd been writing for other artists a lot as well, and I started that song with my good friend Ryan Stewart and we had the idea that we were writing for this pop band and halfway into it, I realised I was speaking about a relationship that I was in and it was too personal to let it go and then it sparked the question: "Can I do this?" All my fans in Canada were expecting a folk album and I was really wanting to do something not-that and my label signed me as a folk artist and I was like: "I kind of want to do pop music now!" And they were really good about it: "Well, go for whatever you want and we'll try to sell it." And so I did. 'Curiosity' was the song that really sparked my curiosity I guess!
CDM: 'Curiosity' is the latest single in Canada now, is there any plan to release it worldwide or is that a Canada-only thing?
CARLY: I think the plan right now is to release a full CD worldwide and that definitely means that at the very least we'll have some songs from that EP on there, but I don't really know what's going to make it... at this stage it's too soon to say 100% what's going to be on the CD. I know my top six that I'm going to for sure have on there, but the rest I'm too in-the-middle to know... I need to have a couple listening parties with some people to see how they're reacting and go from there.
CDM: Just putting my five cents in, I like 'Talk To Me'... but of course, 'officially', I haven't got the EP or anything...
CARLY: Oh really?! That's okay! <laughs> As long as you're listening, that's awesome. Okay, 'Talk To Me'. Noted!
[ Carly wears a 'Gorman' sequin dress and 'Ruby' black zip-up boots. ]
CDM: Most pop-stars are happy to sing other people's songs, but you write and co-write your own songs. Is that something that's really important to you to always do?
CARLY: I think co-writes are important. You don't really learn how to write differently unless you take the time to do co-writes, but I think it would have to be a pretty amazing song for me to ever just sing someone else's! I think that it's something that's extremely important to me, not because I HAVE to sing my own songs, but more because I have songs that I want to show, and I write whether or not I'm actually releasing an album, it's just something that I do and have since I was seventeen on, and there's things that I want to say. And it's hard to sing a song that doesn't feel sincere, I always do all my own lyrics too. I feel like it's got to be something that... how I would say it at the very least, if not a personal experience [of my own]?
CDM: Scooter has said that you're the kind of person that girls can look up to. Is it important to you to be a good role-model?
CARLY: That's a good question. I've only been asked that once before and I've thought about it a lot since then. I think that it's important to just be a good person and I think that my family has always stressed that kindness is the most important thing. It's one thing to be successful in life, but if the people around you face-to-face don't admire you, then that's not really anything. So I take that really seriously and I've always worked to practise kindness as much as I can and when it comes to thinking about how I'm viewed that way, it's a lot to take on. I think I just focus on being the best person I can be and hopefully that's a positive example and if it isn't then I'm only human! So here's hoping... <laughs>
CDM: What are the most important things that you learnt from your experience on Idol?
CARLY: I learnt a lot! I learnt a lot more than I realised that I learnt. This experience right now is making me realise how vital those lessons were in a way. It's important to have thick skin, it's important to know who you are. When I went into Idol I was just a babe looking for a chance, a little baby girl - a babe in the business saying "HELP!" is what I'm trying to say - and all of a sudden a lot was thrown at me. It was an awesome opportunity to really get further, but I'd say advice-wise looking back it's really important to use those shows as a way to have a stepping stone to have a career after the shows. And it's important to not let the show just use you for entertainment which can very easily happen. So just be very guarded when you go into those things, and be aware of what it is and totally use it, but use it for yourself.
[ Carly wears a 'Riddle Me This' pink dress, a 'Gorman' necklace and a 'Ruby' studded belt. ]
CDM: What was it like touring with Hanson?! Whose your favourite?
CARLY: They are all quite babe-a-licious! I'm not supposed to play favourites... but Taylor. <laughs> He's the hottest one. They're all adorable guys and getting to know them a little bit... I was pretty nervous because I was one of those girls who was like 'MMMBop' <fist-pumps>, and then my manager was like: "You're going on the road with Hanson." I was like: "What, that sounds awesome?!" For the first three shows I refused to even look at them because I was so nervous, and then finally at one point Taylor and Zach were like: "You know you can come onto the tour bus and have a drink and we could have an after party? Bring the band..." And so we did! We ended up having heated debates about Billy Joel versus Elton John and I loved them all immediately. We actually became really good friends on that tour, but I definitely had a secret crush, an innocent crush... he's got a wife! <sighs>
CDM: Have you heard Taylor's supergroup side-band, Tinted Windows?
CARLY: Yeah, they played me a lot of their stuff... so probably. I think it's Zach who has a song about Nachos... it's a pretty amazing song actually, it's been stuck in my head for like a stupid amount of time.
CDM: Off the top of your head, can you name ten artists or bands that have 'changed your life'?
CARLY: Feist! She was my saving grace during Idol, I don't know if she knows this, but I actually met her a few months ago and I wanted to tell her that but I think I just gushed about how awesome she was instead. She's changed my life in the fact that I would be like: "Arrgghhh reality TV!" I would put her song on and be like... <closes eyes calmly> music!
CDM: What's your favourite Feist song?
CARLY: 'I Feel It All', it's a good one to run to, it's killer. 'Leisure Suite' is another good one. Okay so ten, Feist, Van Morrison, Robyn, John Mayer, Sinéad O'Connor, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones, La Roux, Tegan And Sara, and Kimbra, believe it or not.
MY FIVE FAVOURITE THINGS IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD...
[Polaroids taken by Shahlin Graves.]
CDM: Who's your favourite Disney princess and why?
CARLY: Belle, because the first song I ever sung live was at a talent show when I was seven and was [from] 'Beauty and the Beast'. I thought I was Belle for a while, it was a little unhealthy. I think it's such a classic story. Going back it's not my favourite Disney movie of them all, but when I was a little girl it was Number One.
CDM: What's next for Carly Rae Jepsen?
CARLY: Hopefully more traveling - I look at my itinerary and it's like Asia, then back to London, then New York. It's a pretty amazing life right now, I just hope I keep getting to travel.
CDM: Lastly, do you have a final message for your New Zealand fans?
CARLY: Hi New Zealand! I just want to say thank you so, so much for all of your love and support. It's been amazing being here and I can't wait to come back and play a show, very, very soon!
P.S. Click HERE to find out how you could win the exact pair of 'Dr. Martens' eight-eye hot pink boots that Carly Rae Jepsen wore during our photoshoot.
photographer: GARTH BADGER | styling: SACHA YOUNG | assistant: SHAHLIN GRAVES | make up: SAM HOLLEY using M.A.C. | talent: CARLY RAE JEPSEN.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN's latest single 'Call Me Maybe' is out now! Click HERE to purchase via iTunes.
Click HERE to browse the new issue of Coup De Main's digital magazine, 'THE WE HEARTS [CANADA] ISSUE'.