"I didn't even think I was going to sing it!" Puth – whose debut Nine Track Mind drops Friday – tells PEOPLE

Credit: Rebecca Cabage/Invision/AP

Thanks to his hook on Furious 7‘s Paul Walker tribute song “See You Again,” Charlie Puth is behind one of the biggest and most beloved songs of the year – but that wasn’t originally the plan.

“It’s interesting: I mean, I didn’t even think that I was going to sing it!” Puth, 24, says in the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

The rising star cowrote the track for the Furious soundtrack, and that was supposed to be the extent of his involvement … at least at first.

“I [recorded the track] as a reference vocal for Sam Smith to potentially sing,” he adds. “[Singing it] was what I wanted, but I wasn’t admitting it to myself.”

Fast-forward nearly a year, and Puth and his “See You” again collaborator Wiz Khalifa are up for three Grammys for the song: Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media.

For more on Puth and the rest of the year’s top Grammy nominees, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

As for Puth – whose latest collab, ”We Don’t Talk Anymore” with Selena Gomez, dropped Monday – found out about his nods: a barrage of text messages followed by a good old Internet search.

“I received a bunch of text messages, and I thought something was wrong because people were using very alarming language. But it turned out they were excited,” says the singer, whose debut album Nine Track Mind drops Friday. “Then I Googled ‘Charlie Grammy’ and found out.”