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Charlie Puth started formal music training at an early age in his native Rumson, New Jersey. He made a debut of sorts in the sixth grade with a Christmas album he recorded, copied, and sold on his own. In high school, he studied jazz piano in the Manhattan School of Music's pre-college program, which led to enrollment at Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, his social media uploads gained an early supporter in television host Ellen DeGeneres, who in 2011 signed him and duet partner Emily Luther to her Warner Bros.-affiliated eleveneleven label. Puth and Luther performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show the following year, but no studio recordings materialized from the recording contract. Puth remained active with social media as he wrapped up his Berklee studies -- he graduated in 2013 with a degree in songwriting, music production, and engineering -- and continued adding to his discography of self-released material.
In 2014, Puth placed songs on full-lengths by Pitbull and Bonnie McKee, and extensively worked on Blue Sky, an album by mentor and Berklee voice professor Livingston Taylor. His career accelerated after he signed with Atlantic early the next year. That February, "Marvin Gaye," featuring vocals from Meghan Trainor, was released as his major-label debut and began its ascent to multi-platinum status. Within a month, Puth was heard on Wiz Khalifa's Furious 7 soundtrack contribution "See You Again," a tribute to actor Paul Walker that went to number one in dozens of territories including the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Some Type of Love, a four-track EP, was out in May, followed three months later by the true "Marvin Gaye" successor "One Call Away," also an eventual multi-platinum single, which doubled as another preview of Puth's forthcoming album. Over the course of that breakout year, Puth racked up additional co-writing credits with material for Skizzy Mars, Jason Derulo, Trey Songz, and Cee Lo Green. "See You Again" was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year.
Nine Track Mind, Puth's first proper full-length, arrived in January 2016. A few months after it debuted at number six on the Billboard 200, it was bolstered by the Selena Gomez duet "We Don't Talk Anymore," a Top Ten hit that continued Puth's streak of multi-platinum hits as a headliner. Recording-wise, he was comparatively quiet the rest of the year, heard on Little Mix's "Oops" and DNCE's guest-filled version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." In 2017, Puth strode toward his second album with "Attention" and "How Long," a pair of breezy, breathy numbers that added to his RIAA plaques. The former single became his second Top Ten pop hit as lead artist. Puth additionally charted as co-songwriter of Zara Larsson's "So Good" and Liam Payne's "Bedroom Floor," and he co-wrote and co-produced "Lips on You" for Maroon 5. Collaborations with Boyz II Men, James Taylor, and Kehlani were issued ahead of Voicenotes, Puth's second album. Released in May 2018, it hit number four on the Billboard 200. The singles "I Warned Myself," "Mother," and "Cheating on You," were issued in 2019, with "Girlfriend" arriving in 2020. ~ Andy Kellman