Charlie Puth knows exactly what he’d like to wear to this year’s Grammy Awards. The 24-year-old singer-songwriter is up for three awards for his “Fast & Furious 7” single, “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa, and he’d love to wear a dark green Saint Laurent suit. But don’t ask him what he plans to say if he wins.
“I don’t want to jinx it,” he says “I just have a couple bullet points. I’ll thank Wiz, first and foremost, and I’ll thank Paul [Walker] and Vin Diesel for including me in the film, and my mom.”
Puth’s Meghan Trainor duet “Marvin Gaye” — a cleverly coquettish hook that utilizes the soul singer’s name as a verb — and subsequent follow-ups (“One Call Away,” Nothing But Trouble” with Lil Wayne) teased what type of album might be expected from the Berklee grad. We caught up with Puth from Washington, D.C. where he’s on a rigorous promo schedule ahead of Friday’s release of his long-awaited studio debut, “Nine Track Mind” from Atlantic Records.
Where were you when you found out about the Grammy nominations?
I was coming back from London, in the air with no WiFi, and then immediately got a sea of text. Like 600 of them, saying congratulations. It was totally surreal.
I’ve read that you’re a self-proclaimed “music nerd,” but what do you really like to geek out to?
I love pretty much everything, but I like to break down the production in music. I like to listen really closely to try to figure out what type of reverb is on John Mayer’s “Clarity,” or I like to breakdown the chord structures of songs. I like everything from Irving Berlin to Phil Collins.
Where did you write this album?
This is going to sound really strange, but I spent most of the time writing in my lawyer’s house. I had to move out of my apartment because I simply didn’t want to live there anymore, and my lawyer and I are really good friends and it’s convenient that he’s also an awesome attorney. I had a writing session in an AirBnB and it was on a cliff, and i just didn’t like the vibe, I got freaked out. So I went to his house and had a writing session and didn’t leave for like six months. I did the whole album there.
You’re like the roommate that never leaves.
I literally had Selena Gomez come over and record in one of the closets because we didn’t have a vocal booth set up.
How were the acoustics?
It was good. We just had to put in a lot sweaters to diminish the reverb.
How did “We Don’t Talk Anymore” come to be?
I met Selena at an after party after the MTV Video Music Awards and we were talking about something and in the back of my head, I was thinking, ‘I’d like to do a song with her some day.’ She has a really cool voice and I think our voices complement each other really well. I didn’t think this was going to be the song for her, or for me.
As for lyrical sentiment, I think it fits so well for her to be on [the song] because everyone knows what she went through. And I think everyone has had those relationships where you’re obsessed with that one person, but then you break it off peacefully, but it’s changed. You can’t talk to them like friends anymore. You can say you want to remain friends, but it’s easier said than done. It’s heartbreaking. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” is basically the conversation a month after that type of breakup.
If you go:
April 4 at 7 p.m.
Theatre of the Living Arts
334 South St., 215-922-1011
April 5 at 7 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Avenue, Allston
April 7 at 7 p.m.
125 E. 11th St., 212-353-1600