The Canadian singer-songwriter, 32, rose to fame with her ubiquitous 2012 hit “Call Me Maybe.” Then, in 2015, she cemented her status as a critical darling with her ’80s-tinged masterpiece Emotion and its follow-up EP, Emotion: Side B the next year. Save for her euphoric 2017 song of the summer contender “Cut to the Feeling,” Jepsen hasn’t released new solo material in years.
But new tunes appear to be coming soon. On Sunday, the star teased a 13-second snipped of a synthy, buoyant new song on Instagram. “You’re holding my hand now / This love isn’t crazy,” she sings on the track, which fans speculate will be titled “This Love Isn’t Crazy.”
Jepsen — who performed aboard the Carnival Splendor in February as part of the Carnival LIVE Concert Series — caught up with PEOPLE about her hotly anticipated next project.
You’ve been writing for and recording your next album. What can we expect?
I don’t really know the answer to that quite yet because I am still in the thick of it. It’s definitely starting to take shape, but it’s always been my process to really write and experiment and allow myself to go in a bunch of different directions before I select the songs that seem to be sticking out the best or seem to be connecting with not just me, but my bandmates and my family and friends.
Late night on the ship’s deck when we were on the [Carnival] cruise, after the show we went and sat out on the patio, and the boys and I went through a listening party of something like 100 songs — to start to narrow down our favorites. I find them to be extremely helpful in that because it’s hard to have perspective when you’ve just been in the studio for so long and working so hard with it; it’s great to have friends who care and are invested enough to give their opinions and help narrow it down.
Carly Rae Jepsen aboard the Carnival Splendor
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Emotion was very ’80s, and I know you had at least 100 songs ready for that album, too. What vibe do you see your next one skewing?
When I was going into the making of the album, there was a real desire for the sort of understated disco. But it’s funny because even with intention to go in one direction, that can always be a jumping point; that doesn’t necessarily end up where we land. Sometimes I’ve found that we were able to pull that off and other times it just took, like, left and right turns, and I’m like: Have we made a mambo, what’s going on?
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I think we have a great variety of songs to choose from right now, and it is important to me that there is cohesiveness to the album. Until it’s selected, I’m not able to completely say what that is, but I would say I’ve been very, very lucky in terms of who I’ve been able to work with and every time I get in the studio regardless of if the song is going to make the album or not, I always feel like the people are teaching me something about songwriting and the craft in general.
You’ve worked with pretty much all the industry pros by now — including Charli XCX. I loved your song “Backseat” with her. How did that come together?
Of all the women in pop, I’ve had a creative crush on her for a while, and I was really excited to meet her. Everyone that we knew that had written with both of us was kind of urging us together at some point because they thought a collaboration made a lot of sense. We brainstormed right away about things that we would like to do in the future together, and had a late night session in Santa Monica. It was more of a party, but it was nice to click and know we got along well and knew that something would happen eventually.
A few months later, not too long before the release of the mixtape [Pop 2] I just got a call with an honest question of, “Hey, will you listen to this song. You should write a second verse, maybe add stuff on the chorus and see how you feel. Just tell me if you like it or not.” After one listen I was like, “Oh my God, this is incredible, I’m so in.” So I just had a morning over here at my house on the patio where I just wrote some things and sent them back to her and sang a voice memo, and she was like, “Great, send it over.” I went to the studio and recorded it. Soon after that — not even kidding, a week later — it came out, so it was a really rushed but exciting project!
You’ve been busy: You just got off tour with Katy Perry, and you’re prepping your next album. How do you spend your downtime?
In my off time right now I’m transitioning into a phase of the extremes of what I do on the pendulum swing of a really kind of domesticated home life: like, I got a bread machine. And a new cat. I am really loving this. I stayed up all last night reading a book for way too long. I transition to kind of cat lady-ish and boring when I’m home, and I’m enjoying the sort of opposite parallels of that compared to my life on the road, which is always a great adventure.