BEVERLY HILLS, California: Charlie Puth is done playing by the rules.
“I’ve wanted to make music like this for a very, very long time, but I almost wasn’t, dare I say, allowed?” Puth said of his recently released sophomore album, “Voicenotes.”
“No one wanted to hear too much jazz in pop music.”
His response: “Let me prove to you that it’s possible.”
While perched behind a piano ? one of dozen or so keyboards stacked up in every corner of his cozy home recording studio in Beverly Hills ? Puth recalled his humble beginnings as man on a mission.
“The hardest thing was just getting people on board, convincing people that I did write good music. Granted, I mean, just four years ago my music was not nearly as ? in my opinion ? good as it is now,” said the 26-year-old. “So I don’t blame A&Rs for looking at their phones while they were in meetings with me and half listening to the songs.”
So Puth, a YouTube star who rocketed to fame with the 2015 Wiz Khalifa collaboration “See You Again,” perfected his craft.
His 2016 debut album, “Nine Track Mind,” offered a slew of hits including the Meghan Trainor-assisted doo-wop “Marvin Gaye” and the Selena Gomez duet “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” He was also busy behind-the-scenes creating hits for the likes of Liam Payne, Maroon 5, Pitbull, Jason Derulo and Trey Songz.
“It just took a couple years for me to get better at producing and get better at writing,” he said. “And then I didn’t have to try to explain it to them anymore. I would just say, ‘Here’s the three-minute MP3 proving that you can put jazz chords into a pop record and it could do really well on the Billboard chart.”
Puth recently invited The Associated Press into his tranquil, mid-century style home to chat about his 2018 Honda Civic Tour with pal Hailee Steinfeld, which kicks this week, how he catches concerts these days and why Hawaiian punch is the secret to his success. —AP