- Last Updated: 11:22 AM, May 27, 2012
- Posted: 8:47 PM, May 26, 2012
If Justin Bieber hadn’t been washing dishes at his mother’s house at a particular time on a particular day, American might have one less pop music sensation.
According to Carly Rae Jepsen, that’s exactly what the superstar was doing when he heard her single, “Call Me Maybe,” on Canadian radio last December, and tweeted about it to his millions of followers. Such is the power of the Bieb: When he tweets about you, he changes your life.
Jepsen, whose hit single can be found on “Curiosity,” a six-song EP she released in February, has had some success in her home country of Canada. The Mission, British Columbia native placed third on “Canadian Idol” in 2007, and was nominated for two 2010 Juno Awards (the Canadian version of the Emmys) for songs from her 2008 release, “Tug of War.”
But the ongoing Bieber blessing — he has since signed her to Schoolboy Records, the label he runs with his manager; released a now-viral video of him and other famous friends lip-syncing to Jepsen’s bouncy confection; and announced her as the opening act on his upcoming tour — has given the 26-year-old supersized American success, as the now-platinum song reached No. 1 on the iTunes chart, and just hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“I was listening to the radio and her song came on, and I was like, ‘Who is this?’” Bieber told Ellen DeGeneres in March, when he introduced Jepsen on her show. “I looked her up and saw all the stuff she’s done, and she’s really talented.”
Jepsen first learned about Bieber’s star-making tweet when her 19-year-old sister Katie called her in hysterics.
“She was on Twitter and he had just tweeted, and she just made no sense, like, ‘Ahhhh! Justin! Ahhhh! Bieber!’” says Jepsen. “I got her to calm down, and I was like, ‘What’s wrong?’ And she’s like, ‘No no no — Justin tweeted your song!’”
The whirlwind to follow found her signed to Schoolboy within two months, and then Bieber had a second surprise in store: a video of himself, girlfriend Selena Gomez, Ashley Tisdale and members of Big Time Rush all dancing, lip-syncing, and generally goofing around to the song.
The video went viral, scoring one million views in 24 hours. Now that number is more than 40 million (and counting).
Two days after the video posted, Jepsen finally met Bieber at a recording studio in LA, where the pop idol had yet another surprise in store.
“We spent some time talking and hearing songs from his new album, and on the fourth song he’s like, ‘Do you like this song? If you like it, I was thinking maybe you would wanna sing on it.’”
Half an hour after they met, Jepsen was in a recording booth, unexpectedly laying down vocals for Justin Bieber’s new album as he and his entourage looked on — at least at first.
“He’d already recorded his part, so I was harmonizing with his parts,” says Jepsen, who is sworn to secrecy about the song’s details, including the title. “He was there for parts of it, [but] at one point they left the room, because I’m sure they could sense I was nervous.”
Since then, Jepsen’s life has gone bonkers, as “Call Me Maybe” has become an unstoppable Internet force. Inspired by the Bieber/Gomez clip, homemade videos of the tune have become a new meme, with versions popping up by everyone from Katy Perry to the Harvard University baseball team.
“One of my favorites, [‘Call Me Maybe Obsessed’], has these two macho football guys doing this spoof on how they both have a secret guilty pleasure of listening to the song,” she says, “and they have all these experiences where they deny they like it, but then they’re secretly dancing behind closed curtains. It’s adorable.”
Jepsen’s Bieber-driven success has not been limited to North America, as the song has topped charts in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Norway. That led to Jepsen’s worldwide publicity tour.
“It’s been a dream of mine to travel Europe as an adult since I went there when I was 11, but I never imagined I’d be there for music,” she says. “I spent seven days in London, did a couple of photo shoots there, then went to Germany, France and Australia. I think the travel has been the best part of all this, to be honest.”
While Jepsen enjoys her new dream-come-true life, she’s about to face her greatest challenge: opening for Bieber, and facing his rabidly-dedicated fans, in arena-sized venues. As she has throughout this, Jepsen is doing her best to stay calm and focus on the music, while also reveling in every minute of the thrilling success that the great and mighty Bieb has bestowed upon her.
“The bigger [the show], the less nervous I get. It’s hard to believe the amount of people, so I just feed off the energy of the band, and just go out there and sing,” she says. “I always have this scared moment for the first 30 seconds of any song, no matter if there’s five people in the crowd or 20,000. But as soon as I get past that, it’s pure joy.”
WATCH THE "CALL ME MAYBE" VIDEO: