Carly Rae Jepsen gets candid about how she created her third album

Carly Rae Jepsen gets candid about how she created her third album

The Canadian singer-songwriter talks about her new single, I Really Like You, getting Tom Hanks to do some goofy dancing, and trying to explore Hong Kong


Carly Rae Jepsen is all about the singing, less about the dancing.
Carly Rae Jepsen is all about the singing, less about the dancing.
Photo: Universal Music

Walk into any clothing shop and you'll probably hear Carly Rae Jepsen's uber-catchy I Really Like You playing in the background. After 10 seconds, Young Post can guarantee it will be stuck in your head.

By keeping a cool head after the success of Call Me Maybe, the Canadian singer has broken the one-hit wonder curse. I Really Like You, released in March, hit number 39 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

But getting a second hit out wasn't easy. When none of the other tracks from her 2012 album Kiss turned out to be magical singles, Jepsen took a step back and performed on Broadway while spending time turning diary entries into hundreds of songs.

She then put her work to a ruthless vote among friends, family and label mates, and finally came up with the line-up for her third album, Emotion, which is due out in June.

Sitting with Young Post at a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, Jepsen chats excitedly about the new album. She's clearly proud of her work, but she's humble. She's still "learning as she goes" when it comes to songwriting. And she still can't believe her luck that Tom Hanks volunteered to star in the video for I Really Like You.

Fortune struck when Jepsen's manager, Scooter Braun, mentioned her idea to Hanks over dinner one evening. "Scooter was like, 'I have an artist, Carly Rae Jepsen, and she's been stalking all of these different male celebrities that she has in mind to basically lip-sync in her video.' They were laughing about it and Tom said, 'Why didn't you ask me?'," laughs Jepsen.

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"And I had, I'd been politely stalking a couple of people on my list." Her idea was to have someone completely unexpected singing her song. Not Justin Bieber, but someone "dry and comedic"; someone older who would not be considered a love interest. The song itself was already so sugary sweet that she couldn't stand more sweetness in the video. She wanted it to be funny, and Hanks did just that - he goes on Tinder, jokes about being pregnant, sings with hysterical gusto and dances goofily.

"It's a competition between me and Tom as to who's actually worse at dancing. The choreographer came [to us] and said, on step three you're gonna do this … on my count here we're gonna do that … and Tom and I were like, 'Do you realise that none of that's going to happen? We'll try, but at best you'll have us just walking towards the camera with … enthusiasm," says Jepsen, hastily declining Young Post's request for her to show off some moves. But she reveals her favourite song to dance to: Estelle's American Boy.

Perhaps because he knew she'd be hopeless, Bieber himself dropped in to contribute some moves to the final dance scene. He's been supportive of Jepsen since he heard Call Me Maybe, and his star-studded lip sync videos of her two hits did wonders to boost their popularity. "He's got my back," says Jepsen.

Does the 29-year-old feel she's getting too old for songs about teenage crushes? "God, I hope not! That sounds horrible!" she exclaims. "I Really Like You is pointedly young … at the beginning of a relationship you kind of all revert to that silly ridiculousness," she says.

Still, with Emotion, she hopes to prove that she can also deliver more mature elements. Slow jam All That is an 80s-style ballad with a chilled vibe that couldn't be more different from her bubbly hits. "It was such a journey. [We wrote it] in New York, then LA, then back again. I think when you travel for a song you know there's something to it," says Jepsen.

She's doing a fair bit of travelling - just an hour after the interview she was due to be on a plane again - but she's yet to experience Hong Kong. "I've been locked in here, they won't set me free!" she moans. "Maybe when I come back for a tour it'll be a lot easier." Call us, maybe?

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Call us next time, Carly


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