If you listen to the radio at all, you’re familiar with song “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen. My daughter can’t pronounce the word “horse” but she can sing “before you came into my life I missed you so bad.” Point being, it’s a really catchy song.
I was interested to hear her story on the radio. Jepsen finished third place on Canadian Idol, earned a record deal and was languishing in the liminal spaces where underappreciated artists languish when Justin Bieber chanced upon her song, thought it was one of the best songs he had ever heard, and tweeted his appreciation.
A couple months later he signed her to his record label, posted a lip-synced performance of the song to YouTube accompanied his girlfriend Selena Gomez and some other friends, and enlisted her as the opening act on his world tour. He also made a cameo appearance during her first U.S. performance on the Ellen DeGeneres television program, where he curiously (and repeatedly) referred to her as “my artist.”
Before Bieber’s intervention, the song was #1 in Canada. Post-Bieber the song has been #1 in 15 countries, certified Platinum in seven. If there was ever any doubt that Justin Bieber has the capability to influence, Carly Rae Jepsen substantiates the magnitude of his social power. And he clearly understands it.
It reminds me of the revelation that I felt seeing the movie “The September Issue.” Anna Wintour literally decides seasonal fashion trends. Not only does she influence what people wear but the industries that manufacture clothing and accessories. Justin Bieber may be the Anna Wintour of pop music – he has the capability to influence popular taste far more than American Idol, the Voice and other stalwart vehicles for artist promotion. Justin Timberlake couldn’t make Duran Duran cool again, Jay-Z couldn’t revitalize Def Jam, yet the Biebs leveraged his social following to make Carly Rae Jepsen an international star. Maybe Klout was right to predicate their entire site on comparisons to Bieber.
A couple of lessons: #1 – we all have a minute fraction of Bieber influence in us. Whether it’s advocating really a wonderful artist or business, we have the capability to share things we love with others. If I could do a lip-sync to Michelle Anthony or Winlock Toledo to let the world know how brilliant I think they are I would do it in a second. #2 – if you ever have a chance encounter with Justin Bieber sing him a song. Impress him and you could very well be the next Carly Rae Jepsen.
Not sure the lol was necessary, but who am I to critique the Biebs?
Call me maybe by Carly Rae Jepson is possibly the catchiest song I’ve ever heard lol
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 30, 2011
The dubious Beiber / Gomez lip-sync video
Further proof that Questlove and the Roots are one of the most entertaining bands ever:
A guilty pleasure – had to throw it in there
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