Justin Bieber's current European tour may not have been the smoothest, but opening act Carly Rae Jepsen is fully enjoying her world travels. "I'm sitting in a café in Paris," she told Rolling Stone as we got on the phone on a recent afternoon. "My parents are here right now, too – I flew them down for the weekend, so they're spending time with me and we're getting to play tourists. We're having a gas."
Jepsen is writing new music and preparing to perform on American Idol's show's season finale. Before the finale, fans will get to vote on every aspect of her performance.
"It's going to be this sort of mass collaboration with the fans, so basically it wasn't just writing one song, it was like writing one song with three different versions," she explained. "It was like those storybooks where there are alternate endings. The whole concept was we would create a song that all of the elements of the performance could be voted on – the clothing the dancers wear, the background, the setting of the stage design, the lighting, everything. I liked the idea. I actually spent three days cooped up in my hotel room in the Bahamas, mapping out this idea of a song called 'Take a Picture.'"
Jepsen has no idea which way the fans will go, and that's part of what excites her about this unique performance. "It's going to be kind of fascinating for me to see what the outcome is. Being the opinionated woman and artist I am, I definitely have my favorite," she said. "It'll be interesting to see if I have the same opinion as the masses."
Jepsen, who has been a true frequent flier lately, with multiple trips between California and Europe, is making the most of her travel time. "I actually write a lot of my song lyrics on the plane," she said. "And sometimes if I get an idea I'll run to the bathroom and try and record it in my phone quick."
After all those transcontinental trips she has a wealth of new material, though she's not sure where those songs are going yet. "I don't know if I'm writing for my album or if I'm writing to just write, but I definitely have a small little library of songs that I'm collecting," she said. "I like to just write to write, and then when CD time approaches you can pick the flowers from the weeds and see which ones were keepers."
Jepsen, who just released the single and video for "Tonight I'm Getting Over You," will come back to the States for a summer tour. on which she plans to test out some of her new material. "I usually can't keep any secrets in, so we'll have written a song that day and we'll want to showcase it that night," she said. "I would say yeah, you could expect that for sure."
After opening for Bieber, she's ready for the next step. "I've definitely been learning a lot from getting to open for Justin, so I'm excited to create my own little stage show," she said.
While she'll be focused on tour dates, she is going to need an outlet for all of her songs. One idea is to start writing more for other people. She's already found one taker – 14-year-old Madison Beer, who gained recognition when Bieber called her a star, is recording a Jepsen song called "Alice in Wonderland.
"It was kind of a younger-themed idea," Jepsen said, "and I thought it would be nice if she takes a stab at it."
The song was only partially inspired by the classic Lewis Carroll novel. "It was the idea of falling in love. And then I had the thought, 'Once you fall you're like Alice in Wonderland down the rabbit hole. It's definitely one of my favorites, that one, and I've always been a big Disney fan as well. I think my all-time favorite is Beauty and the Beast, if we're going fairy tale here for a second."
That brings up an obvious question: would she ever want to write a musical? "I totally have a fantasy of writing music for a musical one day. That's a life-long goal, definitely," she said. "I have a bunch of friends and very creative people – we've been brainstorming together about the idea. I think it would be such a big project to take on that we couldn't be touring and doing as much as we're all doing at the same time, but maybe later on, if it's a fun project, who knows?"
She was impressed with the recent mash-up of her signature hit "Call Me Maybe" and Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole." "It was really funny," she said. "I've seen a lot of different mockups and versions of 'Call Me Maybe,' but I chuckled. It was definitely creative."
Even better was how she first heard the viral hit. "My dear friend Dave Ogilvie, before we worked together, he had been mixing for Nine Inch Nails. And he had nothing to do with the remix but he was so happy because he was like, 'My two artists, Carly and Nine Inch Nails, together!'"