The Kaje talks success to Conor Maynard

Brighton teen Conor Maynard has been hailed by the music press as the UK’s answer to Justin Bieber. Having been discovered by Ne-Yo on YouTube, his story has echoes of Usher hooking up with Bieber, but Maynard is much more than a musical protegé. Having scored a number 2 hit with funky debut “Can’t Say No”, Maynard is putting in the hard yards to ensure his solo career is as diverse as his YouTube account. Having received unanimous praise for debut headline tour, The Kaje caught up with Maynard on the last date of shows in Sheffield to see how he is coping with his new-found celebrity status and long-awaited chart success…

How have you found a life on the road?

It’s been amazing. A really crazy experience. It’s my first tour.

How are you coping with the hordes of screaming fans?

It’s mad. Having so many crazy fans that have been waiting so long to see me here, it is like my first kind of taste of what it is like to be famous. It is pretty intense sometimes. Yesterday I was in Newcastle and the floor was bouncing. I could just feel it on stage going up and down. I thought it was going to fall down. I was waiting for it to happen. But it is just pretty amazing.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding your launch, how do you feel about it all?

It was pretty crazy. For a lot of people it seems like that instant kind of thing, but for me it has been quite a long time coming. I started putting my videos on YouTube when I was 15 or 16, which was about three years ago. Then when I was noticed by Ne-Yo, who saw one of my videos and tried to sign me, when I was signed, that was already a year and a half ago. I have been working on the album for quite a long time now. It has been a build up to get here.

Did you feel any extra pressure to succeed due to the hype?

In terms of when the single went out, and it went straight into number 2, that was just insane. I didn’t what to expect. That was a big surprise.

There has been a lot of talk about this first single and a lot of people really like it. It has done really well. I know in my head that I definitely did not come out with my best song first. I am kind of really looking forward to what comes next.

“Can’t Say No” was quite risky. I remember thinking it could go either way. It is quite different as it doesn’t really sound like anything that is in the charts at the moment. It is a lot slower, it has more a groove to it. It is just very different. It doesn’t really show off my voice, that I can really sing, as it is just more of a vibe. It is catchy. I was wondering how it would go and obviously it went in a good way. I was really really happy with it, so obviously I am now ready to really get going. It is annoying how much time things take. It is just a matter of getting things done. I know they will get done but I just want them done now.

If “Can’t Say No” is not your strongest song, why did you choose to release it first?

Because it was my strongest song but since releasing it I have been in the studio, people have heard it and got more of an idea of what the vibe was, what I was about. I also went out to America and worked with Pharrell and some other very talented people over there. We have definitely come up with some crazy stuff.

I think it was just a good song to come in with. I knew that it was not a good idea to come in with you best song, but I wanted to give something up the top. A taster of what is to come.

What can we expect from your upcoming debut album “Contrast”?

I have tried to recreate what was going on with my covers. I had such a diverse range of songs that I covered. They went from upbeat dance tracks all the way down to stripped back piano pieces and rock ballads. I wanted to recreate that. I definitely have massive fans of the slow songs, but people also love the big upbeat ones. Some just love everything. But I am trying to cater to fans of all sides of my music.

Having already worked with so many big name talents, is there anyone you would really love to sit down and write with?

I would love to work with Drake. Drake is a massive inspiration to me. I love all of his music. I think he is definitely very talented as a songwriter. He writes songs that fit every mood. Obviously now it seems a little more unreachable than it did before. Before it was like I’ve got more chance of working Drake and Josh from the Nickelodeon programme! Now because I have worked with so many talented people, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Having gone from YouTube sensation to chart star, how have you ambitions altered?

It started as a Nando’s Black Card, that was my first goal. Luckily I have done a lot of stuff with them, so I am getting one of them. I am really happy about that. I haven’t got it yet, but I can’t wait to have it in my hands. There are all the generic things though that an artist want to see happen. I want to see my album go out, I want it to do as well as it can and to see it in the charts. Then next year when The Brits come along I want to maybe be involved. I have been to two Brits so far but I have nothing to do with it, so next time it would be could to be involved. You never know how long these things are going to take though, so I will have to wait and see obviously. It is just about reaching the highest amount of success I can.

Interviews and Photographs by Jeremy Williams


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