Let me present to you British singer-songwriter Conor Maynard! The 19-year-old YouTube sensation has been thrilling fans across the pond over the past year and is just two months away from releasing his debut album Contrast in the UK on Monday (July 30). Now with a successful single under his belt with “Can’t Say No,” Conor has recently signed a new deal with EMI Records and is set to release his debut stateside later this year. Last month, I met up with Conor during his third visit to New York City for a quick chat. Check out my interview with Conor below where we talked about his new single “Vegas Girl,” his debut album, and those Justin Bieber comparisons. The British invasion is in full effect. Enjoy!
Jon: So what brings you to New York? New music video?
Conor: Yes, we are shooting the video for the next single.
Jon: Oh, Exciting! Did you shoot it in Manhattan?
Conor: No, but we just shot in Queens at 5 Pointz.
Jon: Oh nice! That should be a good visual.
Conor: yeah, I’m excited about it.
Jon: What’s the name of the next single?
Conor: It’s called “Vegas Girl.”
Jon: Is there a specific concept for the video?
Conor: There’s a bit more of a story to this one. We went clever with it. I’m not old enough to go to Vegas so I didn’t want to lie and have this huge Vegas party video. I’d be partying with the bouncers [Laughs]. It’s being shot here so that’s another twist. It’s going to be good.
Jon: Sounds like fun. When can we expect it?
Conor: It should be out sometime in June or early July.
Jon: Great! Where was the song produced?
Conor: It was produced in the UK. Wrong.. We wrote it in LA and recorded in the UK at my studio. It was an exciting time.
Jon: For sure! Your first single “Can’t Say No” did so well so you must be looking forward to releasing the new one.
Conor: Yeah, the first single debuted at #2 and it was an amazing feeling. I felt like I was working for that moment for so long so when I saw that, it felt amazing.
Jon: Of course! That is a big deal. So now you’re making your move here?
Conor: Yes, that is the plan. We want to expand beyond the UK. Will be doing some promo around Europe, in Canada, and here in the states. Ever since I started to do the covers and put them up on YouTube it was always apparent that people were watching from all over the world. I don’t want to restrict myself to one country.
Jon: Yeah, that makes sense to me. Your audience is much bigger than just the U.S. Are you nervous to come here? It’s kind of a different world.
Conor: Yeah it totally is. It’s definitely kind of daunting I suppose in terms of it’s the big one. Make it here you and can make it anywhere. There’s this whole British invasion happening that everyone’s talking about so I think it’s a good time. The U.S. definitely has their eye on the UK for new talent.
Conor: Yeah, it’s a good time. It’s cool that I’m getting the chance to come over here.
Jon: Yeah, I think think so. As much as I love where I’m from and the artists here, I’m all about the UK artists more. I always rooting for you guys [Laughs].
Conor: [Laughs] Yes! Exactly!
Jon: [Laughs] I thought you would agree. Now onto the album. Are you still recording? Is it done?
Conor: We are still recording but just finishing up. Finalizing everything.
Jon: First album! Exciting time.
Conor: I’m very lucky that for my first album I’ve been able to work with some amazing people. Because of that, it’s taken some time but at the same time I couldn’t be more thankful.
Jon: I’ve heard some big names you’re working with. Pharrell? Ne-Yo?
Conor: Yes! I worked with Pharrell Williams over in Miami for a week, those are going to be insane. There is a Pharrell collaboration on the album. Ne-Yo wrote a song for me as well, we’re actually going to finish recording that one today in New York. Then Stargate is also on there.
Jon: Fun! I can’t wait to hear everything. That’s an amazing list of people, especially for a first album. Have you been heavily involved with the process?
Conor: Yes, definitely. I wrote the first single “Can’t Say No” with the producers. I wrote the second single “Vegas Girl.” The plan was always to be a massive part of my album. I’ve been deciding what I want and what goes on it. There is a lot of my input in it so I’m going to be happy when I present it to everyone. It’s going to feel good to know that it came from me.
Jon: Yeah, that should be the only way. It’s gotta come from you.
Jon: Then I assume you plan to tour?
Conor: Yes! I’ll be touring around Europe for awhile then eventually make my way everywhere else. I’m fortunate that I’ll be about to tour both countries.
Jon: It’s going to be good. Once the song starts getting out there, people will start learning more about you. Plus you’re already huge on YouTube.
Conor: Yeah, I’ve been lucky in the fact that I have a massive online family before I even released anything.
Jon: Agreed. I think that alone already gives you a major advantage. Then when you do come here, you’re probably going to deal with some comparisons that I’m sure you’ve already dealt with. The most common, Justin Bieber. What do you think about those comparisons?
Conor: Well for me it’s obviously flattering to be compared to someone so massive in the music industry when I’m so early in my career. It’s feels great to be compared to someone that big but at the same time, I feel like, that comparison only goes as far as we’re both young and came from YouTube. I feel we’re different in terms of the music we are doing. For me it’s not even who I’m compared to, they’re unavoidable. I’m excited for people to get to know Conor Maynard. That’s the next step for me, that would be cool.
Conor: Oh yeah! She’s incredible on her own but I get what you mean. She’s actually another artist that may appear on my album.
Jon: Oh really? That would be dope, she just got her #1 with “R.I.P.“
Conor: Yes, that’s incredible. I’m so happy for her. We did a track together and it should be on my album or hers. We are on the same management team so we are always seeing each other.
Jon: Gotcha. The album is out in July correct?
Conor: Yes, the album will be out in the UK in July along with the new single “Vegas Girl.”
Jon: Great! Should we expect the same sound of the first two singles or something different?
Conor: We tried to recreate what I do on YouTube. I cover so many genres and that’s exactly what we wanted with the album as well. There are some big uptempo songs, some stripped back stuff, and some of what you’ve already heard.
Jon: So there will be a little bit for everyone.
Conor: Yes, exactly.
Jon: That’s good. I feel like even though you’re young, you’re delivering a much more mature sound that I don’t think people would expect. Your voice is very versatile.
Conor: Thank You. I always like to play around with my voice and I take on different characters. The covers aren’t my songs but I make them my own. I’m able to put myself in those situations.
Jon: Good! That is what makes you a great singer. Anyway, that’s basically all I wanted to talk about but it’s been great. I’m super excited for the album and for you to crossover. Let’s make it happen!
Conor: For sure! Thank you so much.