Pop Culture

A Little Alone Time with Carly Rae Jepsen

And while Jepsen stuck mostly with playing homage to her existing hits—for the encore, she brought out Isabella Boylston, the principle dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, to pirouette across the stage to “Cut to the Feeling”—in just a few weeks, her next studio album, The Loneliest Time, will hit the airwaves on October 21 (yes, that October 21), and we admit that it’s a pretty leading question to be asking, in 2022, about any global or personal inspirations for putting out an album about solitude.

“I think even before COVID hit, we were kind of forced into our own little worlds of isolation to a degree,” she says. “I definitely was battling my relationship with loneliness as a touring artist. My job requires this really extreme sort of lifestyle where I get to be in stages, and I get to kind of be around people, but it’s a really isolating feeling because you always kind of feel a little, you know, unseen.” Jepsen continues: “When COVID happened, I was forced to really look at my life choices. I was sort of like, ‘I have so much of a career going on, and I really love that it fuels me, but I haven’t put a ton of energy into my personal life, and haven’t put a ton of energy into even the home that I have been living in.”

The resulting introspection led Jepsen into a fascination with the concept of sitting with oneself and working, of course, on the most important relationship of all. This is the pop star behind hits like “Party For One,” “Solo,” and “Your Type,” of course, so making loneliness sound kind of romantic has never not been the brand. As Jepsen reminds me: “I think loneliness can spark you to join a club that you’d never go, or join a dating app that you’d never use, or rekindle a friendship, or try a relationship on that might not necessarily be what you thought you needed, but maybe is exactly what you need. It really is like loneliness that leads to deep human connection.”

Which leaves just one question left: if we’re all listening to Carly Rae Jepsen when we’re a little too solitary, to whom does one of our generation’s preeminent queens of heartbreak herself turn to when she’s alone?

“A lot of jazz,” she says. “It’s calming, it’s beautiful. I had somebody asked me the other day, ‘Do you do it on purpose when you try to make sad things beautiful?’ I think that’s what I’m attracted to what Billie Holiday does so well. She can sing about the craziest, most heartbreaking thing—whatever it is, she finds a poetry to it. If that is not the plight of every artist, to find the poetry to the painful things in life, then I don’t know what the point of our job is, really.”

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