Carly Rae Jepsen — whose recent “Call Me Maybe” was the song of the summer — may look like a waif on the cover of her album “Kiss.” But she’s no newbie. Four years ago, after placing third on “Canadian Idol,” the Vancouver native, now 26, issued her first Juno-nominated album “Tug of War,” leading to her discovery earlier this year by Justin Bieber and his manager, Scott “Scooter” Braun. “I remember getting off the show and feeling so desperate to put out a CD of original songs after doing a season of covers,” she says of her folksy debut. “It was like ‘OK, that was fun. But I have a voice and I have some things I want to say.’” Indeed. The pop-friendly “Kiss” is loaded with more potential monsters, like “This Kiss” and “Beautiful,” her duet with Bieber, for whom she opens this weekend.
Is it true that you’re a total chess geek?
Yeah. I wouldn’t say that I’m killer at it, but I love playing chess. My stepfather — he used to actually set up a little chess problem for me by the breakfast table, and I’d try to sort it out before I went to school in the morning. And also, when I was in high school, there was a boy who I had a total crush on who was really good at playing chess — that quiet, solemn type. So I went to my stepfather and said, “You’re going to have to teach me how to play this game again.” So he taught me everything he could, and one day I got brave and went over to said boy and offered him a game.
Did you crush him like an insect? N
o. I totally lost. But eventually he asked me out, so I felt like that was a victory in itself. Now I always have a traveling board with me on the road. But the problem is, nobody in my band likes to play. And my personal assistant sucks at it, so I win every single time. Which can be an awesome feeling, but it gets old.
You haven’t met any other musicians who like to play?
Not really. And I don’t like computer chess — that’s not my scene. So I’m on the search. If you can find any artist who likes to play a good game of mediocre chess, I’m their girl.
“Call Me Maybe” has morphed into so many cover versions and sendups. What’s your favorite?
The last one that I really fell in love with was the Cookie Monster one — it was soooo cute! He does this spoof on cookies, and how you should share them, maybe.