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Carly Rae Jepsen on ‘Call Me Maybe’ Karaoke and Her Personal Songs of Summer

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Like most of America, Vulture spent the summer of 2012 blasting Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” on repeat.  We wrote love letters; we campaigned against all other Song of Summer contenders. (We did not make parody videos, because everyone at home had that covered.)  So on the occasion of her first full album (Kiss, out today), Vulture could not pass up an opportunity to actually speak with Carly Rae Jepsen — even if she were perhaps a little talked-out after six months of promoting one song. Here are the results of our ten-minute phone conversation.

How long did it take to make “Call Me Maybe”?
Tavish [my guitar player] and I were kind of on the road together, just kind of jamming it out, and we got the idea to one of our mutual good friends, Josh Ramsay, and he helped us kind of popify it and added those strings in production and stuff. The full writing, mix, and production on that song I don’t think took more than four or five days. There are certain songs — when I work on them it will feel a little bit like a wrestling match and it will take eight months even before I’ve really settled with it.  But “Call Me Maybe” was one of those really easy ones.

How many times a day do you think you hear that song now? Can you give me a number?
I actually don’t hear it too often. But I’ve definitely sung it a number of times.

Have you gotten sick of it yet? You can be honest.
So far, so good. I mean, my grandma once said to me when I was a little girl, you know, “be careful of the songs that you write or sing. You never know, you might be singing them for the rest of your life.” And, man, was she right.

Do you walk around with it in your head?
I actually had another kind of lucky thing happen where in the middle of having to be promoting “Call Me Maybe” I was also at crunch time to finish my record. So if anything, those were stuck in my head more than it was. It balanced itself out really naturally.

A friend of mine wondered if you had any karaoke tips for someone attempting to do “Call Me Maybe.”
Oh, my version of karaoke is a totally different version of performing. I go up there and I purposefully just try to make a fool of myself, and I think that’s okay. You’re not supposed to go up there and be taken seriously, you’re supposed to go up there and have fun.

Do you have any karaoke staples?
I think Madonna is classic. You can’t go wrong with some Madonna at karaoke. And I have a hard time embracing the stage solo style. If you’re going to get me in karaoke it’s like a group of girls are coming with me and we’re going to make fools of ourselves together.

What about Song of Summer? You won the public contest, but did you have a personal favorite?
In my own life I don’t think I ever just have one song of summer. I have like a playlist. I’ve really started embracing Kimbra, this sort of New Zealand artist, recently. I have this ongoing love affair with Robyn lately, so I would say that those two soundtracks have really taken over my summer playlist.

People seem very surprised to learn that you’re 26 years old. Does that bother you?
No, I think it’s the opposite. It’s extremely flattering. What woman doesn’t want to hear that she looks younger?

You’re about to go on tour with Justin Bieber. This is your first time on tour with him, right?
Yes. I’ve been on shows with him, but not like a full-fledged tour yet, so this will be a whole new deal.

Are you nervous about going on tour with an 18-year-old boy?
[Laughs] I’m really stoked. I love his album, and I know his whole crew of people and they’ve definitely become like family to me, so it’s going to be good.

Carly Rae Jepsen on ‘Call Me Maybe’ and Karaoke