‘I’m not a manufactured pop artist, it’s a singer-songwriter kind of situation’ – An interview with Conor Maynard

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After launching to fame in 2012 with ‘Can’t Say No’, young star Conor Maynard experienced success after success. Three years on his second album still isn’t complete but he’s worked with Craig David, Labrinth and even Timbaland. We catch up with him before his performance at Thrope Park’s new Island Beats gig.

How’s your day been?

It’s been good. I’m getting ready to take my duvet to the dry cleaners because my cats pissed on it.

You’re about to perform at Thorpe Park’s new ISLAND BEATS on the 21st, are you excited to get back to performing? 

I’m very excited. I’ve never done a show where I’ve obviously gone on a whole bunch of rides before the show. So I think it’ll be an interesting one. If I do throw up mid song I hope fans will still come to my shows after that. It should be fine though … I might actually do it on purpose.

Can you tell us a bit about how that came about? 

I got a call from my manager who said we’ve got a call from Thorpe Park, would you like to do it? And I said hell yeah I mean I haven’t been in years. I mean with my schedule I haven’t really had time to go with my friends to Thorpe Park. So what I might do is obviously because we get an amount of tickets I might bring all my mates as well. I think rather than my friends looking forward to me performing they’re looking towards going on the rides. I don’t think they really care about me performing. At least the fans will enjoy it. Yeah, I was approached by them and I was like 100%. Definitely something I didn’t want to turn down, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Do you feel like doing these kinds of gigs makes you more available to your fans? 

Definitely. It really is a once in a life time kind of thing. The way we did it as well is that I’ve set my fans challenges to kind of to go on certain rides before I perform and to do certain things. The one for me is that they have to go to the Bush barbeque part which has quite crazy food and then go on Stealth afterwards. So basically trying to make them sick before they come and see me which actually I don’t know if that’s nice of me. I’ll think it’s funny.

Of course, since you’re performing at Thorpe Park, we have to ask. Have you ever thrown up on a rollercoaster? 

I’ve thrown up coming off of one but not on the rollercoaster. That would be horrific. Luckily I’ve never been on a rollercoaster either where someone’s thrown up on it. Hopefully on August the 21st when I perform that won’t be the first time on a rollercoaster. It’s weird as I get older I realize that I’m not as good at these rides like I used to be. We’ll see what happens. I might have to take some motion sickness pills before I go there.

Do you have a favourite ride from the park? 

Well the last time I went to Thorpe Park I was probably like 15 so it would have been like 7 years ago and I went the day the Saw ride opened and I queued for three hours to get on it. Yeah I had no friends. It’s probably out of Saw and Samurai, which is more of a thrill ride than a samurai, but hopefully I’ll get to go on that.

Do you prefer drop rides or rollercoasters? 

Rollercoasters 100% because they’re always the funniest thing to do at the park.

What keeps you sane when dealing with fame?

I don’t know really but I think there’s a whole bunch of things. I think one of the main things, it helps to deal with fame and it helps to deal with fame, is some of the people you keep around you like your friends, you keep them close to you. People ask me when you get hate on Twitter how do you not get upset? And I say because my friends are worse. Like if there’s a bad picture of me on the internet, I’ve got a group chat with all my friends and one of them will just send it in. So I’m kind of used to it from them quite a lot. As long as you keep people around who tell you when your ego gets a bit big as long as you’ve got that.

So you’re on the banter bus then?

I am on the banter bus. Literally my friends are fucking banter-sauruses. I just love it though.

conor-maynard-royaltyFans are still eagerly awaiting your second album which as of yet is untitled. Can you tell us a bit about it and what the fans can expect? 

I’m still working on it at the moment, obviously I know it feels like it’s been forever but I definitely don’t want to release it until I think that it’s perfect. So I’m going to keep recording until I feel like it’s ready. But I’ve been able to work with some amazing people on there like I’ve got Labrinth on the new single ‘Royalty’. Craig David did some stuff with me. I’ve actually started producing a lot for myself. I feel like with this album I really wanted to showcase the fact that I do a lot of my own writing. I actually wrote a lot of the songs on the first album but I don’t think people realized. They just thought oh you know he doesn’t write he just records them but actually I wrote a lot of ‘Can’t Say No’ and a lot of ‘Vegas Girl’. Yeah so I think for me with this album I wanted to put that across that I’m not a manufactured pop artist, it’s a singer-songwriter kind of situation. So hopefully people get to see that. I’m looking forward to it definitely.

Your single ‘Royalty’ is currently available to pre-order, would you say it’s different to your previous stuff or will it be familiar? 

I think ‘Royalty’ is quite weird I think. I keep saying the word weird and my manager’s like don’t say weird. But it really quite outside and different. Geek chic.

You’ve covered quite a few tracks on your Youtube channel with Anthony Melo, can we expect any covers on the album or will it all be original? 

It will be all originals on the album as of yet, obviously I don’t really know as it’s not finished. But what I normally do is I do covers on the B side of the track. If a single comes out obviously they’ll be a few remixes on the single EP. That’s normally the way I do it. I don’t usually have covers on my actual album but you never know, it’s still not finished. When it is finish I’ll make sure you’re the first to know.

There have been rumours of collaborations on the album so who can we expect? 

