NEW YORK — Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” became the soundtrack for endless viral online fun last year: U.S. infantry soldiers lip-synched to it in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. So did James Franco and the U.S. Olympic swim team. Models from Abercrombie & Fitch showed off their abs to it, as did hair-whipping Miami Dolphins cheerleaders. Dogs have barked the whole song. Parodies of it have been parodied.
Fellow singers from Katy Perry to Selena Gomez embraced the pop goodness.
Even the Cookie Monster jumped on the “Call Me Maybe” train.
The song put 27-year-old Jepsen, who finished third on a season of Canadian Idol, in the spotlight and on a path to potential Grammy gold. The monster hit is nominated for song of the year and best pop vocal performance at the Feb. 10 awards show.
“I was gunning maybe for Top 10 on iTunes. That was my little, mini secret goal,” she said recently by phone from Los Angeles, where she was picking out a dress to wear to the Grammys, where she’ll also present an award.
The song had a nine week-arc on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart and has sold more than 6.7 million tracks in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The only thing Jepsen hasn’t been able to do is have album sales that match her powerful single. She put out the CD “Kiss” in September, but despite a hit second single — the double platinum “Good Time” with Owl City — the album has sold only 226,000 copies.
“I think with [a] song being as big as ‘Call Me Maybe,’ there’s always that challenge of how do we push past that and show people that there is more to offer,” she said. “I’m confident whether it’s with this album or the next, I’ll be able to prove that.”
Gary Trust, an associate director and columnist at Billboard, says sales faced an uphill battle since pop these days is a singles medium, not album-oriented.
“She might have been able to sell more if they were able to put the album out quicker,” he said of “Kiss,” which arrived five months after her smash song was released. “But I think, no matter what, the song was going to outsell any album she could put out.”
The song, which Jepsen co-wrote with guitarist Tavish Crowe and Marianas Trench lead singer Josh Ramsay, will compete in the song of the year category at the Grammys with No.1 hits from fun. and Kelly Clarkson, as well as critically acclaimed tunes from U.K. singer Ed Sheeran and R&B performer Miguel. A year ago, before her breakthrough on the music charts, Jepsen was like everyone else: looking forward to a good awards show on TV.