Carly Rae Jepsen admitted that she felt a little uneasy when she stepped on stage for her first night opening for Justin Bieber on that teen stars current arena tour. It was, after all, her first time performing in such a large venue.
It was a one song of nerves on the first night, the very first song, where Im like, Oh my goodness, hows this going to be? Jepsen said in a recent phone interview. Then it went right back to feeling like home again. I dont know, its funny, you can kind of be a bigger and louder and a more excited version of everything in arenas like that. Its really kind of satisfying and the biggest thrill and the biggest rush that Ive ever experienced in my life. And its a good thing. I want to keep doing it. I cant wait for the next show and the next one. I just want to keep trying to make it better and better.
That experience will come in handy on July 27, when Jepsen performs for thousands at the fourth annual Boise Music Festival at Expo Idaho. And based on events of the past year, it looks like she may have more shows on big stages in her near future.
Jepsen, of course, rocketed into the spotlight last year with the chart-topping single Call Me Maybe. Since then, shes released her first American CD, Kiss, and Good Time, her collaboration with Owl City, has gone top 10 on the Billboards Hot 100 singles chart and gave her another shot of momentum.
Its quite a whirlwind for this singer, who two years ago was still largely unknown outside of her native Canada. She was, though, not a fresh-faced newcomer to music, even at that point.
A native of Mission, British Columbia, Jepsen, 27, began pursuing music a year or so after high school, playing pubs around Vancouver, B.C., when she could and working jobs (including being a barista and a bartender) to pay the bills.
Jepsen wasnt on the verge of any real breakthrough when in 2007, she talked to her high school drama instructor, who suggested that she try out for Canadian Idol, the counterpart north of the border to the highly popular U.S. version, American Idol.
She was like Carly, I know youre trying everything, but try this. Why not? It could be a bit of exposure. Worst case scenario, you go to audition and it doesnt work and you just keep doing whatever you do, Jepsen recalled, noting that she resisted the idea for a time. It wasnt until season five that I finally caved in to her suggestion and went and tried it.
Jepsen landed on the Canadian Idol television show, eventually finishing third in that seasons competition.
That led to a record deal and the release in Canada of her 2008 debut CD, Tug Of War, which produced a pair of hit singles, Tug Of War and Bucket.
It would be three years before Jepsen released more music, but when that next song arrived in September 2011 in Canada, it would be a game changer. It was Call Me Maybe, and by Christmastime, the song was getting airplay in Canada.
It was on Canadian radio that another Canadian star, Bieber, heard Call Me Maybe and instantly fell for the song. He started tweeting about it and then made a viral video parody of Call Me Maybe (with Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale among others) that spread like wildfire across the Internet. Soon Jepsen had signed on with Biebers manager, Scooter Braun, and Biebers record label, Schoolboy Records, and radio beyond Canada was jumping on the Call Me Maybe bandwagon. The song became more than a hit. It was a phenomenon, going No. 1 in 37 countries, including the United States, where it held the top spot on the Billboard 100 for nine weeks.
Call Me Maybe (which was included on the Curiosity EP) makes a return appearance on Kiss. Good Time (which is also on the current Owl City CD, The Midsummer Station) is also featured on Kiss. And the rest of Kiss sticks to the playful dance-pop of those two songs, as Jepsen sings her way through 10 additional tracks that include cheery up-tempo tunes like This Kiss, Turn Me Up and Hurt So Good, and an occasional ballad like Beautiful, which features guest vocals from Bieber.
Jepsens live show features many of the songs from Kiss.
While she said there are a few visual bells and whistles to her show, the focus is on the music Jepsen and her band plays during her set.
Weve definitely been having a lot of fun creating the show, Jepsen said. We really focused in on wanting the music to feel great. So weve been perfecting the songs as best we can and making a set list that feels like home.