Well there’s still a lot of it up in the air. I’ve said I’ve worked with Craig David and Labrinth, I also worked with Timbaland a little bit on the album. That was really cool. There’s no kind of set in stone collaborations. My first album was a lot but with this I kind of want to step back from that and make it more about myself. But obviously with collaborations you can try out a few different things but as of yet nothing is set in stone still. When we do they’ll definitely be some cool collaborations there though.

What artist would you love to collaborate with? 

I think it would be someone that people wouldn’t expect. Like if I got to do one with John Mayer. That would be my favourite person to work with.

You recently posted on Twitter that you finally drank coffee and liked it and that it meant you were growing up.

Oh my goodness I’ve been having coffee everyday now. I have it every morning when I wake up, it’s so weird. I had one about half an hour ago, there’s something wrong with me. Help me.

Do you feel like your youth was part of your initial appeal? 

I’d definitely say so. I mean as I started out I’d just turned 19 when my first single released and obviously I looked about 12. Now I turn 23 this year and I look 15 so yeah. I think now though the music will sound slightly older. It’s been three years since my single heading out so I think for me the fans have grown up and so it’s about growing up with your fans too and keeping them happy. And to broaden your horizons and reach out to fans, and for me the goal is to create an album that people from 5 years old to 85 years old will enjoy.

Do you feel like as you grow older you’ll be taken more seriously as an artist? 

I think you always hope so. I think as you get older for me it was so fun because it is that whole pop star fun, kind of bubblegum kind of thing but now even the music I listen to isn’t in that style. It’s more serious and grown up but just want to mess around and have fun. Even with fans I kind of just like to do stupid things all the time. In terms of my music the sound is definitely going to be a bit more grown up this time around.

Your fans call themselves ‘Maniacs’ but what has been your craziest fan encounter? 

My craziest fan encounter I would probably say for me was one time when my French fans knew that I was in Paris. I was coming in on the train and we were pulling in to the train station and you could see hoards of fans waiting for it and it was amazing. But then it kind of got a bit dangerous. Some of the fans got a bit too excited and came down onto the train tracks and onto bits where the train would have been to get closer. It was pretty intense. Me and my manager we’re like ‘No! Don’t! Get Back!’ It wasn’t the greatest moment of action that my fans have done. It was all good though, no one was hurt. Or at least not that I know of.

We know a lot about you, can you tell me anything that would shock people about you?

I get asked this a lot but I’ve run out of things to say. I think a lot of people don’t know that I play piano quite well. A lot of people think that I can sing but I play piano as well. I’m just so talented. What else? I could cook a full English breakfast. I feel like not enough people have that skill because my mates come round and no one can cook breakfast but me.

Do you have any unusual pets or unusual hobbies?

I have two little kittens. One’s called Aslan and one’s called Salem. Aslan actually has his own Instagram. He’s almost got 5000 followers, he’s getting big in the world. He’s probably going to take over me pretty soon. His Instagram is allhailkingaslan.

Can we ask what your most embarrassing moment has been? Whether it was a date or gig? 

I think probably I did a show in Toronto and right at the end all of the fans started throwing these things on stage. Not in a bad way like boo get off but like oh my god. Me and my manager were like ‘what are these things?’ and we had this horrific realization that they were throwing condoms. Obviously there are parents there and there are parents that. It was awkward and I’m like ‘oh my gosh why are they doing this?’ and had to just stand there and almost be showered in condoms.

Can you tell us a bit about your girlfriend? Are you still with Victoria Tansey? I mean I’m sure there are hoards of screaming girls who are devastated to know you’re taken now? 

We’re still together. I feel like the good thing about relationships when you’re an artist or when you write music it’s the fact that even through the good or bad times it always gives you inspiration to wirte about something and inspiration for your music. I think obviously everyone goes through good and bad times but it’s always kind of a good thing. Everyone’s like ‘oh should you really have a girlfriend while you’re doing this?’ but whether it goes good or bad it’s good because look at Sam Smith or Adele, Grammys for writing songs about someone who broke their heart. So for me it’s always a good thing and we’re still together. She’s kind of like a specialist performer, like fire breathing and aerial hoops. She does circus type performing but she’s a dancer as well.

Would you say she’s more talented than you?

She wishes. No. I think on a broader scale she probably has more talent than I do. She sings as well. She does a lot of the backing vocals on a lot of my songs now.

That’s incredible. How does she deal with the fame aspect?

She deals with it quite well I think. Obviously it’s weird. Obviously for me it happened quite gradually but when you get thrown into it suddenly from no one really knowing who you are to suddenly having thousands of followers and people tweeting her and commenting on her posts. It can be a bit daunting but she actually dealt with it really well. Almost like she talks to my fans more than I do, she keeps them updated because I’m really, I’m so useless sometimes about what I’m doing unless it’s a single coming out or a show I’m doing. When it comes to day to day I’m useless because they want to know everything so she keeps them updated.

Finally, any possible titles in the works for the album or are we still on tender hooks?

Yep, still on tender hooks. I reached out to my fans to see if they had any ideas and let’s just say I’ll never be doing that again.

What was the most interesting?

My fans have got a weird thing with condoms. It was just like condom. Because my first name’s connor they took the ‘con’ and it became condom.

You can see Conor Maynard at Thorpe Park’s Island Beats on the 21st of August. Tickets can be bought here.

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BA English student at University of Southampton and Editor for The Edge (2015-16). A deep love of reading, theatre and all things entertainment.

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