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Behind the Video: Carly Rae Jepsen Talks Making the Broadway-Inspired ‘Surrender My Heart,’ Tour Life, and Working With Rufus Wainwright

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At a recent stop on her So Nice tour, Carly Rae Jepsen was in the middle of performing her hit “Cut to the Feeling” with her band and a well-known ballerina on stage at Radio City Music Hall when she had the music video idea for “Surrender My Heart,” the opening track from her new album, The Loneliest Time.

“There was something that sparked in that moment for me of kind of crossing the idea of bringing a ballerina, maybe bringing some other kind of true-blue Broadway stars in line with this project and making it a crossing of worlds in the best possible way,” Jepsen tells Rolling Stone, calling from her hotel room in Vancouver.

Partnering with Lenovo and Intel, Jepsen, a self-described “big lover of Broadway musicals” who previously starred as Cinderella with Fran Drescher and as Frenchy in Grease: Live, plans to film the upcoming Broadway-inspired video somewhere in the heart of New York City in front of a live crowd later this month. But unlike other music videos, Lenovo will help supply the devices that the crew needs to control everything from the stage lights to other parts of the production.

The video’s specific theater location and any surprise cameos haven’t been announced yet, and though the actual live performance is still weeks away, Jepsen has a clear story she wants to tell.

“I kind of have this idea that we’re all having these hard days sometimes, and on tour I can feel that, in Broadway days, even when I was doing Cinderella, there wasn’t really time for you to have a hard day where things were going wrong and chaos was ensuing or, you know, you’d just been broken up with or somebody in your life was going through a thing,” she says.

Courtesy image

“What I really want to capture in this music video … is that there is like a no-good, terrible, horrible bad day going down for a few different women within the production, maybe myself, maybe a ballerina, maybe somebody else involved, and through the support of each other and the behind-the-scenes kind of chaos, that we’re able to pull off the mini miracle of what it is to be in a Broadway situation.”

Even though it’s a music video treatment, Jepsen compares it to what it’s like to put on a real production and touring, spotlighting all the work going on backstage that leads up to the final performance.

“And it comes together with a lot of love and a lot of people who get each other and see each other, and that’s sort of the magic that almost the audience doesn’t get to see that I’d love to like shine a little bit of light on in this video.”

Buy ‘The Loneliest Time’ LP $29.99

Though The Loneliest Time came out weeks ago, the singer-songwriter has already released a few videos from the album, including the disco-tinged title track “The Loneliest Time,” featuring Rufus Wainwright.

“He’s like hero status for me, of somebody I’ve always really admired, always really been a fan of his lyrics, his music,” Jepsen says of collaborating with Wainwright on the now-viral song, which the two worked on in Jepsen’s home studio in Los Angeles.

“His whole career has just been an amazing thing to watch,” she says. “I’m still kind of a little blown away, to be honest with you, that he said yes to the project. I think it just goes to show how kind he is and how open he is to exploring new worlds.”

Along with promoting her new music and filming videos, Jepsen still has a few shows left in her 2022 schedule, with stops set for Kansas City, Missouri, and Chicago, before embarking on a string of dates in Europe and Australia in 2023.

“And then I think we’re going to just keep the party going,” Jepsen says. “I think there are some artists that really don’t really enjoy the touring life, and I will say that it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely a crazy lifestyle, but at the end of the day, the review for me is that I really love it. I find it quite joyful, and I don’t mind kind of living hotel to hotel and bus life is kind of the life for me. So I’ll be out there as much as I can.”

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