Carly Rae Jepsen reaches new feelings onstage with 'Emotion'

TORONTO -- Despite the success of her 2012 powerhouse pop single "Call Me Maybe," Carly Rae Jepsen has never been happier onstage than she is performing her latest album, the '80s-laced "Emotion.

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"I like it more than I've ever really enjoyed anything, to be honest with you," says the 30-year-old Mission, B.C., native.

"I've always thought singing is one of those thrills that I was quite addicted to from the first time I tried it at age seven, but it's a different thing to be performing these songs. I wasn't expecting to get such a feeling of confidence and power and excitement. I was just wanting the show to be better and better every time that we get onstage.

"And I don't think I've ever felt that way before."

Critics have been equally enthusiastic about the album, which was released in late June. Time magazine placed "Emotion" at No. 4 on its list of the Top 10 best albums of 2015.

Meanwhile, the single "Run Away With Me" came in at No. 2 on New York Times reporter Ben Ratliff's list of the Best Songs of 2015 (behind only "Hotline Bling" by Drake), while Vulture magazine had it at No. 5.

But the plaudits didn't translate into commercial success, with "Emotion" peaking at No. 16 on the Billboard album sales charts and single "I Really Like You" stalling at No. 39 on the Hot 100.

The album also failed to get a Grammy nomination, which many critics derided as a major snub.

But for Jepsen, the critical kudos seem to be enough as she gears up for gigs in Las Vegas (Dec. 30, Dec. 31 and Jan. 2). She'll then perform as Frenchie in Fox's live TV production of "Grease" on Jan. 31, before going on tour.

"It was just such a nice feeling to just get some pride in something that you worked so hard on," said Jepsen of "Emotion."

"I think there's a real freedom now, just knowing that I can let go of any worry of having to prove myself or any of that and just write from the heart in the way that I started this thing."

Jepsen started writing "Emotion" right after she handed in her second album, 2012's "Kiss." However, nuggets of some of the songs "happened way back in the day in Canada," she said, "before 'Call Me Maybe' and everything."

With a team of ace producers and co-writers, she recorded and produced in Los Angeles, Stockholm and New York. The Big Apple recordings came in 2014 as she starred in "Cinderella" on Broadway.

"I'm going to be very aware that I'm going to sound like it's a fairytale, but it was," she said of her Broadway experience.

"It was that old-school, like, 'Show up in New York in the middle of winter with your two bags, you're going to be in a Broadway show,' and I was just like, 'How is this real life?'

"It was really refreshing and I think healthy for me to pop outside of the L.A. bubble for a bit and get myself away, meet new friends and take on a challenge that I was excited to do. It actually really helped unlock some of my guard with writing.

"I started allowing myself to just experiment deeper."

Despite her live theatre experience, Jepsen admitted she is nervous about the broadcast of "Grease," but is ready for it.

"I think I've always gotten off on something that intimidates me," she added.

Frenchie appealed to her because "she's got some sass to her."

"She's got this whole new range of things for me versus playing that girl-next-door role that I'm used to doing," said Jepsen.

"It was exciting to get to wear these tight pencil skirts and pointy bras and smoke fake cigarettes and just be a little bit more scandalous."


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