One year ago, Charlie Puth was a wannabe artist watching fireworks at a beach club in New Jersey, debating whether to take a risk and move to Los Angeles or not.
Puth was taught piano by his mother from the age of four, and grew up trained in classical and jazz music. Too shy to perform in front of other people, he began uploading pop covers to YouTube. In 2011, his version of Adele's Someone Like You, performed with music schoolmate Emily Luther, went viral. He was invited to perform on Ellen DeGeneres' show, and finally got signed to Atlantic Records. But he still had to prove himself as a songwriter.
He decided to make the cross-country move. Like a fairy tale, things started happening on the very first day in LA. On day one he wrote Marvin Gaye, his hit single which features Meghan Trainor. On day two, his label asked him to come up with a song for the Furious 7 movie that would pay tribute to the late Paul Walker.
He was one of more than 50 songwriters asked to pitch a song, but not one of the dozens shown footage of the film for inspiration. But to the surprise of everyone, himself included, he wrote the lyrics and melody in 10 minutes.
"That melody and those lyrics were the first things that came out of my mouth," Puth tells Young Post over the phone. "It's the best thing I've possibly ever written."
Thoughts of a friend who had also died in car accident like Walker inspired his simple but poignant lyrics: "It's been a long day without you my friend/ And I'll tell you all about it when I see you again."
The 23-year-old was dumbfounded when he attended a pre-screening of the movie and heard his song playing - he had no idea the franchise had chosen his song. Wiz Khalifa had dropped verses around his vocals and beats were added to his piano melody. See You Again topped charts in more than 90 countries, earning No. 1 spots on the Billboard Hot 100, Shazam, iTunes and Spotify. Before he knew it, Puth was world famous.
The song's success was a great confidence booster. One night, he plucked up the courage to approach Trainor at a party. He played her Marvin Gaye, and she immediately said wanted to be involved - it was the first time that Trainor cut a song that she hadn't written. Influenced by Motown and hip hop with a simple hook and catchy chorus, Puth's debut single has more than 18 million views on YouTube.
Puth is thrilled that he is able to support himself financially. He comes from a poor family that couldn't afford spaghetti sauce when he was a child, and he says his family keeps him humble. "You can't let yourself get cocky," he says.
"I've lost a couple friends because they couldn't handle the fame, but that's okay, they're doing me a favour by showing me they're not true friends."
In May, he released his EP, Some Type of Love, and is now working on his debut album. On top of churning out hits, the rising star has two goals: acting and finding a girlfriend.
"Love to me is [being with] someone who I know I can have a great time just going to 7-Eleven and getting a pint of ice cream, going home, sitting on a couch, putting on Netflix and ordering Chinese food," he reveals. "I like a girl who's very confident in herself and there's something that she can educate me on."
That sounds an awful lot like Trainor - is a relationship with the Lips Are Movin' singer a possibility?
"Maybe!" Puth laughs. "I'm going on tour with her this summer, who knows?"
Check out Charlie's choice tunes for every emotion.