Archives For Charlie Puth

By Ralphie Aversa


Charlie Puth confirmed to me that the “Nine Track Mind” album cycle is finished but he stopped short of saying that he wouldn’t be a part of any other new music before year’s end.

“We filmed a video for ‘Dangerously’ just as like a fan thank you,” he revealed. “Yunno, thanks for this amazing life-changing year; here’s a really cool video for a very popular song on the album.”

“Life-changing” is an apt way to describe Puth’s world since the release of “See You Again.” The Wiz Khalifa-fronted song, which served as the main single from the “Furious 7” soundtrack, went on to accumulate GRAMMY and Golden Globe nods while also racking up a billion plays on YouTube.
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Then you factor in Puth as a solo artist: three hit singles off a Gold-certified debut album with two U.S. tours in support of it.

“Kind of like a whirlwind,” is how Puth characterized the past year-and-a-half. “I went from literally having nobody know me to, yunno having five security guards around me when I walk around Times Square.”

The Rumson, New Jersey-native seems to enjoy the ride. Just a few nights prior to our chat, he played to a sold-out Beacon Theatre on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

“We shut down two streets!” he exclaimed, before chastising me over a tweet I sent about thankfully not grocery shopping that night. The venue is across from my neighborhood store, a Fairway.

“Saw your tweet; you were like, ‘I’m glad I didn’t go shopping!’” Puth repeated, while clearly amused before adding, “Don’t get it twisted. I read your tweets!”

The one consistent since I started interviewing Puth a year-ago is his demeanor: he takes his art seriously but certainly enjoys lightening up a bit too. Apparently, that doesn’t just occur during interviews either.

“I joke around with my boys The Chainsmokers all the time like, ‘When are we going to make a song where we can like, turn up to in Vegas with everybody and make a big party out of it?’” he told me. “I’ve written records with a lot of amazing, legendary artists, new and old, even in these past couple of months.

“So… that’s all I’m going to say.”

Adam Friedman performed an acoustic version of his single “Lemonade” and then chatted about working with Mike Posner on the track and going to school at Berklee with Charlie Puth.
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There were a lot of “firsts” on my latest trip to Los Angeles: my first time running 14 miles while on the west coast, my first time leaving an item behind at the dry cleaners, my first time covering an award show weekend without attending said award show and my first time flying back and having to travel directly from the airport to the radio station so I could immediately hop on the air.

This and more explains why for the first time, I’m just jotting down stories from the jaunt to cover GRAMMYs weekend… about two weeks after the fact.


Working out is one pre-trip routine; another is visiting H&M Times Square the night before I fly out. In the past, this would be a necessity to pick up a few clothing items last-second. Recently it’s become more of a customary trip because I actually plan ahead and shop for most of my clothes weeks before so I can purchase online.


Regardless, I found a few shirts and made my way uptown. I settled in to my apartment with a coffee, caught up on work and packed. My flight was at 7 am out of JFK so I pulled an all-nighter and slept on the plane.

Having the day in Los Angeles ahead of work obligations was fantastic. Through Amazon Prime I ordered a tripod, almond milk and a case of water for my room. At the Ralph’s supermarket nearby our downtown hotel I picked up produce, a few vegan breakfast items, snacks and hummus. I also made time to drop off the dry cleaning that I would eventually forget to pick up.

After unpacking my suitcase and putting away my groceries, I fit in a nice 5 mile run, then showered and prepared for our GRAMMY broadcast orientation. It took place on Thursday night in the hotel, complete with beer, wine and passed hors d’oeuvres. The night continued with a few colleagues at a posh sushi joint downtown and ended with me passing out instead of meeting up with friends (remember – I pulled an all-nighter and was still on east coast time).


Friday started relatively normal: woke-up on time, fit in a quick jog, grabbed breakfast, prepped and changed. I walked over to Staples Center around 11:30 am for our noon broadcast; in addition to setting-up our space for the weekend I had to meet with network execs and representatives from Twix. For the two-day event myself and TV host Rocsi Diaz would serve as brand ambassadors on site for the candy, interviewing artists about both their music and Twix. Of course this was in addition to my responsibilities with my four radio stations.


Perhaps the most poignant from Friday that didn’t see the light of day: the chat Rocsi and I had with GRAMMY nominee Charlie Puth. I asked Charlie who he would thank if “See You Again” scored one of the three awards it was up for. He responded with his mom, Wiz Khalifa and Paul Walker. Rocsi asked a great follow-up about Paul and Charlie revealed that he never met the late actor, but through the song formed a strong bond with “Furious 7” star Vin Diesel. The two often swap stories regarding Walker and the person who Puth originally wrote the song about and Charlie told us the similarities are striking.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


The broadcast is four hours of insanity: handlers moving artists in and around your interview area, pre-taping for radio stations, taping for Twix, posing for photos, brokering scheduling deals to snag time with celebrities, the interviews themselves and then a lot of hand-shaking. I usually wash my hands at least twice during the time I’m there.


