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Carly Rae Jepsen

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Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen 2016.jpg
Jepsen performing in 2016
Background information
Born (1985-11-21) November 21, 1985 (age 31)
Mission, British Columbia, Canada
Genres Pop
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 2007–present
Labels
Website carlyraemusic.com

Carly Rae Jepsen (born November 21, 1985)[1][2] is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actress. She performed in several lead roles in her high school's musical productions, eventually pursuing musical theatre at the Canadian College of Performing Arts. Upon completing her studies, Jepsen moved to Vancouver's west side where she honed her songwriting craft; in 2007, she placed third on Canadian Idolseason five and subsequently recorded her folk-influenced debut, Tug of War.

Her breakthrough came in 2012 with her second studio album, Kiss, which marked a greater shift into mainstream pop music and was a moderate seller worldwide, its single "Call Me Maybe" became a viral sensation, reaching number one in 18 countries and culminating as the year's best-selling single globally. Jepsen took a brief hiatus from the music industry soon thereafter, making her Broadway debut as the titular character in Cinderella. Jepsen's third studio album Emotion (2015) is noted for blending her synthpop sound with "indie sensibilities", it was released to critical laudation and grew to become a cult favorite, attracting a more mature audience to her music. While its track "I Really Like You" reached the top five in the United Kingdom, the album failed to match her prior commercial success.

In 2016 Jepsen performed in the television special Grease: Live, and lent her voice to the animated film Ballerina. Jepsen has received multiple awards, including three Juno Awards, a Billboard Music Award, and an Allan Slaight Award, and nominations for Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, MTV Video Music Award, Polaris Music Prize and People's Choice Awards.[3][4] As of May 2015, she has sold over 20 million records worldwide.[5][6]

Biography[edit]

Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Jepsen was born in Mission, British Columbia, to Alexandra and Larry Jepsen, the middle of three children, she attended Heritage Park Secondary School, where she pursued her early passion for musical theatre by appearing in student productions of Annie, Grease, and The Wiz, respectively starring in its lead roles as Annie, Sandy and Dorothy.[7][8] As both of her parents were teachers, as well as her stepparents, Jepsen considered a career in music instruction as a second option,[8][9] she applied to a number of music-related programs, including the courses offered at Capilano College and the University of British Columbia. Her high school drama teacher, Beverly Holmes, persuaded her to audition for the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, British Columbia, where she was one of 25 female students to gain admission into its year-long program: "It was very clear to me after that school, as much fun as I had, I really did want to pursue more of a purely musical career rather than acting and all the dancing."[10][9]

After graduating from school, Jepsen relocated to Vancouver's west side where held several minimum wage jobs,[11][7] she worked at Trees Organic Coffee as a barista and pastry chef assistant, starting its open mic night.[12] Jepsen describes this as "the happiest time in her life" where she slept on a pull-out sofa, wrote songs in her downtime with a guitar her parents gifted and "performed multiple nights a week at musician-friendly holes in the wall".[8][7] Bartending at the Media Club, Jepsen once requested an extra late shift in order to watch Sia perform, who became a future collaborator.[13]

2007–2010: Canadian Idol and Tug of War[edit]

In the midst of assembling a swing band,[14] Jepsen was convinced to join Canadian Idol by her drama teacher, once again, who drove her to the audition in 2007,[7] she performed the original composition "Sweet Talker",[15] and placed third near the finale, which she considered as the best possible outcome in retrospect: "it was like all the exposure without the devilish contract at the end".[8] Her demo recording attracted the attention of music manager Jonathan Simkin, who signed Jepsen to a management deal with 604 Records that same year. Simkin originally expressed disinterest in managing her, assuming Jepsen didn't pen her own material.[16]

Jepsen, Canada Day 2010

In June 2008, Jepsen released her debut single, a cover of John Denver's song "Sunshine on My Shoulders",[17] her debut album, Tug of War, was released on September 16, 2008 through MapleMusic, produced in its entirety by Ryan Stewart. It eventually sold 10,000 copies in Canada according to Nielsen SoundScan,[16] her singles "Tug of War" and "Bucket" both peaked within the top 40 of the Canadian Hot 100,[18] subsequently Gold certifications for sales of 40,000 units each. The final song to be serviced was "Sour Candy", a duet with Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench; in early 2009, Jepsen toured western Canada with Marianas Trench and Shiloh.[19] She then went on a cross-Canada tour with Marianas Trench, The New Cities and Mission District; in a 2015 interview with The Herald, Jepsen revealed that despite receiving radio airplay, she was unable to earn an income from her music and kept employment in service industry jobs, once resorting to busking to pay her electricity bill.[20]

