Charlie Puth knows how to drive the conversation. The 24-year-old doesn’t skip a beat when asked who he’d like to see sub in for Selena Gomez for their chart-topping single “We Don’t Talk Anymore.”
“I’d love to perform it with Bette Midler,” he says. “I would make this whole jazz orchestral arrangement with her.” Oh, Bette? You mean your fellow co-mentor on this upcoming season of the “The Voice,” premiering Monday on NBC? “Yeah, that’s why I said her,” he coyly adds.
Some might say Puth knows how to work the press, but that's likely because he’s has such a heavy year of talking to them. Pre-dating the January release of his debut studio album “Nine Track Mind,” Puth already had a mega-hit with another pop starlet, Meghan Trainor in the form of “Marvin Gaye.” He received a Song of the Year Grammy nod with Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” (they lost out to Ed Sheehan’s “Thinking Out Loud”) and embarked on his headlining tour come spring.
This time, Puth is out on the road again with the Don’t Talk Tour, accompanied by another YouTube wunderkind, Hailey Knox. He calls from Miami to discuss his big year, his foray onto the screen and what we can expect from his sophomore release.
The Don’t Talk Tour is only a few months after the Nine Track Mind Tour. How are are they different?
The music is better. [Laughs] I think the overall show is just really strong. Nine Track was obviously amazing for me in its own way because it was my first time. But I figured out a lot more about what I needed on the road. Tony Royster [Jr.] is on drums with me and he’s one of the best in the world. I wanted the best of the best behind me. I was really inspired by seeing Alicia Keys perform. I saw a small show of her’s and she gave me ideas for Don’t Talk [Tour]. I wanted give it a soulful, church-like vibe.
Speaking of Alicia, you’re the mentor to her team on this season of “The Voice” — what was that experience like for you?
I love arranging music and putting songs together and switching up keys, so it was a natural environment for me. I actually forgot I was on TV.
Would you ever do reality TV?
I don’t know. I think I would jump into acting in a small role first, but I’m happy that “The Voice” let me come on. It’s been insane being alongside all these legends.