In March someone on Facebook posted a video of a new boy on the British music scene and told Justin Bieber to “step aside”. Since this moment I’ve been hearing about Conor Maynard everywhere – everyone seems to have an opinion on him – but love or hate pop music’s latest sensation, you better get used to him, because he might be here to stay.
In December 2008, Maynard posted his first video to YouTube under the rather cringeworthy channel name ‘skillzaisherebooya’, and this started the ball rolling on his music career. Since then his YouTube channel has had almost 60 million hits, and he has amassed over 260,000 subscribers, making him the UK’s 5th most subscribed-to channel.
The 19 year old’s debut single ‘Can’t Say No’ begins with bouncy synths and is filled with plenty of euphemistic lyrics such as “You send my rocket to the sky”, enough to send pre-pubescent girls up and down the country into fits of hysteria. This neatly pruned pop tune has a simple beat and climaxes with the simple but effective chorus of “Girls girls girls, I just can’t say no”. The track peaked at number 2 in the charts behind Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’, with first-week sales of 74,000 copies according to the Official Charts Company. Shifting such a high number of singles in one week shows that Maynard is definitely a force to be reckoned with, especially so as he outsold his most compared-to rival, Justin Bieber.
After his discovery on YouTube, his cheesy pop music themed around getting girls, his boyish good looks, and screaming gaggles of fans (Who call themselves Mayniacs), how could Conor Maynard not be compared to Bieber? It seems that this isn’t something that Maynard is keen on, and is a comparison he wants to shake off. In a recent interview with Reuters, Maynard claims that his and Bieber’s music are world’s apart and he told The Independent “My roots are in rap and harder, urban pop. I did exactly what I wanted to do”. Maybe you should tell your record company that, Conor.
Signed by EMI Music UK, marketing manager Damaris Taylor has already stated that breaking Maynard globally is a “massive aim”, and if they continue what they are already doing, this may not be the last we hear of this hotly tipped musician. This is especially so because in January, Maynard was crowned the winner of MTV’s Brand New For 2012 award, having received approximately 45% of the public vote, beating nominees including Michael Kiwanuka and Lana Del Rey by a long way. Even music connoisseur Nick Grimshaw and multi-million selling artist Lily Allen were spotted at his gig last week at Dingwalls in London, with Allen sporting a ‘Mayniac’ t-shirt.
Maynard’s album Contrast will be released in the UK on 30th July 2012 and is set to feature some big names including Ne-Yo and Pharell, but what do you think of Conor Maynard? Cringey, cheesey music from an annoying, arrogant teenager? Or an artist that has built himself up from nothing, trying to make credible music for lots of people to enjoy? Is YouTube the best way to find new bands and artists?