Forget Bieber Fever – it’s all about Maynard mania

HE’S had 90 million YouTube views, has almost half a million followers on Facebook and almost as many on Twitter.[break]

[break]Conor Maynard is the choochie-faced epitome of how music stars are discovered in these social networking, record shop-dying days.[break]

[break]Conor – who plays a gig at the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth, on Tuesday, July 31 (how many pop stars venture this far south?) – has used the internet for all its worth in what can only be described as a meteoric rise.[break]

[break]On the back of No 2 debut hit Can’t Say No and new single Vegas Girl (both co-produced and written by Conor with The Invisible Men – see he’s not just a pre-teen face), he releases his debut album Contrast on July 30.[break]

[break]You may be surprised but this a particularly pop savvy collection of songs by the lad, stomping on any notions that he’s a British Bieber.[break]

[break]As well as The Invisible Men (the team behind Jessie J hits like Do It Like A Dude), Conor’s worked with a veritable Who’s Who of transatlantic talent – Pharrell Williams, Ne-Yo, Midi Mafia, Stargate and Frank Ocean.[break]

[break]The result is a satisfying mix of chart-friendly tunes with an underlying almost-experimental of low-end electronics. Think early Neptunes and Timbaland’s work with Missy Elliott.[break]

[break]A frighteningly confident 19-year-old (though he looks like he should be sitting his 11-plus), Conor chatted to me last week, with only a slightly nervous giggle belying his age.[break]

[break]How did this all start then?[break]

[break]”When I was 15 I was walking up the road to school and this girl heard me singing. She then made me sing to the whole class. It went from there really.[break]

[break]”I started putting videos on YouTube and people seemed to like them.”[break]

[break]At first they were watched by the usual candidates – his mum and nan – but as he started getting to grips with the technology and putting visuals to the music, more people took an interest.[break]

[break]”The first person who approached me was Ne-Yo. We ended up Skyping and now he’s on the album. It rounds off the whole process, though it’s pretty crazy. It was amazing to work with Pharrell and Rita Ora – they’re all inspirational people.”[break]

[break]Pharrell has returned the honour, being quoted as saying: “This kid will change the face of pop music.”[break]

[break]Conor, who was voted the winner of MTV’s fan-voted Brand New for 2012, is already getting used to the territory.[break]

[break]”Yes, I’m getting screaming girls wherever I go. It’s cool because it reminds me that people are enjoying the music.[break]

[break]”I am my fanbase. I’m making music for people like me; I know what I want to hear when I’m our partying with friends and I know what I want to hear when I’ve broken up with my girlfriend.”[break]

[break]So what about the comparisons to Justin Bieber. Does he hate it?[break]

[break]”I’d rather people just listen to the music and decide for themselves. I wouldn’t want people who don’t like him not listening to me because of those comparisons.”[break]

[break]When I said there is a touch of the Timberlakes to his songs, Conor added: “See, that’s a comparison I’m happier with. He was quite an inspiration on my music.”[break]

[break]One feels that this new kid on the block will be around for a while. He let slip that his management have already looked into film deals.[break]

[break]”I went to drama school part-time when I was younger but when the music started I dropped all that. I’d love to return to it but will concentrate on the music for now.”[break]

[break]For tickets to the Falmouth gig – “I’ve been on holiday to Cornwall but playing down there will be exciting” – contact the box office on 01326-211-222.[break]

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