Carly Rae Jepsen Defends Justin Bieber, Sheds Light on Next Album

April 21: Carly Rae Jepsen is all smiles after winning album of the year and single of the year at the 2013 Juno Awards in Regina, Canada.

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"I stand by him… he's doing the best he can," pop singer tells Billboard of her friend and recent touring partner.

Though she has a full slate of summer shows ahead of her, Carly Rae Jepsen is honing in on her next album, which she says will be "a pop album, but... an album that is my own version of pop.

"I can kind of explain it in some ways, and in other ways I'd rather not and let myself go in and create it," Jepsen tells Billboard. "My favorite pop artists at the moment are Robyn… Kimbra, La Roux and Dragonette. And I think I have a folky side in my blood from what I used to listen to with my parents, and it'll be fun to incorporate of that more in the verses of the pop songs, a little something deeper to the verses. That's what I love about the pop stars I just named, is they don't do just your regular kind of pop songs. There's some stuff to hold onto and dig into. That's what I want to do."

The Canadian singer says she started working on her next album "the day (2012's) 'Kiss' was turned in" and has "three songs from the batch I've written on the road that I think are keepers." Jepsen also has a cover song in mind for the next set but won't says what it is, "'cause I don't want anyone to steal it." She'll be working with Benny Blanco on the album, as well as "Kiss" collaborators Ryan Stewart and Josh Ramsay and "a lot of younger guys who are all Canadians and just really creative and have a lot going on."

And, Jepsen adds, there's no timetable for the project just yet. "I think 'Kiss' was a bit of a rush," she says, "so I think I'll be kind of taking my time to make sure what I'm putting out there next feels like the strongest thing I can make." Meanwhile, she's happy about the prospects of playing a number of headlining dates on the summer tour , after spending much of the past year opening for Justin Bieber's Believe Tour.  "I think that's the most fun so far, getting to play not just the singles but the B-sides, 'cause we have a longer set time," Jepsen says. "So it's going to be an enjoyable summer because of that."

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One show she's not sorry to have jettisoned, however, is a planned performance at the National Scout Jamboree due to the continuing controversy over the Boys Scouts of America's policies towards gay members and leaders. "It's pretty simple; I believe in equality for everyone," Jepsen explains. "I did not know that (the Jamboree) was going to be the big deal it became, but it just wasn't something I felt comfortable supporting. So I got out of it, and I"m hoping that moments like that do put a bit more light on that sort of subject, because it's something that shouldn't be an issue any longer. This sort of stuff needs to stop now."

Meanwhile, Jepsen claims the various controversies surrounding Bieber have largely been lost on her. "I actually am so out of the loop on any of that, to be honest," she says. "People are constantly, like, 'Is Justin OK?' I've not really noticed any of that. I feel like Justin's a guy who's working hard every day, and I think the media can sometimes be a little brutal with stuff and over-exaggerate things. But I stand by him. I support him. I think he's a good guy, and he's doing the best he can."

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