After her stint with Canadian Idol (she made the Top 3), Mission, British Columbia’s Carly Rae Jepsen released her debut album, with the assistance of Canadian songwriter Ryan Stewart, which spawned two Top 40 GOLD singles, “Tug of War” and “Bucket” and was nominated for a pair of JUNO awards. These milestones attracted the attention of Vancouver-based label 604 Records. Yet, as a singer, songwriter, and musician Carly walked down a path of uncertainty as to whether or not such a profession would enable her to earn a living in an industry bustling with thousands of talented artists.
At some point, she hit it off musically with Marianas Trench frontman Josh Ramsay and assembled a backing band which included guitarist Tavish Crowe. Although Carly had grown up listening to the folk rock of James Taylor, Jann Arden, and Rickie Lee Jones, which had influenced her musical direction, experimentation and collaborations with her new associates attracted her to a catchy pop vibe that got people dancing. Carly’s new material was tweaked by her team until she was satisfied with the quality.
In September 2011, Carly Rae Jepsen released the single “Call Me Maybe”. It was eventually picked up by local radio stations in Vancouver like Virgin 95.3. She embarked on a mini-tour of western Canada to promote the song. As radio airplay began spreading eastward, the song debuted on the Canadian Billboard Hot 100 and began its climb. Carly was excited when the song entered the Top 40.
When “Call Me Maybe” was just outside the Top 20, something happened that floored her. On Twitter, Justin Bieber (who has the 2nd highest number of followers in the world), tweeted to his 17+ million fans, “Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen is perhaps the catchiest song I’ve ever heard”. His girlfriend, recording artist Selena Gomez “seconded the motion” by endorsing it on Twitter as well. As it turns out, Bieber heard the song on the radio while in Canada for his Christmas concert.
Carly’s song made it to number one on the Canadian Billboard Hot 100 on February 3, 2012 and became a multi-platinum single. Carly wanted to share her song with the rest of the world but was unsure of how to release it internationally, being on a local record label. This obstacle was overcome, however, when she was contacted by Justin Bieber’s management team. Justin had begged Scooter Braun of Schoolboy Records to sign Carly. He checked her out and agreed with Bieber that she was superstar material. They offered her a deal which she accepted and her song was released internationally through Interscope / Universal.
As it had in Canada, “Call Me Maybe” went to number one on the official singles chart of Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Hungary, Switzerland, France, and The Czech Republic; moreover, it entered the chart at #1 in the United Kingdom.
In the world’s most lucrative music market, the United States, however, it climbed the charts more slowly. Although visiting Europe and Australasia, Carly focussed most of her time on a radio tour of the United States and the occasional performance/concert to promote her single. A number of celebrities, like Katy Perry, began catching on to the song and uploaded videos of their backing it to YouTube.
For several weeks, “Call Me Maybe” was stuck at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, as Gotye’s novelty hit occupied the #1 spot. Today, however, Carly Rae Jepsen, managed to hit #1 on the chart.
The last time a Canadian artist topped the American Billboard Hot 100 was five years ago back in May 2007 (Avril Lavigne’s ”Girlfriend”). More recently Drake was featured in Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” which topped the chart in November 2010.