2011–2013: Mainstream success with Curiosity and Kiss[edit]

Jepsen began recording material for her second album in 2011 with Josh Ramsay, Ryan Stewart, and Tavish Crowe, with whom she co-wrote the single "Call Me Maybe", released in Canada in September 2011;[16] in January 2012, fellow Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber tweeted about the song to his millions of Twitter followers, and the following month the song was featured in a viral video in which Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale lip-synced and danced to the track.[16] Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, signed Jepsen to a joint worldwide record deal with his own label, Schoolboy Records, and the major label Interscope Records; she remained signed to 604 Records in Canada and retained Jonathan Simkin as her manager.[16]

Jepsen in Cannes, France, at the 2013 NRJ Music Awards ceremony

The release of Jepsen's second album was postponed to allow "Call Me Maybe" to spread in popularity, although 604 Records issued a six-track EP, Curiosity, in February 2012 in Canada.[16] "Call Me Maybe" peaked at number one on the Canadian Hot 100, making Jepsen the fourth Canadian artist to top the chart.[21] In the United States, the single spent nine weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, earning the title of "Song of the Summer" from Billboard magazine.[22] "Call Me Maybe" topped the charts in 18 countries, including the United Kingdom, where it was the year's second best-selling single.[23] It was the best-selling single of 2012 worldwide, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).[24]

Jepsen recorded a duet with Owl City, "Good Time", which was released as a single in June 2012,[25] the song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and preceded Jepsen's second album, Kiss, which was released in September 2012 and reached top ten chart positions in Australia, the UK, and the US.[18][26] Kiss features songwriting and production contributions from mainstream pop artists including Toby Gad, Matthew Koma, Bonnie McKee, Max Martin, Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara), and LMFAO's Redfoo.[27] The album was certified gold by Music Canada and has sold 289,000 copies in the US; its failure to match the success of "Call Me Maybe" led MTV Hive to write that "Kiss is the best pop album of the year, and nobody is listening".[28][29][30] The album's subsequent single, "This Kiss", was premiered in September 2012, followed by "Tonight I'm Getting Over You" in January 2013; neither became major hits.[29] During late 2012, Jepsen appeared on the fifth-season premiere episode of The CW primetime soap opera 90210 and became a spokesperson for clothing retailer Wet Seal.[31][32]

Jepsen received the Rising Star Award at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, making her the first Canadian recipient,[33] at the 2013 Juno Awards, Kiss won the awards for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year and "Call Me Maybe" won in the Single of the Year category.[34] The single received nominations for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards;[35] in 2013, Jepsen became a spokesperson for clothing/footwear brand Candie's.[36] In June 2013, Kiss: The Remix, a compilation album containing remixes and instrumentals of singles from Kiss, was released exclusively in Japan and peaked at number 157 on the Oricon albums chart.[37] From June to October, Jepsen embarked on The Summer Kiss Tour in support of Kiss, visiting North America and Asia.[citation needed]

2014–present: Emotion, Emotion: Side B and other projects[edit]

Jepsen's third album was tentatively due for an early 2014 release, but she stated that she would not rush the album, instead taking her time to make sure it was of quality,[38] from February 2014, Jepsen assumed the role of Cinderella in the Broadway production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. She played the part for twelve weeks and starred alongside new cast member Fran Drescher.[39] Jepsen spoke of her time on Broadway and taking a break from the music industry: "Being around people who not only didn't care if you were in the pop world but actually preferred if you weren't took my head out of that game in a really healthy way. Suddenly, it wasn't about sitting down and writing a song but having an idea while walking through New York City and thinking 'Where's my phone?'".[40]

In 2014, Jepsen, along with co-writers Josh Ramsay and Tavish Crowe, was the recipient of the International Achievement Award at the annual SOCAN Awards in Toronto.[41]

Jepsen performs in 2016 at the Warfield Theatre, San Francisco stop of her Gimmie Love Tour

Jepsen released her third album's lead single, "I Really Like You", in March 2015.[42] Accompanied by a music video in which actor Tom Hanks lip-synced to the song, it peaked at number 14 in Canada and attained top five and top 40 positions in the UK and US, respectively,[18][43] the following month, Jepsen performed a track titled "All That" on Saturday Night Live that was released to digital stores the next day.[44] The album, titled Emotion, was released in June 2015 and received positive reviews; the album appeared on many publications' year-end albums lists for 2015.[45][46] Emotion peaked at number eight in Canada and at number 16 on the US Billboard 200.[45] The album includes collaborations with Rostam Batmanglij (of Vampire Weekend), Sia Furler, Dev Hynes, Greg Kurstin, and Ariel Rechtshaid.[47] The second single, "Run Away with Me", was released in July.[48]

