“If I died that night, most people would have remembered me as the 'Call Me Maybe' guy and that literally ate my soul alive."
"Call Me Maybe" was a 2012 viral tune that infected the entire country with a feel-good earworm, it put singer Carly Rae Jepsen on the map. It also made a star out of the sinewy male lead Holden Nowell in the accompanying video, but he says he wasn’t comfortable with that. And still isn't.
In the video, Nowell plays the very sexy boy-next-door who infatuates Jepsen with his striking good looks and chiseled physique. From mowing the lawn to fixing his car, Nowell's character titillates the singer at every turn until she builds up her courage to give him her number. Unfortunately for Jepsen, her crush is interested in her male guitar player and in a "Let's Get Physical"-like twist, hands him his number.
With well over 1 Billion views Jepsen's video has brought Nowell great exposure, but that is something he doesn't necessarily want. In a recent interview for iHeartRadio Canada, Nowell, now a hip-hop artist says he was uncomfortable with the narrative.
"The fact that they had to make me gay at the end of the video… it was all very… I didn’t like being known as the gay guy in the ‘Call Me Maybe’ video. It was just something I wasn’t used to," said Nowell who is originally from Saskatoon, Canada. “I was always the ‘Call Me Maybe’ guy, everywhere I went, and after awhile I got really sick of hearing that.”
It was clear from the beginning that Nowell wasn't into his role, at first they wanted him to kiss the male guitar player in the big reveal. "I was like, ‘I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’m not going to kiss a guy, especially for $500.’ I said, ‘I really don’t think I’m comfortable kissing a guy for a music video.'”
So the ending was altered to one Nowell says he suggested, “I said, ‘You know what? What if instead of me kissing a guy at the end of the video, what if I just give a guy my number or something like that?’”
The now 29-year-old model has had some rough times since that video first aired. He doesn't speak well of Carly Rae because he alleges there was an issue with non-payment of promised royalties, “I personally don’t have anything positive to say about Carly Rae,” he said. “She won awards because of that video and she never reached out to me.”
Nowell is trying to make his own music now under the moniker SixXx’Tre. His debut album Fade II Black was partly inspired by a near-death experience in which he was stabbed several times in the head, he feared pop music infamy, “If I died that night, most people would have remembered me as the 'Call Me Maybe' guy and that literally ate my soul alive,” he said.