Charlie Puth Makes Unforgettable Metaverse Debut In iHeartLand
By Rebekah Gonzalez
September 10, 2022
Charlie Puth has officially entered the metaverse. On Friday, September 9th, the singer became the first to grace iHeartLand's State Farm Park stage in Fortnite. Not only did his unforgettable performance set the tone for the rest of iHeartLand's one-of-a-kind concert events, but it also marked Puth's first musical performance in the metaverse. iHeartRadio's JoJo Wright was also there to ask the hitmaker some insightful questions about his upcoming third album Charlie.
To kick off the night, Puth started out strong with one of his biggest hits, "Attention." After both Puth and the crowd belted their hearts out on the catchy chorus, Charlie revealed he had painted his nails a pretty pink before the show but messed them up by putting on a jacket before letting them dry. "This is the song that started off my career," Charlie said before launching into his beloved 2015 collaboration with Wiz Khalifa "See You Again."
After a rousing drum solo by Cj Thompson at the end of the song, JoJo came out on stage to chat with Charlie, who revealed this was the first time he and his band hadn't ended their set with "See You Again." The conversation pivoted to Charlie's Instagram. "You're at what, 16.5 million [followers]," JoJo said, astonished. "Is it the music? Is it the hair? Is it a combo? I mean your hair is pretty amazing too," to which fans enthusiastically agreed.
"I quite frankly don't know," Charlie said. "I sometimes forget... I have a really bad problem where I'll be on Instagram Live and I'll think it's FaceTime. So I should probably stay off social media," he joked before assuring fans he would stay on. "I would hope that it would be about the music and the subtle thirst traps," he said, moving further away from the mic when mentioning his habit of posting suggestive photos.
"The artwork for the album," JoJo started, referencing the upcoming self-titled album, "It's you leaning next to a block of sorts, writing on the back of the wall. I feel like, tell me if I'm crazy, that it looks like we're looking into your brain. What's on the wall, is your brain."
"Yeah," Charlie agreed. "And I'd like to think that, and this is maybe a little cliché, but that box would maybe be the box that I used to be boxed into." He continued, "Things have always been so complicated in the past for me for photoshoots and I had to have my hair just right and everything had to be so immaculate. It looked good, but it never truly felt like me 100 percent. It took me, I'd say, five years to figure out that people wanted to see 100 percent of me and that's why I feel like I have the most people listening to my stuff nowadays."
Going back to the Charlie album cover, JoJo asked about the meaning behind the actual words on the wall and who wrote them. "That is my friend Matthew, who has very good handwriting. I told him I just wanted little scribbles of like what my brain looked like with handwriting and I just love his handwriting. So, that handwriting coming out of my head is just my brain exploding with thoughts cause that was kind of my past couple years on TikTok. I'm like 'what if there was a song that started like this?'" he said in reference to his viral music production videos. "Like, if I do a tour I want it to be called like, "What If There Was A Tour" or something."
"Any other artist have album artwork that really inspired you?" JoJo asked. After thinking it over Charlie revealed, "I always loved Dr. Dre's The Chronic album because it was like a really small picture. It almost looked like a little picture that you can put in your wallet. And it wasn't anything like really fancy but when you play that album, it's like the most banging of all time. I would listen to that front-to-back and the Marshal Mathers LP and just wonder who made these drums. Me at 13 at Catholic school playing Dr. Dre really loudly in my Bose headphones. Visually, I've always been really inspired by simplicity and Dre would always keep things simple in his music production as well."
Charlie then got back to the performance with another one of his hits "We Don't Talk Anymore." Before moving to the next song, he explained, "This song is so interesting because it is the most 'internet-y' song ever and I feel like in some way I'm a product of the internet. Hence me being on the forefront of some pretty cutting edge technology." Charlie then looked directly into the camera and said, "Hello, everyone in the metaverse in iHeartLand!" Charlie continued, "I like the chords in this song and it's very fast and if you know it, please sing along because we have a lot of fun up here playing it."
Charlie also took a quick moment to nerd out about audiences singing along, telling his fans, "It's even better when you sing along and give us that nice little layer. As a producer, it's nice to have layers of multiple vocals because not one person in here has the same voice as the person next to you. Fun fact, everyone has their own very unique instrument so use it on this song!" The band then started playing the high-energy track "Light Switch."
JoJo then returned to the stage to ask Puth about specific tracks on Charlie, which fans will be able to hear in its entirety on October 7th. "'Left and Right' featuring Jungkook [of BTS] is also on the album. That came to you in a dream right?" JoJo asked.
"It did. I've always been fascinated when listening to The Beatles. When they would record records like "I Want To Hold Your Hand," they didn't have all of this music equipment, they had 8-tracks. Sometimes you'd have to put the vocal on a hi-hat track. So you'd have Paul's [McCartney] voice with the drums and Ringo [Starr] playing the drums yet, 'eight tracks.' So, sometimes you'd hear vocals only on the left side or on the right side. I was always really fascinated with panning. You listen to a record that came out in 2002 like Hella Good by No Doubt and produced by Pharrell." Charlie then proceeded to mimic something called the doppler effect that's featured on the track. "So I had The Beatles and Gwen Stefani in my mind and I thought 'Why has no one ever written a song where the lead vocal is on the left-hand side... but you're actually singing "I'm over here." It's almost like you're singing about the innards of your brain. That's not meant to sound gross but it ended up sounding gross anyway," Charlie laughed. "But, "I can't get this person out of my mind." Okay, that's been written a million times but no one's written about "I can't get this person out of my mind in this back left-hand corner here, in this part that I don't use too much, this part where I should improve." Everything in your brain," Charlie explained enthusiastically. To close out the show Charlie treated fans to the song he just meticulously described.
The singer's first studio album since 2018, Charlie, drops on October 7th.