Owen Thiele's 'Explicitly Queer' Pop Debut

Owen Thiele's 'Explicitly Queer' Pop Debut

By Hilton Dresden

You may recognize Owen Thiele from Cazzie David's web series 86ed, which follows the lives of Instagram-obsessed millennials trying to navigate the complexities of an iPhone-based social life. What you may not know, however, is that Thiele, who plays a character also named Owen on the show, is a multi-hyphenate talent. In addition to his comedic chops, Thiele is a singer-songwriter, debuting today with his new pop single "Some Like It Hot."

The song was written with Wynne Bennett, of the band Twin Shadow, and Fiona Bevan, who's co-written "Little Things" with Ed Sheeran for One Direction. "Some Like It Hot" is a certifiable pop banger that establishes Thiele as more than just another actor-turned-singer — he's a refreshing breakout voice in the sea of rising musicians.

Related | Watch The Texting-Fueled Final Episodes Of Cazzie David's 86ed

The track is about navigating the pangs of a crush, deciphering whether someone's feelings are genuine or just a convincing performance within a frivolous game. Its lyrics convey "that terrible feeling when your crush is wanting you to want them, purely for the sake of stroking their own ego," Thiele says. "We all do it, so I'm not blaming them... just pointing it out. Too many times with a guy, I find myself wondering if this whole game is because deep down he really likes me or if it's just fun for him."

We caught up with Thiele to talk about his multiple talents, his songwriting process, and making art about someone who doesn't seem to know you exist.

What was the songwriting process like for this song?

I wrote this song with my friends Wynne Bennett and Fiona Bevan. Honestly I remember it being more like a therapy session... with alcohol (which therapists should always have in the room).

What genre would you put your music in if you had to?

Pop/R&B, [but] heavy on the pop. I hope I found my own lane and that I don't remind people of anyone out there. Obviously, I want to sound like Rihanna but I'm aware that's a stretch.

Related | Break the Rules: Rihanna

Have you always wanted to be a musician?

By a lucky chance, I was adopted from Texas into a family of musicians, so I grew up recording, singing, and writing. I wrote a lot of my songs when I was young about Jack — a straight boy I was dating, but he didn't know he wasn't dating me.

Is the album explicitly queer? How did your identity seep into the work?

This album is about the scary idea of love and I think everyone can relate to that, whatever their identity. But I'm explicitly queer, so I guess everything I make is explicitly queer.

How'd you end up on 86ed?

I met Cazzie in the peak of my awkward stage in middle school, so I'm surprised she could see past that. And I met the show's co-creator, Elisa, in college. I'm so grateful that they wanted to be my friend because they really are the coolest kids on the block. I'm not a writer on it but we would go through my lines to make sure they were in my voice and sounded natural.

What was your favorite moment on set?

In episode 6, we were supposed to be drinking wine at Lily's birthday dinner. Cazzie and I forgot the first rule of filming — that we could use apple juice and no one would know the difference. It was 9 AM and we had already gone through a bottle. It was absolutely hilarious.

Comedy idols?

Anyone in the Christopher Guest movies, John Early... of course the David's, and Issa Rae.

Goals for your acting career?

I think I have the same goals as a lot of people — to make something original and relatable, and hopefully make people laugh along the way.

Photography: Jacqueline Harriet