You’re the Greatest, Charlie Puth!

Charlie Puth

I don’t believe it! Not even two weeks have passed and there I was defending another young artist. I truly believe the future will firmly solidify my stand this time. There I was, watching television with family and friends, when Charlie Puth was about to perform. One of the more musically opinionated members of the group was all set to find fault with the young artist. All of a sudden Puth began with a fantastic jazz riff on the piano that shocked my critical friend. However, as he began to sing the opinion hit the ground hard, “he can’t sing but he can play well”, she said. “Unbelievable” is the word that I thought silently, and then I would launch my defense. When I hear that objection to any artist, I usually tell a story about singers who perform in front of thousands of people, and I conclude it with the somewhat open-ended question, “Can you do better?” This time I didn’t get the chance to offer my usual rebuttal, but instead offered the fairness of judging an artist talent after hearing a small part of one song. Of course not, especially one as talented as Charlie Puth. Many of you out there may not know anything of the new well-rounded musician. Therefore allow me to introduce him to you all.

Charlie Puth was born December 2, 1991, in Rumson, New Jersey, the son of Debra and Charles Puth. He participated in a summer youth jazz ensemble in Red Bank, New Jersey at 12 years old. During his 7th grade to senior years, he attended Manhattan School of Music Pre-College as a jazz piano major and a classical minor and graduated from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School in 2010. On a full scholarship, he graduated in 2013 from the Berklee College of Music, where he majored in music production and engineering.

The short introduction should give you just a little background about the twenty-four year old all-around musician. If you listen to some of his music, you will learn so much more. Like so many of his fellow young musicians of today, Puth gained popularity virally by posting his work to YouTube. In September 2009, he started his own YouTube channel, entitled Charlies Vlogs, posting comedy videos and acoustic covers. In 2010, Puth released the music video of his first song, “These Are My Sexy Shades”. On December 10, he released hits debut extended play, The Otto Tunes, an independent release. YouTube has become an important launching pad for many young entertainers of our time. It provides them an opportunity to expose their talent to an audience and gain popularity among the general public. YouTube has certainly provided great opportunities for many, as it also did for young Charlie Puth. In 2011, he won an online video competition sponsored by Perez Hilton, the Can You Sing?, with the version of “Someone like You”, by Adele.  In the same year Ellen DeGeneres announced that she had signed Puth to her label, eleveneleven, after seeing their cover of Adele’s “Someone like You”. In December 22, he released a promotional single, “Break Again”, with additional vocals of Emily Luther. The music video was released days later. On January 25, 2012, Puth and Luther performed the song and Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

After his initial exposure by way of YouTube, Charlie Puth began to establish himself as a writer, and producer and he was credited with the production and writing of songs and jingles for fellow YouTube personalities. He wrote the theme song for Shane Dawson’s Shane and Friends podcast, the intro jingle for the videos of the Vlogger family the Shaytards, the original theme song for Charles Trippy’s vlog Internet Killed Television, and a song for the tour and movie of YouTube group Our 2nd Life, as well as several singles for Our 2nd Life member Ricky Dillon.

Early last year, Puth signed with Atlantic Records, and his music career really took off. In February 2015, Charlie Puth released his debut single “Marvin Gaye”, which features guest vocals by Meghan Trainor. The song went on to become a real international hit. The single has been certified 2× Platinum in Australia, topped the charts in New Zealand, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, and peaked at number 21 on the US Billboard Hot 100. However, 2015 would become the breakout year for Puth for another reason. Puth wrote, co-produced, and was featured on a song with Wiz Khalifa, “See You Again”, a tribute to the late Paul Walker, included in the Furious 7 soundtrack. The song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 chart for 12 non-consecutive weeks.  “See You Again” was nominated for three Grammy Awards: Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media. The song was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Charlie Puth was now receiving much critical acclaim inside music industry circles, as well as gaining recognition among a growing fan base. He was also finding his way to my list of favorites. The big reason why is that he represents the well-schooled musician. Charlie Puth spent time and energy learning not only to appreciate listening to music, but also reading, writing and living the craft of creating music. His educational background would surely help him become a better producer and arranger. That fact would not escape other musicians. He produced the song “Slow Motion” for Trey Songz and has arranged sessions with Jason Derulo and Lil Wayne.

2016 does not appear to be any less eventful for young Charlie Puth. His debut album, Nine Track Mind, was released on January 29, 2016 and Puth will embark on his debut live concert, Nine Track Mind Tour, in March 2016. The album may grow to become one of those that fans must have in their libraries. Charlie Puth put a lot of work into his first album and does not appear to look behind him. If he’s not working on solo projects he will certainly be a part of much of the top music coming from other artists. He might well be one of the big names in music at the close of this year.

Even though I borrowed from the title of a show about lovable loser Charlie Brown, Puth certainly is no loser. In fact, the only comparison between the two is they share first names. At twenty-four, the young musician may very well hear the title of this post in just a few years. You’re the Greatest, Charlie Puth!


* photo by Catie Laffoon

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