Carly Rae Jepsen is 27 years old. So any notions that she's about the same age as, or even younger than, 18-year-old Justin Bieber are unfounded.
"It's always shocked me," Jepsen said in a Friday phone interview about how many people think she's just another teenage manufactured pop star. Nevertheless, "It's flattering."
Jepsen, who is just one year removed from packing her bags to open for has-beens Hanson, is now opening for the biggest teen star on the planet.
Bieber will be opening his 2013 concert leg in Salt Lake City Saturday night, and Jepsen will be there to warm up the crowd.
Jepsen is cresting with the success of two singles in the past year: "Good Time," with Owl City, was the feel-good summer song of 2012, while "Call Me Maybe, " with more than 376 million YouTube hits as of Friday afternoon, was the most popular song of the year. Everyone including those buried but in plots less than six feet under have heard (and hummed along to) the infectious string-laden chorus of "Call Me Maybe":
Hey, I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me, maybe?
Jepsen grew up in the small hamlet of Mission in British Columbia, about an hour's drive from Vancouver. With the support of her close-knit family and two influential music teachers, she attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria before auditioning for "Canadian Idol."
She finished third in the 2007 season of the show, but her big break came when a fellow Canadian Bieber heard her by happenstance and, based on his recommendations, persuaded his manager Scooter Braun to sign her to Braun's School Boy Records and Interscope in February 2012.
"Call Me Maybe" was already firmly implanted in the center of the zeitgeist when her U.S. major-label debut album "Kiss" was released in September. Most of the songs were co-written by Jepsen, who said she pressed School Boy Records to let her be involved in the songwriting process. "When I first got signed, it was one thing I was holding onto," she said. "It's important for me to be my genuine self."
Also important to Jepsen was helping to shape her own image in the media, which, despite a cover shoot for Cosmopolitan, has remained largely squeaky-clean. She attributed some of her girl-next-door mien to already being closer to 30 than 20 when she hit the big time. The awkward teen years does anyone remember 15-year-old Miley Cyrus' topless photos in Vanity Fair? were behind her.
The whirlwind year Jepsen experienced continued into 2013 when the clock struck midnight, as she was a guest on the heavily apostrophed "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve." On the show, she appeared alongside possibly the only other musician who had a better 2012 than she did: Psy, of "Gangnam Style" fame.
After a few days over the holidays catching up on her sleep and watching the salty HBO Western TV series "Deadwood," Jepsen is ready to jump back on the twister to see if the number 13 is as lucky as 12 was for her. Maybe?
Never say never
Well, unless it's about ticket availability for the Utah Justin Bieber concert with Carly Rae Jepsen
When • Saturday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m.
Where • EnergySolutions Arena, 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City
Tickets • Sold out