Many are familiar with Carly Rea Jespen’s new hit: “Call Me, Maybe”. This song has gone viral among a vast audience age range- from tweens to college students. Part of the fame of this 26-year-old Canadian artist stemmed from the spoof posted on YouTube of Disney Channel celebrities Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale lip signing to the catchy song. Without question, the spoof heavily contributed to the rising fame of this newfound star.
That statement is certainly not meant to doubt Ms. Jespen’s talent by any means; the song well deserves to appear on the top of the charts with its sing-along-able lyrics, its upbeat melody and her lively voice. It is more so meant to emphasize how digital media can be used to advance one’s career. The statement is often validated by examples of individuals who videos post themselves singing on digital media site, such as YouTube, and then become discovered. However, in Carly Rea Jespen’s case, YouTube still played a significant role, but it almost worked in reverse.
Carly Rea Jespen attended the Canadian College of Performing Arts and was also a Canadian Idol finalist. She caught the attention of recording artists and so, in this sense, her career took off in a more traditional sense (not that I think Canadian Idol is “traditional”, but at this point anything besides being discovered over the Internet could be categorized as such). Jespen released her first album and even toured throughout Canada, but it wasn’t until Justin Bieber’s manager signed her and the release of her second album (featuring “Call Me, Maybe”) that she started to gain an American fan base.
After her song appeared on the radio, the Disney Channel stars, intrigued, then danced around to it and posted the footage on themselves on YouTube. Their spoof has received over 33 million views, more than Jespen’s official VEVO video itself. When it was first published to YouTube, the views of their video more than doubled those of Jespen’s official video. Since then, Jespen has almost managed to catch up with them in numbers, but they still hold the lead. It is evident that more viewers than not originally heard Jespen’s song through the spoof first.
The song received massive exposure via Justin Bieber & Co.’s performance. It heavily boosted Carly Rea Jespen’s ratings and expedited, as well as escalated, her success. Released in Sepetember, “Call Me, Maybe” was the first song sung by a Canadian artist to reach the top of the charts since Justin Bieber released “Baby” back in 2010. She was also the first Canadian Idol contestant to enter the UK charts. These records, among a few others, are all due, of course, to “Call Me, Maybe” – a song whose popularity could be greatly attributed to the video of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Ashley Tisdale.
The story of Carly Rea Jespen’s song serves as an additional example to the idea that digital media sites are commonly used as a stepping stool towards stardom. Even if Carly Rea herself wasn’t discovered over the Internet, her song, “Call Me, Maybe” certainly was. Watching the well-known celebrities jump around, wearing fake mustaches and singing the song made viewers interested and the song gained recognition because of it. It’s hard to imagine a time when signers and their songs entered the tops of charts without the helpful push of a YouTube audience.