‘See You Again’ Singer Charlie Puth: ‘Paul Walker Is The Reason I Have My Career’
To say it’s been a pretty good week for Charlie Puth would be an understatement. His chart-topping collaboration with rapper Wiz Khalifa, “See You Again,” was nominated for three Grammys on Monday, including Song of the Year. On Wednesday, “See You Again” was named the #1 music video on YouTube in 2015, with over 1.2 billion views. (His first YouTube video back in 2007 only climbed to about 200 views.) And today (Dec. 10), Puth woke up, fully clothed from the night before, a 2016 Golden Globe nominee.
Oh, and he heard his song “One Call Away” on the radio for the first time. So, yes, it’s been a pretty great week for Charlie Puth.
“Honestly, I’m just dumbfounded right now,” Puth, 24, told MTV News over the phone from his hotel in New York City. “I woke up, and I was like, ’Oh my god. I have my clothes on. Why do I have my clothes on? And I’m nominated for a Golden Globe. Holy crap.’”
After a week like this, it’s hard for Puth not to reflect on how far he’s come. “A year ago I was finishing up ’Marvin Gaye,’” he said. “I was producing ’Marvin Gaye’ in my bedroom, and I was finishing it up to try and get it ready to send to the label.”
When asked who he’s most excited to see at the Golden Globes, arguably the season’s chillest (and booziest) awards show, Puth said he’s just looking forward to reconnecting with Wiz. “At these award shows, me and Wiz usually stick together,” he said. “We have our gin and tonics and we just chill out in the back. Believe it or not, Wiz is pretty shy, and I’m pretty shy. But I’ll talk to people. It’s just an honor to be even nominated.”
Puth shot to fame earlier this year when he teamed up with Khalifa to write “See You Again” for “Furious 7.” The song was dedicated to the franchise’s late star Paul Walker, who tragically died in a car accident in November 2013 before filming for “Furious 7″ was complete. “See You Again” plays at the end of the film, during Brian O’Connor and Dom Toretto’s heartbreaking final ride together.
“Paul Walker, his spirit has literally blessed me with my career,” Puth said. “Paul Walker is the reason why I have my career right now — also, hard work, but the song that everybody knows, with me on it, I wrote it for him.”
The emotional impact of the song has also brought him closer to Vin Diesel. The “Fast & Furious” star loved the song so much, he belted out his own version of it at the 2015 MTV Movie Awards earlier this year and dedicated it to his “little brother Pablo.”
“I talk to Vin Diesel just as much as my parents,” Puth said. “That dude is so excited about everything. Me and him have a really special relationship. You would never expect me and Vin Diesel to be best friends, but we were connected through the power of Paul Walker and through the song that he inspired. It brought me and him together, and because of that, we’re friends for life now.”
Though Puth has yet to hear from Diesel about his Golden Globe nomination, he already knows that his brawny friend is “partying harder that anyone” in reaction to the news. After all, Diesel predicted this would happen.
Back in April, Diesel said that “Furious 7″ would win an Oscar at this year’s 88th Academy Awards ceremony. At the time, the press laughed it off. How could the biggest popcorn action flick of the year win an Oscar? Now that “See You Again” has been recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Diesel’s prediction doesn’t sound so far-fetched.
“If we win an Oscar, me and Wiz, I’m bringing Vin Diesel,” Puth said. “He’s going to be in front. I’m bringing him up on stage, and he’s going to also accept the award with us — and he’s going to nudge over and make some room for Paul, too.”
It’s hard not to associate “See You Again” with the untimely passing of Walker, but with over 1 billion views on YouTube, it’s safe to say the song has resonated with people because of its universal message.
“Over the summer, when I was touring with Meghan Trainor, I had a cop come up to me,” Puth recalled. “I was like, ’Oh god, what did I do?’ And he was a Tennessee cop. He came up to me, and he was like, ’Partner, I just want you to know that my wife was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, and she’s coming home tonight after this show, and you just made me and my daughter cry with ’See You Again.’ I literally just cried with them. It was intense. That’s the whole point of the song.”
“It’s for Paul, but it’s also for people like this guy. I think that’s why it’s the most universal record of the year.”