Charlie Puth talks songwriting and Howard Stern

Charlie Puth wants people to know he's more than just a pretty face.

Charlie Puth wants people to know he’s more than just a pretty face.

Before the trio of Grammy nominations, before the dozen weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, before the musical hookups with Meghan Trainor and Wiz Khalifa, there was YouTube.

Charlie Puth’s 2009 channel dubbed “Charlies Vlogs” caught the attention of such entertainment luminaries as Perez Hilton and Ellen DeGeneres, and soon, more than the YouTube community knew of the immense talents of the young singer-songwriter-producer from New Jersey.

Now, Puth is becoming a name known beyond your 12-year-old daughter thanks to the ubiquity of his 2015 collaboration with Khalifa on “See You Again,” the ballad from “Furious 7” written in tribute to deceased star Paul Walker.

Though he had released EPs and written and produced songs for Pitbull, Trey Songz, CeeLo Green, Jason Derulo and others, Puth’s full-length debut, “Nine Track Mind,” didn’t arrive until January.

Last week, Puth launched a monthlong tour to support the album, and will trot his live show through a sold-out Terminal West on Monday.

Shortly before leaving for his extended road trip, Puth called from his home in California — where he was engaged in some last-minute cleaning — to talk about musicianship, his musical heroes and Howard Stern.

Q: What do you want people to learn about you from your live show?

A: I really want to show the true musicianship of things. There aren’t going to be visuals that are going to mask the music, it’s truly me on the piano and hearing my band. It’s maybe a change from what (people) are used to. I’m not knocking any artists, but some of these shows are so loud and blaring and the primary focus is not on the music. It’s fun for me to look at that, too, but I’m really about the core.

Q: You’re a young, good-looking guy, but you’re also a serious musician. Has it been difficult to get people to realize that you’re authentic?

A: It’s definitely been done before. When John Mayer came out — he went to the same school as me (Berklee College of Music) — he’s a good-looking guy with total jazz knowledge. I freaked out that he was an incredible guitar player with musical instincts. It works to his advantage when he plays these songs that I know are musically dense pieces of work and he plays them in front of an audience for whom that might not be their primary focus. It makes him more of a star.

Q: Your full debut album came out recently. Are you happy with it?

A: I really am. It’s cool for me because I can listen to it from back to front as many times as I want and that’s not really typical for me with my work.

Q: You’ve worked with Meghan Trainor and Wiz Khalifa and Selena Gomez and you’re only 24! Who is on your wish list?

A: I would love to work with Bruno Mars. Like John (Mayer), he has really good musical instincts. I was sitting right behind him at the Grammys and I just froze — you almost don’t want the opportunity to talk to people you admire!

Q: I loved the “See You Again” parody you did on the Howard Stern show last summer. Was it as fun an experience as it sounded?

A: I was in the Sirius building doing something on (SiriusXM) Hits 1 and I ran into (Stern show personalities) Sal and Richard and they were like, “This is crazy. We were just recording a parody of your song but Sal can’t sing it,” so Sal just held up a mic for me. I’ve been listening to the show since (I was a kid). I want to meet Howard. He says I can come on anytime and play, so I totally want to do that.

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CONCERT PREVIEW

Charlie Puth

With Phoebe Ryan and Sophie Beem. 7:30 p.m. March 14. Sold out. Terminal West, 887 W. Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-876-5566, www.terminalwestatl.com.


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