Carly Rae Jepsen On The Brilliance Of Leonard Cohen, Fun. & More

Think you know everything about pop singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen? So did, until she sat down for an interview with us and out came a list of her very unexpected musical influences. That Jepsen girl goes deeper, musically, than “Call Me Maybe” lets on.

It’s not that she doesn’t like pop music — in fact, Jepsen says she’s in love with it. But we asked her what she listens to when she’s sad and it turns out Jepsen likes a good wallow with some folk music. Jepsen name-checked underground British electro-folkie James Blake, namely his cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “A Case Of You,” as a particular deep-dive into sadness favorite.


“When I had my first real big, bad break-up, I totally embraced the sadness for awhile. If anything I kind of romanced it. Like I drew the long bubble baths and I had the glass of wine and I listened to Cat Power on repeat to the point where everything was sad and beautiful,” Jepsen recounted, laughing.

Jepsen is known for being a songwriter in her own right, earning a Song of the Year GRAMMY nomination for “Call Me Maybe.” She told us that her songwriter crushes, the people whose melody and lyrics are a point of infatuation for her, include a broad range: fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell, Robyn, Kimbra, Dragonette, LaRoux and fun. Throughout 2012, fun. (along with Gotye) remained Jepsen’s biggest chart competitor, with the trio eventually winning out over Jepsen for the Song of the Year GRAMMY with “We Are Young.”

“I really, really am inspired by the band fun., who made it huge this last year,” Jepsen said. “I like that they break a bit of the regular song structures for pop music and yet it still works. It works even better because it’s unexpected.”

And then there’s Leonard Cohen. Find it hard to imagine the girl who opens for Justin Bieber listening to the man whose songs take depression and sexuality to the next level of stark frankness? She loves him.

“Actually, believe it or not, with my boyfriend [singer-songwriter] Matthew Koma, [Leonard Cohen] was one of our first clicks,” Jepsen said. “We’re driving home, and we’re both making a pop record together. And he’s asking me who my favorites are and I’m like, ‘Leonard Cohen,’ and he’s like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ That’s one of his favorites, too. That was our first kind of spark right there.”

Jepsen recently released her new single, “Take A Picture,” co-written by some of the most important people in her life: the fans.

More from Courtney E. Smith

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