Music interview: Conor Maynard

Conor Maynard
Conor Maynard
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IN the space of a year Conor Maynard has gone from a YouTube sensation into a pop star in his own right.

He first started posting videos of himself singing covers and built up a strong online fan base. He was signed to Parlophone in late 2011 and began working on his album Contrast, which went straight to No.1 in the UK.

Scene catches up with the Conor when he has just got back from America to find out what it was like getting so much attention before his album was released and his dream acting role.

How has this year been for you?

I think this year has been the rapid part, obviously the past four years was me posting covers on YouTube and getting signed and working on my first album. That kind of took about four years and then this year it kind of all took off in one go and it’s been amazing for me to step back and see the growth. Fans and my friends get to see it as well, how my life has changed. I suppose that’s one of the reasons I named the album Contrast because of that crazy change.

How was it getting so much attention before your album was even released?

It was very crazy for me. It was kind of scary at the same time because it did put pressure on me putting out the album and people enjoying it. I suppose it delivered as it got to number 1 in its first week, which was an incredible thing to happen. For me it’s definitely been a plan to keep releasing music and keep pleasing fans with my music, so hopefully that will continue to happen.

How did you celebrate when it went to number 1?

I actually got to sleep for once. I got a day off afterwards so I got to sleep and then I think that night I went out with my friends and you can actually find pictures of me being asked for ID trying to get into a club. That was hilarious.

Do you ever worry about drinking too much as you are in the public eye?

Not really, I think for me it’s kind of expected. One of the main reasons I don’t really do it is because I never have time. I’ve always got something to do early the next morning. I don’t want to be in an interview or photo shoot where I look like crap and can’t really speak properly.

Whenever I get some time off, which is very rare, then I will go out and have fun but normally I’m not in the country or working.

Do you get followed by girls everywhere you go now?

It does get a bit odd sometimes. The reason I moved from one place in London to another place was because fans found out where I lived and they would wait outside my house all the time and stuff like that. For me it does get kind of weird sometimes but you know it’s exciting.

The more fans are doing that in terms of chasing the tour bus, it shows they are listening to the music and enjoying it, which is good.

You went from performing in front of a hidden audience on YouTube, how did you prepare for live gigs in front of thousands?

I remember ages ago I had a meeting with the head of my label and he kind of sat me down and said ‘right are you ready, we are about to go, we are about to release your first single, are you ready for this?’ I was like ‘I’m excited, I’ve always been ready to go.’ If I could have released my first single two years ago I would have done it but obviously it took some time to get the songs and to really figure out what sound I wanted so for me it was trying to get everything perfect before I released it. I think by the time I released it I was definitely ready. I spent two years from being 17 to being 19 working on my first album and I think in those two years I prepared myself for what was going to happen. I think there are the crazy elements that no one can really prepare themselves for but I just really enjoy it.

What would you say you are looking forward to most in your career?

Reaching No.1 in the UK was incredible but I think to have a No.1 album worldwide that would definitely be the pinnacle, having that would be a crazy feeling. For me it’s just having as many people as possible hear my music I think, as long as I can see that happening, whether it’s Twitter followers or people getting the album, just knowing that people are listening is what makes me excited.

Before you found your love for music you wanted to be an actor, what would be your dream role?

In a lot of interviews I do I always act the idiot. I always act pretty dumb. I think maybe doing an action role or drama, a more serious kind of role would be a cool thing to do, show a different side to me. If I could be James Bond that would be a crazy role.

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

John Mayer would be someone I would love to collaborate with, he is someone I look up to and I think his music is incredible. If I had a song written by him, along the lines of his kind of music that would be crazy.

Why should people buy the album?

I’ve had the chance to work with some incredible people on the album and I think what people don’t realise is that my first two singles are more a kind of young, pop sound but different parts of the album are older, more mature tracks. There are two tracks written and produced by Pharrell, there is a track written by Frank Ocean, a track featuring Rita Ora. I think the new single Turn Around featuring Ne-Yo is more of a step towards that more mature, developed kind of sound. For me, guys should get the album because even if they think the first two singles are aimed at a younger audience there are definitely tracks on the album that are aimed at an older crowd. It’s getting those people to latch onto the album and figure that out.

November 1, Leeds Metropolitan University, 7pm, £19.25. Tel: 0113 812 8400.

Mitchell Kezin with veteran film director John Waters. Picture: Jeff Henschel

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