Charlie Puth has perfect pitch. No, that isn’t a spelling error or a movie pun (Anna Kendrick, I love you). The 23-year old New Jersey native doesn’t only have impeccable taste in music, but he can actually hear any tone and identify it as a note. Even with a bright future ahead in a tough industry, Charlie was still nervous to step into the spotlight. “I was so afraid to perform in front of my classmates for all my life, so I turned to YouTube in hopes of getting fans,” he says. “People made fun of me anyway but it gave me confidence to feel like the rockstar who had a thousand fans.”
Now, the versatile singer, songwriter, and producer has turned off the web cam and stepped into the spotlight, working with an array of artists: from Wiz Khalifa, Meghan Trainor, Lil’ Wayne, and Stevie Wonder (to name a few). The Furious 7 anthem, “See You Again,” that he co-wrote, co-produced, and sings the hook on, has hit #1 across the globe, with his new debut single, “Marvin Gaye,” not far behind.
Charlie’s sultry blend of new school meets old school is something he hopes fans will embrace even more when he finishes up on his debut album. “I'm combining David Foster chords, and James Taylor like melodies, with Naughty By Nature inspired drum patterns, 808s inspired by Mike Will, vocal harmonics inspired by The Carpenters and conversational lyrics I say in my head all day,” he says. “I aspire to be the artist that writes, produces, and mixes his own records with the help of others... and I never thought I’d be working with these brilliant songwriters a year ago today.”
In Charlie’s mind, it was music or bust. Clearly, he made the right choice.
The breakout singer told Maxim about his upcoming tour, the importance of a basic white tee, and why Gigi Hadid is so fine.
I love the word “fuck". Every time I mess up a vocal in the studio I scream "FUCK I SUCK". It gives me adrenaline and forces me to do better.
I'm a huge fan of flannels that have been worn in. I have this flannel from the Gap that has white paint on it and a billion rips. But throw that on with some ripped stone washed jeans and a tee and that's the Charlie outfit. I like looking like I got out of bed, but I'm actually freshly shaven and showered… and I smell excellent thanks to Gucci. I swear this isn't an ad for Gucci.
Every guy should own a basic thin white tee that goes with everything. And some Adidas Sambas. Anything that'll never go out of style.
I love driving unnecessarily long distances to fast food places. I think about the next song I'm going to write on the way over, and I put on Howard Stern while eating my Fish Filet from McDonalds. I don't know why everyone hates on the Filet O Fish... they are a delicious option.
I am a huge fan of All Saints and TopMan for basics. I love YSL and James Pearse. Anything that you can't tell is super expensive basically. I love mixing and matching budget clothing with high fashion. I want to look as humble as I can for all my life so nothing with a logo on it. That makes me uncomfortable.
Anything from Kheils is a go for me. Luckily I can't grow a beard so I'm good in that department.
Gigi Hadid, put her on the Maxim Hot 100. She's so fine it's insane. I know she's taken right now so I'll calm down.
As for what’s next, I got my album coming out later this year, going on tour this July, and I have a lot of music coming out with other artists I worked with. Big names, just not sure I can mention because I always think I'm going to get in trouble if I mention that I worked with Fergie... oops.
*Take a peek below at the NEW music video for "Nothing But Trouble," as Charlie and rapper Lil' Wayne put a twist on the classic slow jam song.
Photos by Atlantic Records