In recent months, the pop singer has raised eyebrows with steamy TikTok videos and Instagram photos, many of which show him in various stages of undress. One particularly eyebrow-raising post, for instance, showed him revealing a hint of derrière in what appeared to be a behind-the-scenes snapshot of a photo or video shoot.
Not surprisingly, the imagery has garnered a lot of attention from both women and men, prompting criticism that Puth is pandering to queer people specifically. Other pop stars, including Billie Eilish and Harry Styles, have faced similar accusations.
But in a GQ interview published Thursday to coincide with the release of his third album, “Charlie,” the four-time Grammy nominee maintained that his posts aren’t intended “to antagonize anybody” but merely to showcase his chiseled physique, honed by long hours at the gym.
“These gym sessions are expensive in LA!” he quipped.
Even so, Puth has come to look to LGBTQ people for musical inspiration. Earlier this year, he recalled an incident in which Elton John told Puth that Puth’s earlier music “sucked,” prompting him to reconsider his artistic approach moving forward. And in his GQ interview, he singled out two new songs, both of which he says reflect the queer community’s influence.
“I think LGBTQ+ culture is so ahead of its time, culturally, sonically, musically, everything-ly, that when I had a less than perfect song at the studio and I was by myself and I saw everybody having a great time, I literally heard a different song in my head,” Puth said, recalling a recent drive past gay clubs in West Hollywood while en route to his recording studio. “I rearranged the whole thing, I drove back to the studio, I was so inspired.”
The song eventually became “Loser,” the seventh track on “Charlie.” Another track, “There’s a First Time for Everything,” is meant as an homage to Madonna’s 1985 smash “Into the Groove” ― a mainstay of gay dance clubs around the world since its release.
“I wanted to [recapture] the feeling that it gave people in 1985 when they first heard that song,” he added.
And for those who do appreciate his thirsty presence on social media, Puth suggests there’s more to come.
“I am very horny,” he said. “All the time.”