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Carly Rae Jepsen enjoys the rush on Justin Bieber's tour

| Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, 5:12 p.m.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Credit: Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen Credit: Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen admitted that she felt a little uneasy when she stepped onstage for her first night opening for Justin Bieber on that teen-star's fall arena tour. It was, after all, her first time performing in such a large venue.

“It was a one song of nerves on the first night, the very first song, where I'm like, ‘Oh my goodness, how's this going to be?'

“Then, it went right back to feeling like home again,” she says. “I don't know, it's funny, you can kind of be a bigger and louder and a more-excited version of everything in arenas like that. It's really kind of satisfying, and the biggest thrill and the biggest rush that I've ever experienced in my life. And, it's a good thing. I want to keep doing it. I can't wait for the next show and the next one. I just want to keep trying to make it better and better.”

Bieber and Jepsen will perform Tuesday at Consol Energy Center, Uptown.

If Jepsen's immediate future is anything like her preceding year, she'll have her chances to keep playing arenas and improving her live show.

Jepsen rocketed into the spotlight earlier this year with the chart-topping single “Call Me Maybe.” Now her first American CD, “Kiss,” is out and “Good Time,” her collaboration with Owl City, recently cracked the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and gave her another shot of momentum.

It's quite a whirlwind for this singer, who, at this time last year ,was still largely unknown outside of her native Canada. She was, though, not a fresh-face newcomer to music, even at that point.

A native of British Columbia, Jepsen, who turns 27 on Wednesday, began pursuing music a year or so after high school. She played pubs around Vancouver when she could and worked jobs, including being a coffee barista and a bartender, to pay the bills.

Jepsen wasn't on the verge of any real breakthrough when, in 2007, her high-school drama instructor suggested she try out for the “Canadian Idol” TV show.

It wasn't until Season 5 that she finally auditioned. She finished third in that season's competition. That led to a record deal and the release in Canada of her 2008 debut CD, “Tug Of War,” which produced a pair of hit singles, “Tug Of War” and “Bucket.”

It would be three more years before Jepsen released more music, but when that next song, “Call Me Maybe,” arrived in September 2011, it would be a game changer. By Christmas time, the song was getting airplay in Canada, where another Canadian star, Bieber, heard it and instantly fell for the song.

He started tweeting about it and then made a viral video parody of “Call Me Maybe” (with Selena Gomez and Ashley Tisdale, among others) that spread like wildfire across the Internet. Soon, Jepsen had signed on with Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, and Bieber's record label, Schoolboy Records, and radio beyond Canada was jumping on the “Call Me Maybe” bandwagon. The song became more than a hit. It was a phenomenon, going No. 1 in 37 countries, including the United States, where it held the top spot on Billboard's Hot 100 for nine weeks, and being endlessly parodied by a variety of groups on the Internet.

“Call Me Maybe” was included on the six-song EP, “Curiosity,” which was released this past February, and makes a return appearance on “Kiss.” “Good Time” (which is also on the new Owl City CD, “The Midsummer Station”) is also featured on “Kiss.” And the rest of “Kiss” sticks to the playful dance-pop of those two songs, as Jepsen sings her way through 10 additional tracks that include cheery uptempo tunes like “This Kiss,” “Turn Me Up” and “Hurt So Good” and an occasional ballad, like “Beautiful,” which features guest vocals from Bieber.

Jepsen's opening set on Bieber's “Believe” tour will feature many of the songs from “Kiss.”

“We've definitely been having a lot of fun creating the show,” Jepsen says. “We really focused in on wanting the music to feel great. So, we've been perfecting the songs as best we can and making a set list that feels like home.”

Alan Sculley is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

A Bieber primer

Justin Bieber, often affectionately called “The Biebs,” became a huge hit a few years ago, especially with tween-age girls. Now 18, the Ontario native is filling up big venues with fans on his tour, which he will bring to Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

• As a young teen in 2007, Bieber posted homemade YouTube videos of himself performing his version of songs from artists including Stevie Wonder, Ne-Yo and Usher. His videos drew more than 10 million views from word of mouth.

• Marketing executive Scooter Braun flew the 13-year-old to Atlanta, where he met Usher. Justin Timberlake and Usher offered to sign Bieber, and Usher's offer was better.

• In 2008, Bieber officially signed with Island Records and put out his first album, “My World,” in 2009. The album — the first half of a two-part set — went platinum, and included the singles “One Time” and “First Dance.”

• In 2010, Bieber released “My World 2.0,” which is the second half of the debut album. This record includes the hits “Baby,” “Never Let You Go” and “U Smile.”

• Last year, Bieber starred in the movie “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” a part-biopic, part-concert film that grossed more than $98 million worldwide.

• Bieber's second studio album, the Christmas record “Under the Mistletoe,” debuted at No. 1 in November 2011 on the Billboard 200.

• His latest album, “Believe,” also debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in June, and includes the hit single “Boyfriend.”

Source:; Tribune-Review research

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