No one would have predicted that the artist to finally end the 14-week No. 1 reign of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' “Uptown Funk” would be an unknown singer named Charlie Puth. But that's exactly what happened this week when “See You Again,” the track by rapper Wiz Khalifa featuring Puth singing the chorus, ascended to the No. 1 position on the singles chart.
The contemplative track from the movie Furious 7 features Khalifa rhyming about a relationship that will never be lost and a bond that will never be broken. Puth plays piano and croons the hook, “It’s been a long day without you my friend/ And I’ll tell you about it when I see you again.” “See You Again” raced to No. 1 in only its fifth week on the chart.
Puth wrote the melody after being approached by publishers to write a tribute to the late Paul Walker, who died before filming of the movie was complete. Puth was originally a YouTube star, then got signed by Ellen DeGeneres' record label and appeared on her show multiple times before earning his current deal with Atlantic.
The 23 year old has been writing with Akon, Lil Wayne, Jason Derulo and Trey Songz. Puth recently issued his first single as a lead artist, “Marvin Gaye,” which features vocals from “All About That Bass” singer Meghan Trainor. Puth tells Billboard that Trainor's appearance on his debut single was a happy accident:
“Meghan and I were at a party one night, and we were exchanging the new music, and she heard 'Marvin Gaye' and asked, 'Who else is singing on this? It should be a duet. Let me sing on it!' So I'm like … OK, Meghan Trainor just asked me to sing on my song, absolutely! In one day, she knew the whole thing. We did it all in one take.”
Despite the hip-hop and soul leanings in his current music, Puth says his ultimate fantasy collaboration would be old-school folk singer James Taylor. “He's the reason why I write music,” Puth tells Billboard. “When my dad played me 'Walking Man,' I heard those chord changes and that melody, it completely blew me away. Maybe you wouldn't really hear the James Taylor influences in my music, but they're definitely buried in there.”
What's next for Puth? He'll be spending the summer hanging out with Trainor again, opening for her as she tours theaters across the country. That tour will provide a great opportunity for Puth to test out new music and continue putting together a full album.