Issue 76

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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Page 46 of 65

You packed a lot in in a very short space of time so I had to honour it by packing a lot into that intro! I was even impressed hearing all that, like "did I do all that? Wow!" So you're back with a new single 'Talking About', second studio album is in the offing as well, that's coming soon. So first off the bat, what do you find more challenging, to match or surpass the success you've had in the past or was delivering your debut album more challenging? It's really funny because I reckon as an artist you feel like every album you're working on at that moment feels like the hardest one you've ever had to do. My first album was very difficult because I didn't know what people were expecting of me, and it was my debut album so it was very scary. I remember other artists would say to me "oh man, it's all about the second album, the second album is so hard", and I was like "really? Surely the it'd be the first one", but now I'm on the second one I feel what they mean, it's the pressure. The first album went to number one, you can either match that or it doesn't, and it's very hard to not let that pressure ruin the experience for you. But I focus on just writing great music and I've given myself enough time to sit back and think about what I want to do, and I'm excited for people to hear it. Let's do a bit of scene setting now. You seemed to skyrocket to success, but what was your childhood like? Were you parents musically inclined? Definitely music lovers. Their jobs aren't anything to do with music but they definitely enjoyed listening to all different types of music, my dad would listen to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder non-stop. I grew up listening to a lot of music, and I think it definitely led me into a musical path. I went to a drama school part time, it's funny actually because acting and drama was my main thing but singing kind of took over, by accident almost. And speaking of the step up in the music game, you did those covers of songs by Rihanna, Ne- Yo and Taio Cruz on YouTube, that got you the attention of the superstar Ne-Yo. What made you decide to make those videos and did you imagine they would be so successful? And tell me about the first time that Ne-Yo contacted you. Yeah it was crazy, I didn't even believe it. When I first got an email from Ne-Yo's team, "oh you know Ne-Yo wants to sign you" and I didn't believe it. They kept emailing me and I was like "listen guys, I really appreciate it but is there any proof that you guys are definitely involved with Ne-Yo, you need to let me know", and they were like "we're gonna sort out a Skype call with you". So I remember a few days later I got this text that Ne-Yo's ready to Skype, and I was really nervous thinking it's gonna be one of my mates, like "got ya!", so I didn't want to dress to smart for it. I ended up wearing some raggedy t-shirt, and the thing pops up and it is Ne-Yo. So it was quite crazy but then we got talking, and he wanted to sign me and that's what really skyrocketed my career because after that labels got involved, and then I started work on my first album and it went to number one in the UK. Another massive name I worked with was Pharrell on the first album, my label got a call from him like "has Conor already been signed? We'd still love to work with him", so I flew out to Miami to do a session with Pharrell and it was crazy. There were a lot of people on my first album, so that's why on my second album I want to step back and have it a bit more about me, I produce, I write as well. There's a track on the album that's lined up to be a single actually, which I completely wrote and produced myself. What sort of collaborations artist-wise and production-wise can we expect from this new album then? 'Talking About' was with Craig David, a lot of fun to do and he's such a nice guy. The next single is with Labrinth, which I'm really excited about, there's also a track that I recorded that was written by Timbaland, so there are still very, very cool names. I can't wait for people to hear it. So you performed to 80,000 people at the Summertime Ball, what was that like? That was insane, that was the biggest crowd I've ever performed in front of. That's one of the performances I'll never forget. One of my favourite shows of all time, I was in Rome and it was one of my own headline tours, and it was the most surreal moment. The fans were crazy, they brought like their own pyrotechnics, they had these things that shoot confetti, and on the last song they set off all these fireworks, it looked amazing. Not only have you sold records and are getting notoriety nationally and internationally, obviously you've won awards - the MTV Brand New For 2012, for that you beat off competition from Delilah, Michael Kiwanuka, Lana Del Rey, Lianne La Havas, these are some stellar artists. What do you find more prestigious, selling the records or getting these types of awards? I'm grateful for every aspect of it. I feel like whenever a fan buys a ticket or a single