Stephen Puth Talks Taking the Spotlight With a Debut Single That Makes You Go ‘What Did He Just Say?’


Singer/songwriter chats with Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast about "Sexual Vibe" & how brother Charlie helped encourage newest tune "Half Gone."

Stephen Puth needed to make an enormous musical impression when he launched his debut single late final yr, and he had simply the tune to make that splash: "Sexual Vibe."

"It's positively a type of songs that makes you perk up and go, 'What did he simply say?'" Puth tells Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast (hearken to the complete episode beneath) concerning the suggestive single.

But when the tune first got here to be, he wasn't fascinated about himself because the artist behind the come-on. "I used to be writing and producing for different artists earlier than, and this tune I had carried out considerably throughout that period, and it was simply by far the weirdest," he says with fun. "And I used to be like, 'Well, who would sing this?' And I used to be like, 'No one.' Because it's simply bizarre, the best way it sounds sonically. So I used to be like, 'I ought to put it out. It's type of cool.'"

The tune and video dropped in early December, and the steamy clip has already racked up four.four million on-demand streams within the U.S., in line with Nielsen Music. Not unhealthy for somebody who didn't even intend to be a pop star within the first place. When he initially met David Massey, his now label boss, the Arista Records exec needed to persuade Puth that he ought to actually take into consideration transitioning from being a songwriter to a singer. "He was like, 'I actually assume you have to be an artist,'" Puth recollects. "And I used to be like, 'No, I actually don't. I similar to being behind the scenes.'"

Of course, Massey gained that battle, and Puth is grateful that he pushed him into the highlight. "It's far more enjoyable," Puth says. "It's a brand new outlet for music. The writing world's arduous. It's like taking a thousand darts in a single hand and shutting your eyes and attempting to hit the bull's-eye on the subject of getting music landed. So I'm actually glad I've an outlet of my very own id to place [music] out and it may be no matter it's."

So if "Sexual Vibe" was the primary date with Stephen, then the just-released midtempo single "Half Gone" is that all-important second impression, when listeners resolve in the event that they need to get a little bit extra severe with him. In the podcast, Puth tells the story of how the heartbreaking tune got here to be again when he was in faculty, and it began with some cohesion from his fellow pop-singing bro Charlie Puth.

"It was my final semester, and I wasn't like, 'Oh no, faculty is over'; I used to be so pleased to go away," Puth says of his remaining days at Pennsylvania's Gettysburg College. "I used to be unhappy as a result of I had an up-and-down path with a lady and I used to be speaking to a different lady … and it appeared tremendous, however I used to be like, 'Why can't I speak in confidence to it?' … So I used to be type of unhappy by all of it. It's additionally, you're in Pennsylvania [in winter], it's a darkish tundra, in order that doesn't assist both," he laughs. "It acquired to the purpose the place my brother was truly in Baltimore, so he got here and visited me and we acquired dinner. Typically, I'm not essentially the most emotional individual, so the truth that he may even see it type of explains it. So we're driving round, and he's like, 'What's mistaken?' And I'm simply sitting there and that is what I mentioned verbatim: 'Imagine you've acquired a pizza. That's your coronary heart. Every single time you go to like any person, you're giving a chunk of it away. And ultimately' -- after which I mentioned to him, 'How am I supposed to like the subsequent individual when my coronary heart's already half-gone?' … He was like, 'Say it once more.' And I mentioned it once more, and he's like, 'Why are you learning historical past?' [Laughs] And I used to be like, 'I don't know! It's attention-grabbing?' And he was like, 'Why aren't you writing [songs]?'"

So he did -- and years later, "Half Gone" lastly got here to fruition within the studio and materialized as Puth's second single. In the remainder of the interview, Puth talks about once we would possibly hear a full-length challenge from him, doing a little opening tour dates with Astrid S and rather more.

Also on the podcast, we speak about Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's chart domination -- with "Shallow" topping the Billboard Hot 100 and the A Star Is Born soundtrack atop the Billboard 200 -- and what Hollywood and the music enterprise can study from the musical movie's success.

The Billboard Pop Shop Podcast is your one-stop store for all issues pop on Billboard's weekly charts. You can at all times rely on a vigorous dialogue concerning the newest pop information, enjoyable chart stats and tales, new music, and visitor interviews with music stars and people from the world of pop. Casual pop followers and chart junkies can hear Billboard's senior director of charts Keith Caulfield and deputy editor, digital Katie Atkinson each week on the podcast, which might be streamed on or downloaded in Apple Podcasts or your favourite podcast supplier. (Click right here to hearken to the earlier version of the present on