#5MinutesWith...Charlie Puth

He's come a long way since writing YouTube channel theme songs


An American singer, songwriter and record producer, Charles Otto "Charlie" Puth, Jr has been busy. At 24, the fast-rising pop singer-­songwriter has scored Grammy and Golden Globe nominations and a hit record See You Again, which spent 12 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015.  He's  also chalking up air miles on his Nine Track Mind Tour 2016, which will take him to Singapore, Bangkok, Manila and Taipei.

To think it was only about four years ago that comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres put him on her show after the cover of Adele's Someone Like You by him and his friend Emily Luther went viral.

He plays his first concert here this evening, and there's still time to get tickets to his show here. Meanwhile, the cutie talks about making music, wanting to fall in love and his picks for my wedding play list.

How does it feel to be Charlie Puth today?

Tiring! But very thankful. It feels very good to be me. I come from a very humble background, with all these songs in my laptop that i now get to perform to lots of people around the world. the songs are from my heart, so it's very cool. 

Tell us about musicians you'd love to collaborate with.

I actually had a chance to open for Billly Joel, and that was cool... there were 45,000 people in the stadium and i received a standing ovation from the audience. It was nuts. I really model my music after him.

I'd love to work with James Taylor, a guitar player. And I know you're thinking, "Gee, Charlie, you're a piano player, why would you want to work with a guitar player?"  and I will answer that question you did not ask... which is James Taylor plays guitar very interestingly, and anyone from the golden age of the 70's, which rich, dense music, I am very much about.  

You're only 24, writing songs about love. What experiences do you draw from, not necessarily having been through what you write about?

I will think of hypotheticals in my head; when I'm writing a record, I sometimes picture the music video even before the song is written. I was in the Bahamas one time and I put on music by Total, an R&B girl group from the 90s ... I was listening to them and I paused the music and started composing a song in my head and picturing what the music video would look like. It would be shot in Times Square, on a VHS camera ... and it would be full of girls, and me. And the song would be based on that visual.

You're right - some of the things on my album, I haven't experienced before,  and I've never actually been in love. I want to be in love with a girl and I don't know why.... I fancy girls, I've dated girls, I love girls. Girls are amazing! But I've never had a feeling of "I can't live without this person". So, the wanting of that inspires the records. I'll make things up sometimes, predict the future. 

You studied jazz and classical piano in Berkeley, so why are you now doing pop music?

I hadn't written a pop song till maybe 3 years ago. I went to Berkeley just to  study jazz and prior to that I was in the Manhattan School of Music in Harlem, New York City. But I grew up wit ha pop palate; and I would notice the similarities between melody structures for Mozart and say, Seals and Crofts. And I sued to be fascinated listening to John Coltrane and John Mayer, which is what inspired me to write pop music with a jazz music background.

I'm getting married in 3 weeks and Some Type of Love is on the playlist. I need more songs - could you suggest some?

Congratulations! Some Type of Love is on the playlist? No way! Shall I write some songs for you now? Ok tell me, what is the setting, a slow dance? It's dinner.. hmm. What's being served? And what's the setting and tableware? White with tea lights? Ok ok.. I'm thinking traditional vibes. What happens prior? Speeches? OK. How many people? 165? That' a lot of people!

OK I'm picturing all this... see guys, this is how I write a song! OK go with maybe something from the Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga album Cheek to Cheek. It'll be nice and jazzy and cool. I wouldn't recommend Metallica... that's not do-able. Maybe a mix between pop and jazz, like Come Away With Me by Norah Jones, something not too relaxed but has energy. I love curating playlists, I actually wanna come to the wedding!

Photos: realtor.com

For more Living stories click here. Or check out 3 Artists You Should Be Listening To Right Now.

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