OMG, Selena Gomez’s New BFF Had the Most Traumatic Near-Death Experience
By now you should know the name “Charlie Puth.” If not, you’ve pretty much been living under the biggest rock, like, ever. For the past few months he’s been hanging on the Billboard Hot 100 with not one but two songs thanks to “See You Again” and “Marvin Gaye.” Both instant hits right off the bat. To put it lightly, we are rocking back and forth with excitement for January 22, a.k.a. the release date of Nine Track Mind, Charlie’s much anticipated debut album.
He’s been making headlines of late thanks not only to his killer vocals slash songwriting skills slash major producing collaborations (whoa), but also because of his new-found bestie Selena Gomez. He had the sweetest things to say about SelGo and the entire squad. He also slipped in a childhood anecdote involving himself, a brutal dog attack and a lasting scar. Ever wonder where his signature eyebrow came from? Read all about that plus everything you need to know before Nine Track Mind drops:
You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “See You Again” this summer and “Marvin Gaye” has been taking over the radio for a few weeks now… It was a huge summer for you. What have been some of your favorite moments?
“It scared me how many times it was being played! And now I’m getting scared again (laughs). Every time I get in an Uber it starts to play. My favorite moment was when I was on tour. I was hearing people talk about it and had my friends tell me that they heard me on the radio and Snapchat me about it and everything. My fans would tell me on Twitter if it was playing on the radio and now it’s more common so they don’t tell me as much (laughs). At first it was a huge deal — it still is — but this summer performing it for a crowd of, like, 5,000 people in one place and them screaming the lyrics along, that was pretty insane.”
Speaking of “Marvin Gaye,” how did that collab get started?
“You know, that almost didn’t happen because I was originally singing the song at a party that I almost didn’t go to. Meghan (Trainor) heard it and she FLIPPED out and was like, ‘I have to sing that with you!’ We made it a duet and she gave me my first big push into the public eye, which was very cool and very nice of her.”
She just happened to hear you playing it and wanted in?
“Yeah, it was the first record I wrote in California and “See You Again” was the second record I wrote in California. California has been treating me really well (laughs). Can you imagine? She almost didn’t go to that party and I almost didn’t go to that party.”
That’s crazy! What made you decide to go to the party?
“I guess I was just being introverted. I was on my couch watching TV and just didn’t want to get up. I’m a homebody times ten. I was eating potato chips and was just so gross. No one wanted to see me on that Saturday night (laughs). My friend told me that you never know what’s going to happen if you force yourself to do something… That actually happened the other day at the Republic Records party, too. It was after the VMA’s and I had a burger in my hand and was about to leave. My friend that’s a producer came up to me and said, “You’re the only person sitting out here eating a burger who could walk up to Taylor Swift‘s table and say what’s up to her.’ I was like noo. Then I was like, yeah I guess I can (laughs). I threw the burger down and walked up and told security I know her… I don’t know her (laughs). Hailee Steinfeld, who sings that great song, “Love Myself,” called me over and then Taylor was like, ‘Charlie Puth! I love your song. Come here!’ I literally went from 0 to 100. I was sitting with Selena (Gomez), Taylor, Hailee, Sean Mendes, who’s hilarious. Nick (Jonas) was the party man and we were all celebrating. It was a good time. Taylor was named after James Taylor and claims that she knows all the James Taylor songs, and I’m a huge fan of James Taylor and know all his songs, too. My dad told me that if I ever met Taylor Swift I had to tell her that I know every James Taylor song. We started naming albums and we were both shouting them out. I think it was a tie. (laughs). It was cool to see Nick there, too, because he’s another New Jersyian. I’m from Monmouth County.”
So, basically you’re in Taylor’s squad now?
“(Laughs) Her squad is all so nice. I think “Hot Boy” by Bobby Shmurda just came on out of nowhere and Taylor was pointing to me and we were all laughing. I got to meet Shawn Mendes and Selena Gomez, both who I’m big fans of, too. I got to meet all of Taylor’s friends. At first I didn’t want to be there, but the moment I met them all my anxiety just went down. Camila Cabello was there, too, and she’s super sweet. What’s crazy is that all these people knew my song, and “Marvin Gaye,” too. I was floored by all their support. Taylor really supports up-and-coming artists. Selena is in the UK the same time as me doing promo. I made a friend, so yay!”
There’s been a lot of talk about you and Selena hanging out. Any collaborations in the works?
“We’re friends. She’s a really… It’s nice in the industry having friends going through similar things. Obviously she’s on a much bigger level and is doing movies and all that stuff, but I can’t really relate to anyone else right now so I like talking to her. She’s really cool. She played me a couple of songs off her upcoming album and they sound really cool. I like her sound a lot. Yeah, I’d be down to collab with anyone who is super talent.”
Fingers crossed! Let’s talk about your tour with Meghan Trainor. What was that like?
“The tour was cut short because of her vocal problem, but it’s better that she fixed that now rather than wait until later. It was the perfect beginning because I had never toured before. Actually, I’ve never played in front of people (laughs). I went on Ellen once and even then I was just a bad performer. It was nerve-racking at first playing in front of all her fans who really wanted to see her. Her fans are so young and accepting to new people and it helped that they knew “Marvin Gaye,” too. I was really accepted and it was basically like practice for me, except on a major tour. I’m sad that it ended early, but I got to play some of my own shows, too, from the fairs that we were supposed to do together. I went out and did it and that was scary too, I’m not going to lie (laughs), but I did it. Now, I get nervous but it’s a good nervous; I’m excited to perform.”
