Conor Maynard may be a YouTube success story, but the British native has long surpassed the days of posting cover songs and being compared to Justin Bieber. Since gaining a slew of online fans and catching the attention of Ne-Yo himself, Conor has released his debut album 'Contrast'. With everything from upbeat dance songs to piano ballads, it's no wonder Conor Maynard is capturing hearts around the world! We caught up with the musician to chat about his success to date.
You got your start by posting videos on YouTube. How would you describe your journey so far?
It’s been crazy! I remember when my first cover blew up. It was a cover of Usher’s “OMG” on YouTube and it was mad to see that the reaction was so crazy. I then thought, “I’ve got to continue and do another cover that captures the fans that I now have, so I did a cover of Ne-Yo’s “Beautiful Monster”, which was my first video to hit a million views. It was crazy to see that. Then Ne-Yo himself saw the video, tried to sign me and it was mad. I eventually signed to a label in the U.K., but I’ve had the chance to work with Ne-Yo on this album. I’ve worked with some incredible people on my debut album like Ne-Yo and Pharrell Williams. There’s a track written by Frank Ocean on the album and a track featuring Rita Ora (who’s another U.K. artists over here right now). So there are a lot of cool collaborations and I’m really looking forward to people hearing it.
Do you like performing live on stage?
Definitely. I feel like performing is probably one of my favourite parts of being an artist and kind of like, vibing off the audience and the energy when you’re performing… Drawing them in when you do a slow song and making them jump around when you’re doing a crazy song. I think it’s a really cool vibe.
What was your experience like working on the album?
I think it was really, really fun to work with some incredible people and to go through that journey of learning different writing techniques, getting more comfortable in the studio and even making friends and just meeting some amazing people. It was really fun. It felt like a life-changing experience.
I was listening to “Can’t Say No” and it reminded me of Justin Timberlake. We're you trying for a hip hop sound?
That’s amazing! I feel like it’s quite a mature sound and the next single has kind of gone further into that hard beat. There are some tracks on the album that really got in that, so I think it’s a cool comparison. For me, in term of comparisons, I can’t wait to get to the point where there’s no point for comparisons anymore and people are saying, “Oh, he’s the new Conor Maynard.” That would be cool.
Have you had any crazy experiences with fans?
Yeah, I did have one mad, mad experience. I was in the U.K. and I was doing a radio tour and a whole bunch of fans kind of broke into the car park of the radio station and waited by the car that I was traveling in and the security had to kick them out of the car park when I came out. Then, they chased the car back to the hotel and waiting outside all night just for a picture
What advice do you have for other young artists getting their feet wet?
I broke through the Internet, an online phenomenon kind of thing, so I definitely encourage that. I feel like it’s a really cool way. You can do it from the comfort of your own home. The only problem with it now is that everyone knows, so it’s a massive platform and everyone who wants to be an artist does it. A lot of people upload covers and tracks onto YouTube. If you’re going to do that, you have to make sure you stand out in some way. I feel like when I was doing it, I would twist up songs and put my own unique spin on it. Whether it was changing the lyrics or changing to melody to what suited me. If it was a big, upbeat song, I’d bring it down to a piano track and I made it my own. For me, it was about putting my unique style on it.
Being from the U.K., do you find that music is different there compared to North America?
It’s similar. Obviously there are British artists that are big in the U.K. and not big over here and it’s different in that sense. But then, we listen to a lot of North American music over in the U.K. I suppose that’s why it’s a dream of most artists to break over here, because everyone follows the sound that comes through here. But, there’s a massive eye on British talent right now, so it’s an amazing time for me to be releasing my stuff and I’m really excited about it.
Thank you, Conor Maynard! Be sure to check out more of Conor's answers in the November/December issue of The Magazine!