Carly Rae Jepsen explains what’s special about Jack Antonoff

Queen of Candid Pictures
Image: GP ImagES/Getty Images

Plug Carly Rae Jepsens name into Twitter or Instagram and youll be greeted with a peculiar sight: Dozens and dozens of comments narrating exactly what is literally happening in the photo, and crowning her for it.

Queen of wearing a T-shirt under a dress! proclaims one. Queen of holding a glass of lemonade declares another. Queen, queen, queen.

I dont know when that started, or why that started, or how! Jepsen told Mashable about the social media phenomenon. But its pretty hilarious. My bandmates have begun teasing me about it. Now, Ill be leaning on a wall and theyre like, QUEEN OF LEANING ON A WALL and Im like [exasperated tone] ‘Okay, okay.’… Im actually a little shy about it but its sweet.”

The fan enthusiasm for Jepsen doesnt end there, of course. While best know for her massive, 17-million-copies-sold breakout single Call Me Maybe, since 2015 Jepsen has carved out a unique niche for herself as a pop music savior anointed by the kind of people who spend hours on music blogs.

It’s all thanks to her critically lauded album EMOTION and the follow-up Side B. The 2015 album and subsequent EP explore love, longing, and the painful, wonderful, confusing feeling that happens when you’re stuck between what you want and where you are.

In May, she dropped “Cut to the Feeling,” a song that if you’re doing things properly should be soundtracking every cookout you have this summer, and she’ll mark a new first in August when she voices a character in the animated film Leap!.

Jepsen, who just partnered with M&Ms for a pop-up concert, called up Mashable this week to talk about when we might get to hear more music from her as well as weigh in on singing in the rain and what makes Jack Antonoff so special.

Mashable: What was your first concert that you attended?
Jepsen: James Taylor and Melissa Etheridge! Around the same time. Those were the first concerts my parents took me to see, and as a kid I was really, really into the music that they were listening to; we jammed a lot together as a family and shared music so all the folk legends were the [people I wanted to see]. I can remember crying at James Taylor; just being blown away by getting to see this man who Id fallen asleep listening to my whole life and seeing him in the flesh was crazy.

Thats a really high bar to kick things off for concerts!
Yeah, and Melissa Etheridge was crazy, too. She was running around in a fringe leather jacket and I think for the next few months I would wear only black leather. That was a really weird phase for me!

Do you think youd ever do a folk album?
You know, I think about that a lot. I think theres different types of music that I would dream of getting to play with. Theres a lot of blend going on in the pop world where you can have pop but have elements of other types like folk or more indie-leaning things or [R&B]. So I dont know for sure but I would love to incorporate it in some way, for sure.

Cut to the Feeling” is totally my song of summer. I know it came out of the sessions for EMOTION but can you talk about the writing process and what you wanted to accomplish with that song?
It was a really fun day! You can always tell when a song is going to stick with you in some way because the session is really memorable. The people in the room are having a great time. I think especially with that chorus there was a feeling, we were just dancing as it was happening, as we were writing it. So I think its fitting that now it has made its way home to a dance movie [Leap!] Were pretty stoked about that.

Yeah, and I think it fits thematically with EMOTION and Side B as well. Both those albums had a really distinctive aesthetic, from the sound to the lyrics and themes. Can fans expect more music in that vein or are you looking to go in a different direction with your new album?
I think theres always a part of me that is very attracted to the world of the 80s, but I also have this rebellion against wanting to do exactly what Ive done before. I want to push myself and Ive done that a lot with the writing so far with whatever album Im making next. Ive also found that you can be attracted to one thing but you dont always get there. You land somewhere in the middle or somewhere you werent expecting. At this point, my job is not to try and define it too much but just kind of write what feels good in a direction that feels most exciting.

When can we expect to hear that album?
I have no idea! [laughs] Ill know when it feels right and ready. Im sure sooner or later my label and team will be like, Hurry up! but so far, no pressure so Im just trying to get as many songs as I can and narrow it down from there.

But I need new music!
I know! [laughs] That happened last time too when I was really enjoying my run [on Broadway as Cinderella] and I was getting calls like, Are you ever going to stop being Cinderella?’ Im like, Oh, yeah. I should probably go make an album.

“Theres a good feeling in the rooms and in the crowds and the people that weve collected around us, all wanting to be loving, and joyful and kind. “

Image: courtesy, M&M Spotlight

Youve worked with Justin Bieber and Jack Antonoff. What have you learned about pop from them?
I mean, very different options there [laughs]. Its always great to work with Jack. Jack and me have been working for a while together in different ways and Bieber, Ive never done a writing session with him, but we did do a duet together [and] that was like my first introduction to meeting him. I dont really remember anything, I think I blacked out over how surreal the whole situation was.

But Jack is really fun because hes kind of marking his own territory in terms of artistry. Not always following the rules of what was working before or not necessarily playing everywhere on the radio, but hes making his own little community and I think theres longevity to that and I find it really exciting and inspiring.

So much of EMOTION deals with feelings and longing and the space between friendship and love. I’m wondering: Are you the go-to advice giver among your group of friends or are you the one that is like, seeking out the help?
I think theres kind of a running joke between all of my girlfriends and guy friends that were all really good at dishing out the best advice for what you should do with your life, but its really hard to tell yourself the same advice and to know and have perspective! [laughs] I think its always easier to look at someone else and see where things are going wrong and the direction things should move [and] its always more complicated when you see it in yourself.

My bandmates have begun teasing me about it. Now, Ill be leaning on a wall and theyre like QUEEN OF LEANING ON A WALL

This summer marks five years since “Call Me Maybe.” Whats been the weirdest place in the world youve heard the song?
Its a blur to me. I remember being in LA and having someone send me James Franco doing his version of a lip sync of it. I remember thinking, ‘This is insane! The man who is like the most gorgeous man in the world is doing my song. Pretty stoked. It was crazy.

Ive read so many wonderful essays recently about the role of pop music, particularly your music, in the world in 2017 as escapism. Its clearly a time for your friends in America right now. Im curious as to your thoughts about being able to provide that refuge for people.
Well I hope so and I definitely try and find it for myself. Theres nothing like walking to a studio and sort of have a serious conversation with somebody about everything that is going on, and then looking at each other and then say[ing], ‘OK, today, were going to sing this song and were going to have a blast.’ You need to kind of take breaks like that. Its an escape, and to escape all the time is clearly not a good idea, but there needs to be moments in life [that allow you to relax] too.

Whats your favorite thing to do to escape?
You know, I didnt know this [about myself] but probably one of my favorite moments Ive had in the last couple months was at the Montreal Jazz Festival. It was kind of humid all day and right when we hit the stage it started to rain down, but warm, hot rain. And I got to be out there on the catwalk singing in the warm rain and I dont think theres a better feeling to be honest.

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