“I ended up sitting on Skype with NeYo” An Interview with Conor Maynard, Part 1 (2/11/2012)

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19 year old male solo artist Conor Maynard has experienced quite the transformation from the young chap we originally saw on YouTube covering Drake. It was a pleasure to be able to catch up with him prior to his show at the O2 Academy in Bournemouth on his latest UK tour. 

How has the tour been so far?

Very fun. I think touring is probably one of my favourite things to do as an artist so yeah it’s been amazing so far. It’s always nice meeting the different fans from places I’ve literally never even been to in my life before so it’s definitely really fun.

What can we expect from tonight’s show?

A Party! [puts on a voice]just like so many like fun moments and stuff! [laughs]No, I think it will be really fun, this is my first tour where the fans have actually had the album, it’s been out already, they’ve had a chance to listen to it, you know listen to the album find out which songs they like, they’ve had that side of the listening experience and I think it’s time to give them another experience of listening to my music and trying to make it more interactive, I look at it when I’m doing a show not me performing to them but more me partying with them.

You did some festivals this summer, how was that? Was it fun?

Yeh, it was crazy, V Festival was insane, performing there was a whole load of fun. I did a whole bunch of radio shows as well. I think the festivals are always a cool vibe because it’s always a bit worrying because people choose to come to your stage and if your stage is empty it’s a bit like ‘this isn’t good’ but luckily I absolutely rammed out the tent so I was really happy with that so yeh a lot of fun.

Going back to the start can you just describe for our readers how you went from the humble YouTube beginnings to where you are now?

Yeh, I mean I kinda started, I was round about 15 there was this one day after school where I was kinda messing around singing with one of my friends and this girl overheard me singing, just when I was messing about, and she came up to me and was like ‘Do that again!’ So I sang again and she went ‘OHMAGOD!’ did the whole crazy girl reaction thing and then after, her reaction made me think ‘maybe I should do something with it, maybe I should take it and go with it’ After that I started recording covers, but I didn’t know anyone who had a studio, I didn’t know anyone who recorded anything so for me it I had to learn all by myself. I started using my webcam, it was crap, but that was just how I started and then I started to go online and learnt about microphones and when birthdays or christmas’ came along I would get the stuff that I wanted.

After that through trail and error I started to learn about recording and then as it got higher and higher quality I started putting them online. I started putting my covers on facebook so my friends, my general group of friends could find it and watch it. And then I took the next step to putting them on YouTube so that anyone could watch it. So it took about a year before anything really happened, that first year was just a few covers, just random songs I’d chosen, they weren’t big songs at the time they were just random songs that I liked and I put them up online and people watched them, I’d get a few views. The first one that blew up was a cover of Usher’s ‘OMG’ because all my friends were like ‘You’ve got to do a cover of Usher’s ‘OMG’ So I did it and it was my first cover to hit 100,000 views. I was like ‘Ah this is crazy, I’m famous, I’ve made it!’ Obviously not, but I was kind of like ‘Wow, this is great!’ and I thought my next cover needs to be big as well I need to release another cover that will do just as well or better and I was really worried I would release another cover and it would go back to me being no-one again. So the next cover I released was a cover of NeYo’s ‘Beautiful Monster’ which hit 1 million views.

So it went viral?

Yeh, that was crazy! I was like ‘oh my god, this is insane!’ and then after that I continued to release covers all consecutively hitting a million, two million, three million and I was like ‘this is mad’. When Beautiful Monster was on about two million views I started getting contacted by NeYo’s people himself, he said that he’d seen the people, he’d loved it and he was interested in working with me and I was a kind of a bit like ‘right… Okay’. This was all coming from his manager so I had no idea if he was actually in the picture, or if they were just calling me and saying ‘yeh we know NeYo’ when they didn’t really, but it got to the point where I said ‘Look I don’t mean to be rude but is there any proof, is there any way you can show me that you actually know him.’ And sure enough a few days late I ended up sitting on Skype with NeYo talking to him about music and talking to him about him wanting to sign me. That news spread around the UK labels like really quickly like ‘who is this kid that NeYo wants to take off and sign?’ And after that I met a bunch of labels from the UK and decided who I wanted to go with and I went with Parlophone. Obviously there were no grudges held between NeYo and that kind of thing I still wanted to work with him, which was crazy. So it all kind of happened through NeYo showing an interest and all these other people wanted to sign me and I got to choose who I wanted to go with.

Do you have a favourite cover from YouTube?

Yeah, I think my favourite cover would be Marvin’s Room by Drake.

I had a feeling you were gonna say that.

Yeah! [laughs]I think that’s probably my favourite one, I think it had a lot of personal meaning to me and yeah it’s one that people seem to love.

Do you reckon you’ll ever do anymore?

Yeah definitely, I’ve actually been working on one at the moment, but yeah, it’s just finding the time, obviously being on tour I don’t have time to record anything so it’s just finding the time when I have a day off or two days off at home where I can record but that rarely ever happens.

Check out the second part of my interview with Conor Maynard.

 

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I’m Megan Downing, an English Literature graduate from University of Southampton. I am the Music, Arts and Culture Editor for The National Student. I am the Membership and Communications Officer for the Student Publication Association, I write about music for 7BitArcade, and contribute regularly to The Culture Trip. I have a passion for live music and this is where I began in student journalism. Reviewing a gig or festival is still where my heart lies four years on. I will be starting at MTV as a News Intern in June 2015. One thing you should know about me is that I have an unhealthy obsession with Kevin Spacey.

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