Despite the 11.5-hour time difference between her previous tour stop in Japan and St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she kicked off a national tour alongside Hedley and Francesco Yates this past Thursday night, Canadian pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen is showing few, if any, signs of jet lag.
Truth be told, however, Jepsen could be forgiven if fatigue was getting the best of her, having spent the bulk of February and March on tour throughout the United States. Her current Canadian trek – touching down at the Moncton Coliseum on Monday night – includes more than 25 shows that will bring her coast-to-coast between now and the start of the Victoria Day long weekend.
As Jepsen reflects on her most recent tour of Japan, she shares that it was one of her favourite tours of the country to date. In addition to having been afforded a couple of days off to enjoy taking in the sights, her devoutly loyal fanbase has made her most recent album E·MO·TION a bonafide blockbuster success.
“My fans have consistently taken the time to shower me with gifts, which they have spent so much time, energy and effort on. It just blows me away with how respectful audiences are in Japan,” she says.
The devotion of Jepsen’s Japenese fanbase seemingly knows no limits. She says that, unbeknownst to her in advance, one of her fans convinced Jepsen’s online community to show the singer exactly how much she is adored:
“In ’Favourite Colour,’ the closing song on E·MO·TION, the chorus is about wanting to feel connected with someone with a line that says, ‘I’m bright baby blue, falling into you.’ A few weeks prior to the show, a young girl had spread an idea through the fan community that everyone in the audience should hold up blue glow sticks when I sing that line so that I could see that my fans were connected to me. I opened my eyes to see this beautiful sea of blue and was just completely caught off guard. It is those types of things that just can’t be put into words and explain how much it means.”
Released last year, Jepsen’s multi-layered E·MO·TION is a watershed moment in what has proven to be an already impressive career. While she could have taken the easy route and crafted a collection of songs in the vein of her 2012 multi-platinum breakout hit “Call Me Maybe,” Jepsen swings for the fences with E·MO·TION.
The album serves as a showcase for her love of early 80’s pop music, but with a lyrical and emotional depth that surprised those who only knew Jepsen from the success of “Call Me Maybe.”
That depth resonated among critics worldwide, with The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time, USA Today and numerous other media outlets proclaiming E·MO·TION as one of 2015’s best releases.
Asked about the three-year span that ended up being wedged between Kiss and E·MO·TION, Jepsen notes that taking the time to collect herself following the massive success of “Call Me Maybe” was a necessity, but adds that it wasn’t a part of some elaborate plan, either.
“The three years between albums wasn’t necessarily deliberate, but I did need to take a bit of a step back and get outside the bubble of the world I had been living in,” Jepsen says.
Stepping outside of the music bubble meant Jepsen was able to dip her toes into the world of theatre. She made her Broadway debut in Cinderella in early 2014, going on to perform in the title role for 12 weeks. More recently, she took part in Fox’s live television production of Grease, taking up the role of Frenchy in the beloved musical.
Jepsen shares those theatrical opportunities ultimately helped bring a greater refinement and focus to her music.
“I’ve always felt there was more than one side to me when it comes to music. I was dying to share new songs with my fans long ago, but just kept writing until I felt that I had landed on the perfect collection of material to comprise E·MO·TION.”
Although sales of her latest record haven’t matched the previous success of Kiss and “Call Me Maybe,” Jepsen has found something arguably more important than album sales: She has cultivated a fanbase that has not only rewarded her with sold-out shows, but has also ensured that she will not be relegated to the one hit wonder bin.
“It has been amazing to see the transition at my live shows,” Jepsen says. “A couple of years ago, it used to be about people waiting just to hear ‘Call Me Maybe,’ but now, the audience is singing along to all of the songs. I couldn’t be happier about that.”
What: Carly Rae Jepsen with Hedley, Francesco Yates
When: Monday April 11, 7 p.m.
Where: Moncton Coliseum, 377 Killam Dr., Moncton
Tickets range from $35 to $75 plus service charges. Advance tickets are available at the Coliseum Box Office, by phone (506) 857-4100 and online at tickets.moncton.ca.