The nice thing is that we always wrap with what one executive in our company termed “mandatory fun” – a live artist performance that’s catered with beer, wine and food. On Friday we were treated to a set from Mike Posner.

Typically this is the point where I would retire to my room for the night and edit photos, video and audio until I couldn’t see straight. Instead, I uploaded a photo slide show and a few interviews and then had to get ready for Friday night’s festivities: Rooftop Live at Perch downtown. The evening included music by Audien and a performance from the Joe Jonas-fronted DNCE.


By the way, DNCE is fantastic live.

This is definitely where my weekend turned: I was out late, still on east coast time and my itinerary for the weekend was not letting up. I slept-in Saturday and instead of going for a run, used my morning to continue uploading content from Friday. Then, it was off to Staples Center for round two. The big differences between Friday and Saturday are that on Saturday, I’m not on-deadline with four radio stations and many more artists come by.


As far as interviews, it was nice to chat for the first time with Nick Fradiani, BØRNS and the lovely Hailee Steinfeld. “Mandatory fun” included a rousing performance from Nathan Sykes.

A photo posted by Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) on


I taped a few more things for the weekend radio shows and then packed up. Again, usually Saturday night would be spent editing non-stop. Instead, I edited quite a bit, grabbed that 3 mile run I skipped earlier and got ready for a night-out. A friend of mine from Niagara Falls, Allyson DeMunda, was performing at the legendary Comedy Cellar in West Hollywood. I had never been to the venue and I wanted to support her, so I trekked out to WeHo for the evening. She was fantastic, as were some of the others, including “America’s Got Talent” season eight runner-up Taylor Williamson. By the time the show wrapped and I found an Uber, Los Angeles already had its last call, so it was back to my room to upload more content and get a good night’s rest.


The elevators in our hotel were out-of-order Sunday, a lovely surprise to wake-up to. Naturally, I was on the top floor. I packed a bag with gym clothes, walked down the stairwell, and checked it at the lobby. Then I headed back to Hollywood for brunch with a buddy of mine – we also watched Syracuse beat-up on Boston College. He drove me back downtown where I picked up that bag and worked out. Yes, I still had editing to do and was able to complete a bit more work before cleaning up for Sunday evening’s festivities.


First stop: Capitol Records iconic Studio A. Frank Sinatra, John Mayer, Daft Punk… so many legendary artists and songs recorded in the room I stood in. To honor the “Chairman of the Board,” I partook in a drink of Jack Daniels, his favorite.


By far this was the coolest moment of the trip. The event was held in the studio, dimly lit with a full bar and light fare. Every song they played in the background was recorded in Studio A. Yes, even “Let It Go” made the playlist.

The event also included a question-and-answer between our SVP/Partnerships Tommy Page and the legendary songwriter Diane Warren, plus a performance by Troye Sivan.


Our crew made a quick pit-stop at The W before heading to the Nielsen Pre-GRAMMY Bash, which was held at Hyde and featured entertainment from the Preservation Jazz Band and the GRAMMY-nominated Leon Bridges. The party was spectacular; full bar, sushi, a couple of carving stations and most importantly a lot of really great people from our industry.


The Sunday night-cap included a trip to In-N-Out and I vow to never order a burger “protein style” again. I ended up taking a quick nap before an early flight back home. Normally I sleep on the plane, but instead I found myself editing copious amounts of video and then being stuck in a holding pattern for over an hour due to the weather at JFK. When we finally landed, it took us a half-hour to taxi yet somehow I still made it (barely) for my show that night.


Naturally, it took my body much longer than normal to recover from my latest west coast trip. And I still haven’t figured out how I’m getting my jeans back.

InStyle Magazine Senior Editor Sharon Clott Kanter called up the show to chat about her recent visit from Charlie Puth and recent trip to Sundance Film Festival where she interviewed a one Nick Jonas.
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How hectic is Charlie Puth’s life right now? The singer behind the anthem “See You Again” didn’t realize how many GRAMMY nominations he received until Google told him.

“Well, I originally thought it was ‘a’ GRAMMY,” revealed Puth when I spoke with him after he and rapper Wiz Khalifa performed the “Furious 7” track on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in Times Square. Puth and I chatted in a hotel lobby just blocks from the ball drop. “And then I Google-d it because, who doesn’t Google me? And then I saw that it was three GRAMMY nominations.

