Charlie Puth reveals even more of himself on new album

Puth admits it can be “exhausting” always putting himself out there, something he’s done since 2011, when YouTube helped launch his career.

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Charlie Puth | Kenneth Cappello Photo

Charlie Puth

Kenneth Cappello

It’s not an easy job being Charlie Puth.

When the Top 40 pop star isn’t making multi-platinum tracks or touring, he’s constantly on his phone. Texting his neighbor Elton John. Or sharing near daily content to TikTok, often shirtless, to his 20.5 million followers who freak out over his genius manipulation of everyday sounds into music. Sounds such as doors creaking or the ice clink from a Panera lemonade commercial.

Puth admits it can be “exhausting” always putting himself out there, something he’s done since 2011, when YouTube videos started going viral at a time the platform was transforming commoners into mega music stars. 

charlie puth

CHARLIE PUTH

When: 8 p.m. Nov. 3

Where: Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.

Tickets: $49.50

Info: ticketmaster.com

When he answers the phone for the interview, Puth is happy to be holed up for a bit in a New York City hotel, having just wrapped his One Night Only Tour kickoff the night prior in his home state of New Jersey, after which he enjoyed time with his family and a New York pizza.

“I do normal things like that, the most normal things possible to counterbalance the [hectic pace] and obscurity that is my life lately,” Puth muses.

On Nov. 3 he headlines the Auditorium Theatre in support of his new album “CHARLIE,” released Oct. 7 via Atlantic Records. On it, Puth is quite personal, letting listeners into his world.

Those early YouTube videos caught the attention of celeb blogger Perez Hilton and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres — the former crowning Puth the winner of a 2011 “Can You Sing?” contest and the latter singing Puth to her now-defunct label, eleveneleven, that same year. Though the partnership with DeGeneres wasn’t long-lived. In a recent interview with the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, the singer claimed the label team “ghosted” him.

“CHARLIE” is the third studio album released by Charlie Puth. 

“CHARLIE” is the third studio album released by Charlie Puth.

Warner Music Group

Fame was in the cards for Puth, however, as a 2015 track with Wiz Khalifa called “See You Again,” commissioned as a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker for the “Furious 7” soundtrack, helped launch his career. A few albums later, collabs with Meghan Trainor and Selena Gomez, writing songs for Justin Bieber and remixes a plenty, and Puth is receiving some of the best reviews of his career for “CHARLIE.”

“I’m overwhelmed by the positive response, honestly,” he shares, adding there was one very important mission he wanted to accomplish with the new 12 tracks, like the emotive opener “That’s Hilarious!” about a bad breakup (possibly about singer-songwriter Charlotte Lawrence), and “Left and Right” featuring BTS member Jung Kook.

“I was so hellbent in the beginning of my career to prove I actually was a musician. I really had to go far and beyond to let people know that I actually played the piano, actually produced these records and I was in fact not just a ‘pop singer.’ … Now, the music kind of speaks for itself, that’s what I always wanted,” says Puth, who first learned piano from his music teacher mom when he was 4 years old. Puth eventually graduated from the esteemed Berklee College in 2013, focusing on music production and engineering.

Over the course of making “CHARLIE,” Puth says he made use of advice he received from his neighbor/quasi mentor Elton John (he also has regular exchanges with Billy Joel and fellow Jersey native Bruce Springsteen), who told him to “be more authentic.”

“I was simply working with too many different types of producers, because after the success of the second album [2018’s ‘Voicenotes’], I had a whole slew of people that wanted to work with me, which was I’m super touched by, but they all had different visions of what they wanted me to be,” Puth reveals. “It felt right to scrap it and start fresh.”

The process is something he’d like to do with the early demos that eleveneleven never got around to releasing. Of the demos, he says, “There are a couple of songs that I plan on revisiting. … There were so many people that touched the songs and did their own renditions that I got so turned off. But I think now that some time has passed I’ll open up those ProTools sessions and get them back to what they were originally supposed to sound like.”

No doubt when that time comes, Puth will share those snippets first on TikTok, like he did with the evolution of “CHARLIE,” using the platform as a means to invite fans into his process. 

“I think this type of content — DIY content — really transcends because it feels human, like a human made it. I film it with this phone I’m speaking to you on right now, I order my own ring lights on Amazon,” says Puth. “I try to incorporate just a little bit of that, because I want kids to want to make music, I want them to want to make art. For whatever reason in America, art is not at the forefront. …I guess I’m just trying to convey that it’s possible.”

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