Jepsen embarked on the Gimmie Love Tour in support of Emotion, playing dates along the east coast of the United States as well as Japan in November 2015.[49] Also during late 2015, Jepsen featured on a new version of Bleachers' song "Shadow"—issued on the compilation album Terrible Thrills, Vol. 2[50]—and released a cover of Wham!'s "Last Christmas".[51] Jepsen played Frenchy in Grease Live, Fox's live television presentation of the musical Grease on January 31, 2016.[52] It was announced on January 15, 2016, that a new song written specifically for Jepsen called "All I Need Is an Angel" was added to Grease Live, it was penned by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey.[53][54] Jepsen recorded the theme song for the Netflix series Fuller House, a remake of the theme to Full House.[55] Also in 2016, she appeared on The Knocks' debut album 55.[56]

Carly was nominated for Fan Choice for the 2016 Juno Awards.[57]

Jepsen released Emotion: Side B on August 26, 2016, the EP contains eight cut tracks from Emotion.[58] The EP has been listed on several end-of-year lists from publications such as Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum, The A.V. Club, MuuMuse.[citation needed]

On May 26, 2017, Jepsen released the single "Cut to the Feeling",[59] the song was originally intended for both Emotion and Emotion: Side B, but was ultimately left off both releases and instead appeared on the soundtrack for the animated film Ballerina, in which Jepsen voices a supporting role.[59]

On August 17, 2017, Katy Perry announced Jepsen as opening act for her Witness: The Tour on dates between January 5 to February 5, 2018 in North American leg.[60]

Artistry and influences[edit]

Jepsen said that she shares her parents' interest in folk music as a result of her upbringing, naming artists such as Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, and Van Morrison as inspirations for her debut album, Tug of War (2008).[61][62] During the recording of her EP Curiosity and her second album, Kiss (both 2012), Jepsen said that she became increasingly influenced by pop and dance music, in particular the works of Dragonette, Kimbra, La Roux, and Robyn.[62][63][64] Her third album, Emotion (2015), drew from her love of pop music from the 1980s and the "old-school" albums of Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, and Prince.[47][65] Jepsen has also expressed admiration for Cat Power, Christine and the Queens, Tegan and Sara,[66] Bleachers, Bob Dylan, Sky Ferreira, Dev Hynes, Solange Knowles, Joni Mitchell, Sinéad O'Connor, the Spice Girls, and Hank Williams.[65][67][68]

Activism[edit]

Jepsen was scheduled to perform at the Boy Scouts of America 2013 National Scout Jamboree, along with the band Train,[69] but in March 2013, both cited the controversy over the BSA policy on gay people as barrier to their performance.[70] Jepsen released a statement that stated, "As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer."[71]

Canadian Idol performances[edit]

Below is a list of Jepsen's performances on Canadian Idol.[72][73]

Episode Song choice Order # Result
Audition "Sweet Talker" (original) N/A Advanced
Top 80 "I Try" Duets Advanced
Top 40 "Breathe (2 AM)" N/A Advanced
Top 22 "Put Your Records On" 11 Advanced
Top 18 "Sweet Ones" 4 Advanced
Top 14 "Waiting in Vain" 3 Advanced
Top 10 "Inside and Out" 3 Bottom 3
Top 9 "Georgia on My Mind" 5 Safe
Top 8 "Torn" 7 Safe
Top 7 "Killer Queen" 3 Bottom 3
Top 6 "Come to My Window" 4 Bottom 3
Top 5 "Chuck E's in Love" 4 Safe
Top 4 "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" 1 Safe
"I Got It Bad (and That Ain't Good)" 5
Top 3 "At Seventeen" 3 Eliminated
"White Flag" 6

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Television
Year Title Role Notes
2007 Canadian Idol Herself/contestant Season 5; finished in 3rd place
2012 90210 Herself Season 5 premiere: "Til Death Do Us Part"
2013 Shake It Up Herself Season 3, episode 10: "My Fair Librarian It Up"
2015 Saturday Night Live Herself/Musical guest Season 40, episode 17
2015 Castle Herself Season 7, episode 22: "Dead from New York"
2015 Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself Season 4, episode 24: "Carly Rae Jepsen Wears a Chunky Necklace and Black Ankle Boots"
2016 Grease: Live Frenchy Special
Film
Year Title Role Notes
2013 Lennon or McCartney Herself Short film; interview clip
2016 Ballerina Odette Voice role
Theatre
Year Title Role Notes
2014 Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella Ella Broadway appearance

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]