'Marvin Gaye' Hit Maker Charlie Puth Talks Early Influences

(Radio.com) Charlie Puth is ready for his closeup. A singer/musician, he's written and produced for Jason Derulo, Stevie Wonder, Meghan Trainor and Trey Songz among others and recently co-wrote, co-produced and sang the hook on Wiz Khalifa's chart-topping hip-hop anthem "See You Again," which plays in the final scene of Furious 7. That song topped the charts in over 90 countries across the globe, including the U.S.

Puth, who focuses on the pop and urban genres, hails from Rumson, New Jersey, where he lived near the famed Jersey Shore. "I didn't grow up wealthy," he says. 'We couldn't even afford spaghetti sauce when I was first born, but my mom and dad worked really hard and came from the bottom up."

James Taylor was an early influence--"My mom would put headphones on her belly and play his records to me while she was pregnant"--and later, Puth's father exposed him to R&B artists like Barry White, The Isley Brothers, and Marvin Gaye.

He began studying jazz and classical music at age 10 but became interested in pop after hearing producer Max Martin's late '90s work - that was Martin's Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys era. At 11, Puth got his first production keyboard, and started making his own CDs. In sixth grade, he recorded and produced his own Christmas album, which he sold door to door in his town. He took a very do-it-yourself approach to that project, designing the artwork, putting the jewel cases together and selling them. His final profit: $600. "I donated the proceeds to my local church," he says. Read more here.

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