“I might be a bit of a love addict,” Carly Rae Jepsen admits. “My girlfriend pointed this out to me, she was like ‘you’re in love with love — not for just being in love. You’re in love with all of the stages of love. You love the breakup, you love the pain of it, you love the beginnings, you love the deepness of it.'”
We meet at Carly’s label office in Sydney. She’s wearing a matching cloud print suit — a joyous contrast to the clinical minimalism of the lobby we talk in. It’s the middle of her debut Australian tour. A tour that Carly Rae Jepsen devotees were unsure they were ever going to see.
It’s a few days after her Sydney show, one of the best evenings of my entire life. In the interest of radical transparency, I am a devoted disciple at the church of Carly Rae Jepsen.
A sacred ritual I have carried through my early adult life is ushering in new years and birthdays at the strike of midnight to the soaring sax riff of ‘Run Away With Me’. This is the kind of memento-like feeling that the music of Carly Rae Jepsen incites. Her music makes you feel like your feelings are worth documenting, honouring and treasuring.
Carly’s Sydney show was unbridled glittery euphoria. For many Carly tragics, the evening was eight years in the making. It’s been months now and I still recall the palpable anxious energy that permeated through the Enmore Theatre before Carly took the stage. The kind of nervousness one could liken to pre-date jitters. We were all on the precipice of an emotionally revelatory experience.
“When I went on stage in Sydney I was like ‘alright, let’s have a party’. Everyone came out to celebrate,” she recalls.
“It gives in return,” Carly muses. “It helps me to have confidence and lose my inhibitions. It’s a space that’s safe. It’s like “be yourself, be unique, be crazy, be weird, be all the things at once, just let loose tonight.
“That’s a feeling I hope to carry with every show that we do.”
Carly Rae Jepsen is the antithesis of the aloof, apathetic, and painfully lonely modern love we’ve been conditioned to accept. In Jepsen’s world, love is beautiful and exciting and strange and brave. Love is celebrated, not cowered from. It is not abusing the “like” feature on Instagram DMs out of fear that communicating with actual words will come across as too much. It is standing outside the window of your crush’s house, boombox blaring, heart-on-your-sleeve romance.
In a time where pop music is so intensely cool, we find ourselves yearning for unabashedly earnest, embarrassing depictions of love.
“I am fascinated with the subject of what it is to connect with another human being like that,” she explains. “That intimacy really excites me. Even if I wasn’t writing songs about it I think I would still have a similar fascination with the subject.”
The career arc of Carly Rae Jepsen is one of pops more unconventional success stories. Transcending from light-folk, to saccharine radio-darling, to critically-lauded love song auteur. I ask Carly how that experience has been, “Strange and wonderful. I didn’t expect it.”
“I didn’t know what I was expecting with Emotion and with Dedicated,” she explains. “I think I was really certain that whatever I did musically I would have to make sure I was really passionate about.
“I wanted to figure out what it was about pop that I was attracted to. I didn’t come from the land of pop musically, but I knew I was attracted to it. It was this world that I was scared and excited to explore.”
She explains that she harnessed the power of feeling everything through the music of the eighties. “When I finally took some time to get into what it was, I discovered the eighties, I love how emotional it got,” she laughs. “I love that people were just so extreme about every feeling basically. I was like “’I found my people’.”
Nonstop feeling is the bedrock of the Carly Rae Jepsen community.
“I feel like that’s been the gift of this, by being really honest about that I’ve ended up finding a community of people who feel as extreme as I do. I feel very lucky.”