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Interview:
Carly Rae Jepsen -- call her For Sure
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

» See more SOUND CHECK

Thanks to her smash hit "Call Me Maybe," things have been pretty for-sure for Carly Rae Jepsen during the past couple of years.

The single itself hit No. 1 in both the U.S. and Jepsen's native Canada and 17 other countries, was iTunes' to-selling of 2012 and has sold more than 13 million copies worldwide. Her second album, "Kiss," went Top 10 in the U.S. and Canada, too, while Jepsen won three Canadian Juno Awards and was nominated for a pair of Grammys. She's also been named a spokesperson for Candie's apparel.

Clearly, Jepsen is having -- as her 2012 collaboration with Owl City suggests -- a "Good Time."

"It's a very enjoyable process," the 27-year-old British Columbia native says by telephone during a rare stop back home. "I think making 'Kiss' was for me one of the newest and most exciting experience of my life, just because it was this amazing smorgasbord of all the producers of my dreams and getting to test out a few things with some different people and make my first worldwide pop album, which was great."

And best of all, she adds, is that she co-wrote 10 of the 12 albums on "Kiss." "That's been the coolest thing," says Jepsen, who "connected to music at a young age," leading to a spot on "Canadian Idol" in 2007 (she finished third) and a debut album, "Tug of War" in 2008 before being signed to Justin Bieber's School Boy Records. "The songwriting aspect is the one thing that never changes and is always there for me. That can be on the back of the tour bus on (Bieber's) Believe tour or at home in my bedroom. It's something that kind of keeps me grounded through all of it."

"Kiss" is continuing to roll via a remix of the track "Tonight I'm Getting Over You" which features a new verse from departing "American Idol" judge Nicki Minaj. "I was looking for someone to feature on the song that felt like the right mix of rebellious and confident and kind of sexy -- sort of all the things you feel when you're gonna do the breakup, and Nicki was the first person who popped into my mind," Jepsen recalls. "I doubted she was going to have time to do it, because she was in the middle of 'Idol' and all her other stuff.

"But she reached back the same day we reached out to her and she was in and it all worked out. And I was so happy with how the song turned out with her verse added. I got to listen to the remix for the first time with my entire family around, so it was really cool."

Jepsen's ride has not been entirely smooth, however. She and her collaborators have been sued for copyright infringement over "Call Me Maybe" and "Good Time" though Jepsen denies both allegations.

"I don't think any of us take it very seriously," she says. "When you have good exposure for a song you're going to have people who are trying to do silly things, and you just can't take it too seriously."

She did pay more heed to the arrest of Christopher David Long, a Canadian man arrested for harassing Jepsen; he recently pleaded guilty to charges of mischief and possession of stolen property. And Jepsen found herself at odds with the Boy Scouts of America, who signed her to perform at this year's National Scout Jamboree. But she bowed out when the organization continued to put limitations on gay participation in its program.

"It just wasn't something I felt comfortable supporting," Jepsen explains. "I believe in equality for everyone. I feel like this sort of stuff needs to stop now. It's been going on way longer than it should be an issue to begin with. I'm hoping that moments like this do put a bit more light on the subject."

But Jepsen prefers not to weigh in too heavily on the various controversies swirling around her friend, duet partner and "boss" Bieber these days.

"I actually am so out of the loop on any of that, to be honest," she says. "People are constantly asking me, 'Is Justin OK?' I feel like Justin's, like, a guy who's working hard every day, and I think the media can sometimes be a little brutal. I stand by him. I support him. I think he's a good guy, and he's doing the best he can."

Jepsen, meanwhile, is now doing her best to balance her first headlining tour and work on her next album, which is already in progress. She has several new songs already in motion and is teaming with hitmaker Benny Blanco and some Canadian "no names" -- some of whom also worked on "Kiss" -- for more material. Jepsen and company will be working on the set while she's touring this summer, with an eye towards having something to release, which she promises will be another "pop" album, in 2014.

"I know it's not going to be an easy thing," Jepsen acknowledges. "It'll definitely be a challenge, but the challenge never feels like pressure. It feels kind of exciting and sort of like fun, and I'm looking forward to it becoming my next big obsession and project. I become, like, a total artsy type and I kind of let it be my one big focus for awhile, so I'm getting into that mind set and getting ready to be in creativeland for awhile."

Carly Rae Jepsen, Cher Lloyd, Emblem3 and Zedd perform at Amp Live 8 at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 16, at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester Hills. Tickets are $25-$45 pavilion, $15 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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