or when I get given award, whether it's voted for by fans or from a board of people, I'm always grateful, I don't really see anything as more important than anything else. It all comes into the same thing where I've worked hard on this album and I'm being rewarded for it in some way, and it does feel amazing. As long as there are people out there still buying my music and supporting me I will continue to work as hard as I can to make new albums. The jump off was 'Can't Say No', the second single was 'Vegas Girl', the third single that's where you collaborated with Ne-Yo on 'Turn Around'. That song peaked at number eight on the UK singles chart, the video racked up in excess of 31 million views on YouTube, we're talking about a phenomenal collaboration right there. Tell me the creative history behind that song. Obviously we've talked about Ne-Yo being a sort of mentor to me, we always knew we wanted to work together and I think there was a moment where we both had time, I flew out to LA and I spent two days in the studio with him. I remember the first song we did wasn't as strong as I wanted it to be, I was a bit worried because I really thought we'd get a strong hit out of the session, and the next day we walked into the studio and he'd written 'Turn Around'. He played it to us and we were like "wow, this is the one". So I started recording 'Turn Around' straightaway and I when I finished, I sat down and Ne-Yo sat next to me, and I thought he was going to say something bad and he was like "I think I should also feature on this song". I tried to keep my cool but I was like "please do it right now!" So it was a very, very cool moment when that song came to be. And any interesting stories from the video shoot? That was a one-day shoot in LA and it was amazing. Ne-Yo came down and he was there all day. That was probably one of the most surreal videos I've ever got to shoot because there were scenes where I was floating in this telephone box, and that was real, that telephone box was hanging 80 feet above a river in LA. There's another bit where I'm on top of a bus that's moving, and that was real as well. It was quite intense, I became a stunt double in that video. So 'Talking About', that looks like another runaway hit for you. Tell me about the song itself, and you've got a very interesting video too. What happens is when you have a song, directors come forward with ideas for the video, and there was this one idea, "how about Conor's a hitchhiker and he keeps jumping in different cars". Initially the idea was that each car would have a different, cool vibe about it and I was like "how about we have some cars where it's just funny, like an old couple, or some hippies", so we did that and it ended up working really well. Obviously Craig David was in the video as well, I lent him my car, my Lamborghini [laughs]. Yeah his Lamborghini was in the video as well, it was a lot of fun. And the song itself? I'd been a massive fan of Craig David for years and we got a phone call saying "Craig David's written this song with a producer called Mojam, we think Conor would love it", we heard it and was like "100% this is the one". I was in the studio two days later recording it, and once we heard it back we just knew this is the song we want to go with, and it'll be on the new album. Do you know when it might be hitting the streets? It'll be before the end of the year. Exactly when I don't know yet. You seem to take it all in your stride, you're a serious artist but you don't take yourself seriously. That's what makes you seem like you could be the guy next door. Definitely, that was the kind of vibe from the very beginning. I never really wanted to be up in the club with sunglasses on, like "yeah ladies", I'd be the guy trying to talk to a girl and spilling my drink all over her, and cleaning it up with a napkin [laughs]. That's more my vibe. I never wanted to take myself too seriously. Beyond the album what's the next plan? Is it to break America properly? The first album went to number 32 in America, broke top 40,which was an incredible achievement, so we'll hopefully be progressing on that with the new album. I'm just really excited to get out there again and promote my new album, and I can't wait for people to hear it regardless of what country they're from. I can't wait to get out there and show them my new music. 47 Issue 76 / 2015 INDIE / ROCK This artist initially started gaining attention by posting his renditions of songs by Taio Cruz, Rihanna and Ne-Yo, and his performances were so impactful that Ne-Yo himself got in contact and became this artist's mentor. This Brighton native received the MTV Brand New For 2012 Award and has performed at the Capital Summertime Ball to a crowd of 80,000 people. He gave you hits like 'Can't Say No', 'Vegas Girl', and 'Turn Around', all of which peaked in the top ten of the UK national singles chart and were from his debut album Contrast, which debuted at number 1. Yes it's Conor Maynard " On my second album I want to step back and have it a bit more about me, I produce, I write as well"

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