“Absolutely incredible. With Wiz. Mind blown.”

Puth expressed similar feelings when he described what it was like to sing in front of an international TV audience and over a million people in Times Square.
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“I didn’t realize how many people were there until I looked in the abyss and saw many more millions of people going down to 59th Street,” he said. I was going to correct him and say 49th but then he added, “And I know what that is because I’m from here, so I know that that’s a long block away.”

In addition to the nods for Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media, “See You Again” was up for Best Original Song at the Golden Globe Awards. It lost to a formidable competitor in Sam Smith, who turned in a brilliant theme for the latest “Bond” film: “Writing’s On The Wall.”

So in the span of about five-and-a-half weeks Puth turned 24, scored three GRAMMY nominations, performed on New Year’s Eve in Times Square and attended the Golden Globes as a nominee.

Not a bad stretch for a kid from Rumson, N.J. Puth attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and graduated after Ellen DeGeneres discovered and signed him to a record deal. Things didn’t work out with the talk show host’s label imprint, but that platform led executives at Atlantic Records to find the singer; Atlantic eventually scooped him up.

Puth is set to release his debut, full length album “Nine Track Mind” on January 29. The LP features the Meghan Trainor-assisted “Marvin Gaye” and his latest single “One Call Away.” Also appearing on the album are singer Shy Carter (“As You Are”), Selena Gomez (“We Don’t Talk Anymore”) and Khalifa.

“It’s basically a musical summary of what my crazy, hectic year has been like,” Puth explained when I asked him about the album back in October. “It’s been a life-changing year and I wanted to make something musical that represented that.”

Just think, it was already a life-changing year for him a few months ago… and that was before he was searching his name on Google to figure out if he had multiple GRAMMY nominations.

I was live in Times Square for New Year’s Eve on 95.5 PLJ. In addition to counting down in to 2016, I chatted with Charlie Puth, Miss America and George Zimmer. Check out some of the sights and sounds below!



The second day of a backstage broadcast is usually a bit more hectic, and while the entire weekend was busier with our “Malibu Mansion Live” event, Saturday was no different from previous day two experiences. Notables that I spoke with included Charlie Puth, Alessia Cara, Michael and Luke from 5 Seconds of Summer and Joe Jonas’ new band DNCE.





Another award show, another night poised to center around music’s biggest name: Taylor Swift.

As details about this year’s American Music Awards continue to be revealed, the inescapable number is 6. That is the number of nominations that Swift scored this year, and if she sweeps, the “Wildest Dreams” singer will have more AMAs than any other artist ever.

Keep in mind that the award show was created by Dick Clark back in 1973. The AMAs are 16 years older than Swift, who as I’m sure you’re well aware of by now, was born in 1989.

I asked Charlie Puth, who is up for two AMAs this year thanks to “See You Again,” what makes Swift so successful.

“She knows her brand so well,” he told me at the ABC Good Morning America studio in Times Square, shortly after revealing nominations on GMA. “When she brings all of the artists to go perform with her on her show, there’s no guessing. She knows exactly where everybody is supposed to stand. She just knows the stage very, very well.”

Puth is referring to the number of A-list cameos that have taken place during Swift’s “1989 World Tour,” which is continuing to headline and sell out stadiums and arenas across the country.

“She knows exactly what she wants to hear in her music, and her fans want to hear the same thing,” continued Puth, even admitting that he feels his ability to so acutely breakdown Swift’s success sounds a bit “stalker-ish,” but he is a big fan of her work.
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Thankfully for the Rumson, N.J. native, he will only have to battle Swift head-to-head in one of the two categories he is up for. Wiz Khalifa and Puth’s “See You Again” is nominated for “Song of the Year” with “Blank Space.” The “Furious 7” track is also in the running for “Collaboration of the Year,” unleashed by T-Mobile.

“I don’t even know what to say,” was Puth’s response when I brought up the two nominations, including one in a major category for the show. “I never thought this would happen to me. It’s such an honor to be a part of the song with Wiz.”

The duo performed the track in May at the Billboard Music Awards in what proved to be a learning experience for the 23 year-old.

“My one piece of Charlie advice to myself would be, ‘Charlie, don’t get so star struck the moment you start playing the piano,’ because I saw all of the Kardashians just lined up and I was like, ‘Oh!’” he recalled. “I kind of messed up because I got so star struck.”

No word if Puth will perform at The AMAs; Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez and 5 Seconds Of Summer have been confirmed for the show in Los Angeles. Jennifer Lopez will also perform in addition to hosting the festivities, which will air live on ABC Sunday night November 22 at 8 p.m.