Entertainment Music

24 Minutes with Charlie Puth

By Joe Leary

Charlie Puth. (Submitted Photo)

Charlie Puth. (Submitted Photo)

With his hit song See You Again featuring Wiz Khalifa having recently overtaken Psy's Gangnam Style as the most-viewed YouTube video of all-time with over 2.9 billion views, Charlie Puth is a serious musical force. Joe Leary recently spent 24 Minutes with the singer/songwriter/producer.

Do you get to enjoy the cities that you visit?

Not really, but we went to the river yesterday. Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver. It was really cool. I drank from the stream.

As an established producer, performer, writer and touring artist, what is your favourite part?

Producing.

What do you like about it?

I like the fact that you can spend a lot of time on one particular layer of the song. I am OCD about the way things sound. I'll spend four hours on a snare drum or kick drum because it can completely change the song. The song can be an OK song, but if the production is good it can make it better.

So when you are actually writing the song or producing do you start with ground up acoustic or piano?

I rarely start a song with piano, I guess, because I am so used to the way it sounds. I always start off with an instrument I don't know how to play. When I was making We Don't Talk Anymore, I recorded each note separately.

As your career continues to progress is that something that you want to get more heavily involved in and work with other people?

I produce for other people but as an artist I would like to keep it 50/50. I am working on a record for Liam Payne (One Direction) and I have done songs for Trey Songs, Pitbull, Jason Derulo etc.

Do you enjoy touring?

I don't like it at all but it’s nice when you get to tour with one of your friends like Shawn Mendes.

Do you and Shawn get a chance to jam backstage or bounce ideas off each other?

Hopefully. It would be cool to have a touring song and recording studio bus, so we may as well make something on the road.

As a composer do you ever write a song that's not necessarily a Charlie Puth type song, but basically just need to give it to somebody - because it’s a good song?

Yeah. When I wrote Cake for Flo Rida, I was just joking around at my friend’s kitchen table and wrote a good chorus. But I could never do it, so I gave it to Flo Rida’s people and they did a good job with it, but I really didn't think that one would go anywhere.

What's on the top of your playlist right now?

I love that ‘Despacito’ record.

Social media helped jumpstart your career. Do you still enjoy doing it as I know there are a lot of pros and cons to that.

I don't really do what I used to do on YouTube anymore and I don't actively upload it because I honestly just don't have time. But I do more immediate outlets like Instagram. Only thing I really subscribe to is car stuff. I am a car geek.

Do you have any guilty pleasures with cars?

I have a couple but I am very low key. You will never see me driving a Lamborghini.I could easily get one I just don't enjoy being “the man.” I pretend I'm like a dad. I like being like, “this is what I would drive if I were 50.”

What was the defining “I made it” moment for you?

I haven't had that yet. I honestly still don't think I'm that good. I am always trying to perfect everything I do. I’ve had splashes of it like the first time I played a 1,500 capacity crowd and was like “wow, they are singing every song”.

What's your favourite venue?

Madison Square Garden in New York City because I'm from New Jersey and it just feels very homey there.

Is there a dream venue?

I have a weird obsession with the Greek Theatre in California.  I don't know if that's the dream theatre but I'll figure that out later.