The arrival of Conor Maynard is long overdue. For years, we’ve awaited a British solo male singer who was young but not tween, a star that boasted big, massive hits, but was no insipid pop puppet. Someone funny and outgoing, articulate and intelligent, but no stranger to entertaining and engaging his audience.
Step forward Conor Maynard, the charismatic and charming 19 year-old who effortlessly encompasses credible-cool and commercial appeal with his forward-thinking, futuristic, super-sharp urban-pop. Already boasting a smash-hit debut single in the form of ‘Can’t Say No’, which has sold well over 200,000 copies, his forthcoming album Contrast establishes him as one of pop music’s most exciting propositions.
While careless comparison could be made to other teenage YouTube sensations, Conor’s distinctive musical merit is irrefutable on his incomparable debut album, ‘Contrast‘. Rather than retreading the over-played euro-dance route, Contrast is an album that refuses to be stifled by genre proposing innovative R&B, dramatic Hip Hop soundscapes and stadium-scaling pop anthems, while retaining a cohesiveness that is inventive, playful and unusually arresting.
Co-written and produced by Conor with the likes of Pharrell Williams, Ne-Yo, Midi Mafia, Stargate and Frank Ocean, Contrast manages to appeal to a global consciousness while retaining a distinctly British sensibility, courtesy in part to UK producers the Invisible Men, the trio behind hits for Jessie J (Do It Like A Dude) and DJ Fresh (Hot Right Now).
As well as producing Conor’s No.2 debut smash ‘Can’t Say No’, the Invisible Men also take the reins on a number of key tracks on the album including Conor’s second single ‘Vegas Girl’, out on July 23rd. Produced and written by Conor Maynard and The Invisible Men, the collaborative composition screams smash hit. Recalling the ingenuity and the energy of an early Neptunes, Missy Elliott or Timbaland, Vegas Girl is a cutting-edge slice of sub-low, neck-breaking bass, with Conor’s skilfully positioned vocal propelling the track from club-ready to chart-worthy.
Other album highlights include ‘Turn Around’, written by Ne-Yo and produced by Stargate. An uplifting, anthemic emo-urban-pop track, it’s a brilliantly atmospheric, hands-in-the-air tune, tailor-made for stadium audiences.
Alongside the Pharrell Williams track ‘Lift Off’, which revisits N*E*R*D*s notorious sci-fi synths and throwback soul but with an almost four-to-the-floor middle eight, it showcases Conor’s globe-busting potential for truly international success.
With dark pop tracks such as ‘Mary Go Round’, spectacular R&B vocals on ‘Drowning‘, outright dancefloor-fillers like the stunning album opener ‘Animal’ and the Rita Ora-featuring ‘Better Than You’, plus a second Pharrell Williams-produced number in ‘Glass Girl’, this is an album with across-the-board appeal.
Throwing the Midi Mafia (50 Cent) produced and Frank Ocean penned Pictures into the mix with its lyrically suggestive, slow and sexy falsetto-filled jam underlines that Conor is most definitely a man, not a boy. And proves that Contrast is not only an incredible debut for a teenager, it’s outstanding full stop. Considering Conor has been recording professionally for less than a year, it displays a lyrical and vocal maturity far beyond his years, without ignoring his younger followers. “I am my fanbase,” Conor points out. “I’m making music for people like me; I know what I want to hear when I’m out partying with my friends and I know what I want to hear when I’ve broken up with my girlfriend.”
With such a dramatic, brilliant and downright thrilling debut album about to be unleashed Conor is far from complacent. “Everything that has happened so far has been amazing, but I’m not about to take my eye off the ball. Right now I’m getting ready for the next step because I don’t want to trip myself up. This is the most exciting thing to happen to me, and I don’t want it to stop.”
The tracklisting for ‘Contrast’ is as follows:
2. Turn Around (feat. Ne-Yo)
3. Vegas Girl
4. Can’t Say No
5. Lift Off
6. Mary Go Round
7. Take Off
8. Better Than You (feat. Rita Ora)
9. Another One
12. Just In Case
‘Contrast’ hits stores on the 30th July.