Are You Ready for Charlie Puth, Musical Bad Boy?

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Charlie Puth. Photo: Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

If you’re one of the people who did not like Charlie Puth’s first album, Nine Track Mind, you’re not alone. “It has the lowest Metacritic rating … ever?” the singer jokes in a new Billboard cover story. “But I agree with that score. That album was not me at all.” Listening to it now, he says, is like “flossing with aluminum foil.”

But now Puth is back with a new album he believes in, and he’s out to show the world the real him. What do we learn about the man behind the music in this profile? Below, a collection of insights:

His new direction
After “See You Again,” Puth says he was trapped in a life he did not choose. He claims his recent Top 10 single “Attention” got him back on track. “It’s shit-talking,” Puth says. “It’s a mean song. … ‘Attention’ is me saying, ‘Fuck everybody: I’m doing this song the way I want to do it.’”

His aspirations
As a young musician, Puth has been lucky enough to rub elbows with some of the industry’s biggest names. He’s friends with Adam Levine, with whom he shares similar interests like “freshly cut fruits and toilets that greet you when you walk into the bathroom, and Porsches.” He shares a manager with Ryan Tedder, whose career he hopes to emulate. “He has another house for his studio. He has candles, so now I have candles,” Puth tells Billboard. Success at a young age has given Puth a taste of the finer things in life. “Range Rovers symbolize success to me, but, like, of more to come,” he says. “I don’t have one, but I want one. And even when I do have one, I’m going to think, ‘I want to be a member of a country club, and I want to write songs in my head on the way there.’ What the hell can I say? I’m inspired by materialistic things.”

His relationships
Puth says he doesn’t want to “kiss and tell,” but he hints that there was behind-the-scenes drama when he recorded “We Don’t Talk Anymore” with Selena Gomez. It was, he says, “very short-lived, very small, but very impactful … It wasn’t like I was the only person on her mind. And I think I knew that going in — what I was getting myself into.” Still, he says, he has no regrets: “She evoked such good emotion on that song, it was a pleasure working with her. That’s why I’m always happy to sing it, even though it came from a dark point in my life.”

His thoughts on the nature of fate
When Puth was a teen studying at the Manhattan School of Music, he and his father visited a psychic. As he recalls, “She said, ‘You’re not going to be famous, but it’s okay!’ I was like, ‘Fuck no! Dad, go give her money and tell her to check again. I am going to be fucking famous.’”

Are You Ready for Charlie Puth, Musical Bad Boy?