IN PHOTOS: 'See You Again' singer Charlie Puth performs for Manila crowd
So, who is Charlie Puth? A 23-year-old, singer/songwriter hailing from New Jersey, from Rumson NJ in fact, coincidentally, the same hometown as another famous resident of the Jersey Shore, Bruce Springsteen.
Puth is the latest in a long list of artists, who have rose to fame utilizing the internet. A YouTube sensation some may say, one of the hottest buzzwords in today's music scene. It's an interesting phenomenon and may not receive the amount of respect that it so deserves.
Certainly, it's not just a fad or a short-term trend, as some critics maintain; rather, it's a method by which artists can be discovered and heard by the masses, typically attaining millions upon millions of views from folks all across the world. And unless the Internet goes away, which is not likely, we'll maintain this way of discovering artists, indefinitely.
Tiffany Alvord, Alex Goot, Us the Duo, Against the Current, Greyson Chance, and Cody Simpson share a common pedigree, performing recently in the Philippines and beginning their careers on YouTube. And let's not forget the preeminent groundbreaking giant of the video world, Justin Bieber. With grassroots efforts, these performers were able to build an organic, loyal and dedicated fan base, all through the Internet – remarkable, really.
Not an easy task, even for the most tech savvy professionals, never-mind at a tender young age. They pull this off for a reason though, yeah they've all had some lucky breaks, but it's their natural talent that shines through.
Also a common denominator, they take social media networking seriously with a hands-on approach, as Charlie jokingly explained, "It's me, not some paid assistant, I may not always be able to write back but I'm actually seeing all of it."
Philippines. This night finally happened! And it was just as special as I thought it was gonna be. Thank you. See you again.— Charlie Puth (@charlieputh) October 3, 2015
It's authentic, there's a spark, something special which can be felt by everyone whether watching on a video or at a live show. Even if these newcomers aren't your cup of tea, you have to admire their gritty determination, basically creating a name for themselves, DIY.
Oddly enough, you can tell a great deal more about a performer, from what they do when things go wrong, rather than when things go right. As the show began, well it didn't. Eventually, Charlie sat down at the full size piano which dwarfed the stage and wouldn't you know it, technical difficulties ensued. His mic worked fine though, so he spoke with the crowd as the technical crew addressed the problem.
Charlie kept his cool like a pro, just leaning over the piano telling a story, seeming unfazed. He spoke with the fans in a monologue fashion, including one story when he bumped into Harry Styles of 1D, and the escapades that followed.
He told other stories and genuinely interacted with the crowd. And this took a while, they were still having no luck even after 10 minutes or so. The fans were generally well-behaved, although at times their exuberance was overwhelming, cheering so loudly, Charlie asked them to calm down so they could hear what he was saying. No surprise there, with an audience mainly comprised of young women under the age of 18, they were so excited, to say the least.
Puth is an overnight success – but the thing is, of course, that doesn't happen overnight.
Back in 2011, Puth’s hustle and dedication, a Berklee College of Music graduate, landed himself on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, his first big break. Eventually, he signed with eleveneleven, a label started by Ellen, which gives lesser known artists a chance for exposure. He has since left them, now residing in Los Angeles and recording with Atlantic Records.
After about 15 minutes of no music, a staff member whispered something in his ear, they were asking if he'd like to leave the stage and return when they have the sound working again. You could almost hear the collective disappointed gasp from the crowd. But it was quickly followed with elation when he said, 'Forget it I'll stay here and chat with you guys.' Moments after, perfect timing, they were back and began the 5 song setlist with "Some Type of Love".
Still at the dawn of his career, he has only two official singles to his name: the mega-hit “See You Again,” and “Marvin Gaye,” which is his first major label release. So as you might expect, it was not a lengthy setlist, which mixed in some cover songs, one in particular by Calvin Harris which highlighted Puth's smooth and mesmerizing voice.
As fate would have it, a couple songs in, before he began the soulful track "Marvin Gaye," the system had crashed again. No sound, no worries. Charlie went right back into the storytelling, giving a background into how this duet with Meghan Trainor came about.
Again, it took awhile for the crew to finally get the system back up, but it didn't matter. He was having much fun simply talking to the crowd, and even spiced it up a bit, busting into an impressive beatbox version of Snoop Dogg's famous track, "Drop It Like It's Hot."
At one point he suggested taking some selfies with the multitude, just as the front rows quickly began to approach the stage, the sound was back. The system maintained for the the remainder of the show but not before Charlie had charmed everyone with his friendly boy-next-door personality and down-to-earth demeanor, well done.
One of the downfalls, as with many of the newcomers performing cover songs, most listeners will usually say, well they sound just like so and so, or what's his name, not many points for originality. But not so with Puth, he has a style of his own. Think the vocal attributes of an Adam Lavine, with the sensibilities reminiscent of Jamie Cullum and an old soul of a classic crooner.
The sound system was okay, along with minimal stage lighting but none of that mattered much. He showed prowess on the piano, and delivered with an airy tone, a soothing and distinctive voice. A solid performance, impressive stuff.
When the system was up and running, he didn't just blaze through the setlist. He took time to introduce his bandmates, and added another song before wrapping it up with "See You Again."
This is the song that put him on the map, a pop/hip-hop collaboration with Wiz Khalifa which was featured on the Furious 7 soundtrack. Of course, Wiz wasn't there, but they did have prerecorded track mixed in, to enhance the song a bit. It topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making a rapid, three-week climb from 84 to number 1. Reaching the top spot in several countries, including the U.K., Germany, Australia, Italy, and Norway.
Before performing the ballad, he told the heartbreaking story behind the song, how he had also lost a close friend in a car crash. Charlie shares writing credits with DJ Frank E, Wiz, and Andrew Cedar. "When I found out my friend passed away, I texted him, I don't know why, I knew that he had already passed on and went to heaven."
Charlie continued, "Fast forward two years later, I pretended I was Vin Diesel and was thinking what would my last message be to Paul Walker," he thought, "I'll tell you all about my life when I see you again."
He further explained, "Went to the piano and played this chord and this song happened in ten minutes." A wonderful way to wrap up the event, this song builds at a perfect rate, simply seeped with emotion for both him and the crowd, very well done indeed.
The lucky fans in the mall that night really got a sense of who he is through all the interaction, quips and antidotes he shared. You felt like you were leaving the party having just made a new friend and all because of some technical problems.
Keep an eye out for this young man. They announced that the full-length debut album will be ready in the not-too-distant future and I'm 99.9% percent certain that it will impress. If you missed him this time, Charlie also jubilantly told the crowd, "I love you Manila!" and "we'll be back in 2016!" – don't miss it. – Rappler.com
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