Charlie Puth's Singapore connection
US singer and YouTube star Charlie Puth collaborated with local singer Daphne Khoo when they were students
His performance last night at Hard Rock Hotel's The Coliseum at Resorts World Sentosaas part of his Nine Track Mind tour may have been his first-ever concert here.
But 24-year-old US singer Charlie Puth's Singapore connection actually began three years ago.
He collaborated with Singapore Idol alumnus Daphne Khoo on a YouTube cover of Pink's Just Give Me A Reason (featuring Nate Ruess) when they were both students at the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston.
Puth told The New Paper in a group interview yesterday: "I love Daphne, I went to college with her.
"It was really nice working with her. I remember we recorded the vocals separately and got a friend who didn't even know how to operate a camera to film it.
"I used to do things 'very bare bones' back in the day, in my apartment.
"What's eerie about the video is that it was recorded right before the Boston (Marathon) bombing, which took place near my apartment. So the video will always be a memory of that."
Although the pair haven't kept in touch since and didn't reach out to each other when Puth was in town, Khoo has fond memories of him.
The 29-year-old told TNP over the phone: "He lived down the street from me and we had just completed a master class in songwriting together. We were trying to write something but we did a cover instead.
"I think we had planned to work together for a little bit but he kind of blew up (in popularity) and I was back in Singapore.
"It's difficult to keep in contact when you move countries. Charlie and I haven't talked that much. We were just never really in the same place."
Khoo couldn't attend Puth's concert, but her parents did. Puth had met them when they visited Boston for Khoo's graduation in 2013.
She isn't surprised that her former schoolmate has become a music star and is "really proud" of him.
He became an overnight success after being a featured artist on US rapper Wiz Khalifa's See You Again from last year's Fast & Furious 7 soundtrack.
Khoo said of Puth: "He was already quite popular, a bit of a YouTube sensation.
"I've always known that he's an incredible human being and producer, and he's a hard worker."
Puth recalled how in high school and college he would upload song covers on YouTube and make money from creating theme songs and jingles for other YouTube channels.
He said: "In college, I felt like the man. I was taking everyone out for dinners. I was like, 'I just made three theme songs! McDonald's is on me!'"
Puth, who released his debut album Nine Track Mind in January, added: "I try and make the world stage feel like an online platform.
"It's really cool to run into fans who have followed me from the earlier days. I always make music in my bedroom and I will probably continue to do that."
He has also learnt to adapt to the life-changing downside of fame, admitting that he used to cry when the paparazzi hounded him.
"Like when I was in France one time, I was so stressed out because these two vans were following me for an hour.
"But now when that happens, I would just laugh and tell the driver, 'Hey, pull over, do you guys want your picture? Because I'd love it if you'd stop following me.'
"I'm not even going to lie and say, 'Ugh, I hate this new life.'
"There are so many perks that come along with being famous, it's so much fun.
"You run into people who admire your work and take pictures with fans. I love stuff like that and I've always wanted that. As long as it doesn't get out of control, I think it's fine."
Gomez? 'We don't talk anymore'
When it comes to Charlie Puth's real-life relationship with US pop star Selena Gomez, who is featured in his latest song We Don't Talk Anymore, the answer may be found in its title.
At his press conference yesterday,he was asked whether Gomez, who performed in Singapore for the first time two weeks ago as part of her Revival Tour, had given him any travelling advice.
Puth jokingly answered: "I didn't even know she was here, so I guess we don't talk any more."
It has become a familiar refrain, especially with fans who are wondering why Gomez did not make an appearance in the song's music video.
Puth even replied a fan's question on Twitter with: "Because we don't talk anymore."
He continued to act clueless when asked about Gomez's headline-making Instagram post two weeks ago, when she wrote about feeling "extremely unauthentic (and) unconnected" to herself and her music after her gig in Jakarta - he claimed he was unaware of her post.
On whether he had ever felt the same way, he said: "I want people in general to feel happy, which is why I perform music... to get a reaction from the crowd and hopefully the crowd will inspire me to take the energy to the next level.
"I don't know. Maybe because I'm so humble and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to this new thing of fame and it's like actually working for me, finally. I love my fans and I will always take pictures with them and channel their energy at concerts."