Have you ever had an on-stage mishap while performing live, like forgetting lyrics or tripping?
“With my new song, “One Call Away” it’s so brand new that I’ll sometimes mess the lyrics up. It’s fine, it’s so brand new that I’m allowed to mess up a little. Then, this summer at the Billboard Music Awards I choked up because I was playing “See You Again” and there were all these crazy celebrities in front of me. The curtains opened up and Kylie Jenner was just looking at her phone, maybe she was Tweeting about me! (Laughs) Probably not, but I’m sure she’s sweet though. I didn’t forget the lyrics but I was just like running out of breath. It ended up being a memorable moment.”
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done for you this summer?
“One flattering thing was that a fan painted this incredible portrait and it looked just like a picture someone took. They gave it to me and I was like, I need to hug them.”
Speaking of Puthers, earlier this year they started shaving their eyebrows to match yours. There’s a pretty crazy story behind your eyebrow. Would you mind sharing?
“By the way, they started calling themselves that! I have no idea where that name came from (laughs), but I’m happy that they came up with it. I’ve seen a couple of cases of fans who did do that. I was bit by a dog when I was two-years-old, and it almost mauled my face. It almost killed and/or blinded me. I was this close to dying at two, which is terrible. I survived it and there was no head trauma or anything like that. Honestly, it was a miracle. My mom hates when I tell this story, but I got, like, 400 stitches and it took about four months to recover from that. My eyebrow is permanently like this, so it makes me sad when people make fun of it and are like, “His eyebrows aren’t on fleek.” I don’t want to call them out because they just don’t know and my fans will literally attack them (laughs). I just let it happen on its own, someone usually does end up yelling at them anyway.”
Wow, that’s insane! Do you have a fear of dogs now?
“I love dogs. I have a little puppy Cavalier named Brady. I used to have a Yorkie named Toby, too.”
We have to talk about your debut album Nine Track Mind. Is “Marvin Gaye” a good preview of what the rest of the album will sound like?
“Not really, “Marvin Gaye” is kind of its own animal. I think that’s why it works so well with the Meghan Trainor feature. “Marvin Gaye” has the soulful vibe and everything else has the soulful vibe, but not the throwback vibe. There is a lot of gospel kind of sounds thrown in there, too. The whole record was recorded in my bedroom and I can’t fit a gospel choir in there so there are a lot of tracks with layers of my voice. I’m the choir, literally (laughs). I produced it and the Charlie choir is in there with hop-hop hints and elements thrown in. I want every song to sound like a single.”
We have to ask, what was the inspiration behind the name?
“(Laughs) There are twelve tracks, not nine. It’s called Nine Track Mind because every day of my life since I was about five or whenever I could talk regularly, I would have a bunch of things going on in my mind. Up to nine or more things…They would be musical, car horns, G sharps — all that going through my mind all the time. It’s like a double meaning because, like I said, I produced the record in my bedroom and every record I started with one track to record the piano and eight tracks to record my voice, so nine tracks. A little cheeky (laughs). Everyone also gets to see my eyebrow on the front cover. It’s very yellow. It’s like, BAM.”
Can you tell us a little about your latest single, “One Call Away.”
“”One Call Away” is the first instant grab. If you pre-order the album you get it. It’s basically a song for anyone who is in a long distance relationship.”
Is it about a certain someone?
“No one that I dated, but someone that I would have gone through being in a long distance relationship with. She’s always travelling and I’m always travelling. I would do a long distance relationship for her. I always think when I’m making a record what the soundtrack would be with everything that is going on in my life. Every song on this album is something that I was going through at certain points in my life. It’s a nice progression story.”
You’re the king of collabs right now. Are there any other cool collabs that you’re excited about?
“What’s crazy is, Kehlani (Parrish) — this isn’t on the album — she’s a really crazy gifted songwriter and singer. She’s very relevant in the hip-hop scene right now. I grew up listening to hip-hop and we just threw this cover up of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and just made it a duet piano version. We decided to just put it up for free and it was blowing up and there were so many articles about it. That was a cool collaboration with me and someone who I consider such a cool artist. She’s incredible. There’s Lil Wayne, too. We did a song called, “Nothing But Trouble” about girls who are just on Instagram and are kind of not really telling the truth about who they really are and just take it to a whole new level. In the video we’re around all these two-dimensional women and it’s really cool. I went to Miami for one day and got to be side-by-side and back-to-back with Lil Wayne (laughs). I also produced and wrote two records on Jason Derulo‘s new album and produced and wrote Trey Songz’s “Slow Motion,” which if you hear it, it’s actually my voice in the background. That was fun, too. I did a record for Fergie recently. All the new stuff on her album is really anticipated. I get to learn artistry from all these great artists that I get to work with. I did something for Nick Jonas the other day, too. It’s really great to learn from them and get confidence from them, and then I can lend my artistic stuff to their sound, too.”
What about on Nine Track Mind?
“No, I just wanted everything to be purely me. I could have had a bunch of features on the album, but I didn’t want that to be the selling point of the album. I want people to hear what I’ve been going through for 23 years up until this point. It’s important for the Meghan Trainor collaboration to be on there because that’s what gave me the original push.”
Do you have any other exciting news that you can share with fans?
“Not yet, just that I’m really excited about the album. My fan-base seems to be growing every day, which is really cool. There’s a lot more that I want to share, but I can’t share it just yet. One time I slipped during a radio interview and it was really awkward (laughs). I didn’t have a lot of friends when I moved to California and now I’m making some, which is also really nice. New friends, new album and living life.”