Charlie Puth’s Creative Genius on Full Display at Nashville Show

Charlie Puth proved he’s the ultimate music man when he brought his eclectic live show to Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on Saturday (May 27). 

Videos by American Songwriter

Puth entered the stage unlike most. The singer jogged out to the sound of a buzzing crowd roaring with applause at the sight of him. But before addressing them, he transported us into his mind like when he was creating music. Standing under a single spotlight, Puth spoke his inner dialogue out loud, fictionally scrolling through his playlists ranging from workout jams to inspirational turns, sampling songs that ran the gamut from Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” to the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait (The Whisper Song).” It was this type of musical diversity that he carried throughout the show, performing elevated versions of his hits that we hear on the radio. 

“Nashville, are you ready to start this journey?” Puth prefaced as he opened his set with “Charlie Be Quiet!” that demonstrated his ability to go from loud to quiet at a moment’s notice, like when he transitioned from the rock-leaning chorus to whispering, Charlie, be quiet, don’t make a sound/You got to lower the noise a little bit now.

It was one of the many moments throughout the 90-minute set that showcased his creative genius. A distinct element that makes Puth stand out from other artists is the way he explains his process, breaking down the technicalities of how he builds a song in between singing the lyrics. He proved this when he introduced his hit song, featuring Jungkook of BTS, “Left and Right,” by sharing how he was woken up at 3 a.m. by the melody. He looped in the details of how he crafted the track, such as responding to the echo of what you gon’ do now by responding “I have no idea,” capturing his thought process as he was figuring out how to build the track that came to him in the dead of night.

He also seamlessly transitioned from scatting on piano on “BOY” to hopping to the top of the steps onstage to play a sample of Snoop Dogg’s signature hit, “Drop it Like It’s Hot,” which he revealed inspired the song. “I don’t tell many people that, but I wanted to tell you Nashville because it feels special,” he shared. He continued to open up when he admitted how he turned his negative thoughts into song with “No More Drama.” 

Throughout the show, the hitmaker was as much an intriguing storyteller as he was an energetic performer, his voice looping in the background as he ran around the stage playing instruments like piano and keytar while backed by a band of fierce musicians. In the midst of his own hits such as “That’s Not How This Works” and “Attention” that had the crowd of all ages singing along, Puth demonstrated how far his vast-ranging abilities as a songwriter and producer have taken him, such as when he offered an R&B-flavored cover of The Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber smash hit he co-wrote, “Stay” that ended with a stellar drum solo by drummer CJ Thompson. 

He made a habit out of innovatively blending sounds, songs, and genres, like when he had everyone moving to “Light Switch” before bringing the energy down to earth with a cover of “Slow Motion” by Trey Songz that was among the first songs Puth wrote when he moved to LA, the sexy beat and Puth’s smooth voice piercing the soul. Halfway through, he opened up about when friends would ask him about someone he used to date after they’d broken up, which led to one of his most well-known hits that served as an answer to their question, “We Don’t Talk Anymore.” He stretched the song out with snippets of covers of Selena’s “Dreaming of You” and The Weeknd’s “Creepin.’”

“We wanted to make this show extremely special, let you all inside my brain,” Puth vowed. “Give you a chance to experience the music in a different way, super raw and uncut.”

True to his word, Puth transported fans into his mindset when making “Done For Me” by pointing out the different instruments integral to the song like the drums, pads, and bass. “But the song doesn’t come together until you hear that,” he noted when the beat drops just before he starts singing the first verse. He brought the show to a close with the groovy “How Long” that took on a new life with a wild keytar solo, the song providing ample opportunity for the singer and fans alike to get lost in the melody. Puth soon reemerged from the darkness for a two-song encore of a pair of his biggest hits, “One Call Away” and “See You Again,” his collaboration with Wiz Khalifa.

The latter song found Puth onstage solo, standing at the piano and letting the words he helped write lead the way in the most poignant and humble moment of the night. When the band snuck back onstage to help bring it to a stellar finish, it drove home the power of Puth’s musicality that is bound to continue to leave fans in awe.    

 Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage

Leave a Reply

Shane Hawkins and Violet Grohl Join Foo Fighters Onstage

CMA Fest’s Nissan Stadium Lineup Showcases Country’s Biggest Stars