Carly Rae Jepsen is about to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. “You got me with the ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ thing,” she laughs, after I endorse the off-day team activity. “I’m really bad at skipping out on those.” That’s how the Canadian pop star spends a day off: suspended over 400 feet in the air. I didn’t hear a hint of anxiety through the phone that day, a bold eagerness powered every impassioned what-if. Getting perspective at such a high peak in a foreign country is one way to cap off an impressive year like this one—the breeze and sun meeting on your skin like the leads of a rom-com, the decade of love story culminating in that one brave moment.
Could you imagine a more perfect place to reflect?
Then again, that kind of thrill-seeking shouldn’t be a surprise from an artist who regularly lays it all on the line. On 2012’s Kiss, curiosity powered her foray into the decade, pushing Jepsen into a sort of viral voodoo with the inescapable proto-meme “Call Me Maybe” and the risky love of “Wrong Feels So Right”. Three years later, she continued chasing passion at all costs with the reckless romance of E•MO•TION; she was ready to have you “Run Away With Me”, to tell you that “I Really Really Like You”. She had the courage to admit her feelings whilst also questioning yours. Over hundreds of performances across five continents this decade, in the midst of those grand hooks and arena-uniting pop, listening to Carly Rae Jepsen is like having her whisper straight to your heart.
As with all love, there are moments of clarity amidst heartbreak, the aftermath offering a rare opportunity for self-discovery. The pain and loss fashion into a barometer for rebuilding who you are without that love—even if it’s only stuck together with bobby pins and Post-Its. And after nine years of music powered by climbing that damn mountain, 2019’s Dedicated finds Jepsen reaffirming her self and navigating life in the wake of a lost love. There’s pain, sure, but there’s also a new clarity, new love, growth, power. The record is a beautiful meditation on life lived well, a full and intimate distillation of how pop music can capture so many facets of human connection; Jepsen invites you to use your story as an engine, not an anchor.
There isn’t a better person to celebrate the past 10 years and look forward to the heights of the next decade. Jepsen spoke with Consequence of Sound about embracing oneself and the art that defined her last 10 years.