INTERVIEW: Conor Maynard talks to us ahead of his Newcastle gig

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It’s easy to forget Conor Maynard is still only 21. Since being discovered after uploading music videos to YouTube as a teenager two years ago, he’s gone on to become a popular addition to the pop charts.

He’s already has a No1 album and a rack of Top 10 hits under his belt – including Turn Around, Can’t Say No and Vegas Girl – and a legion of fans who’ve dubbed themselves “Mayniacs.”

 Today he’s in the middle of recording his second album and is preparing to hit the road supporting US singer and label mate Jason Derulo.

 Their gig at Newcastle’s O2’s Academy later this month will give local audiences a taster of what to expect from Jason when he takes to the stage at the Stadium of Light for North East Live on June 22.

 Brighton-born Conor performed at the inaugural pop fest last summer and says Jason can expect a cracking crowd.

 “I’m really looking forward to coming up to the North East. I always find the further north I go the crazier it gets,” he said.

 “Being at the Stadium of Light for North East Live last summer was amazing. I used that experience to do a Vine video.

 “On it I’m backstage saying that I hope people turn up for the gig and then I turn the camera around and there’s all these thousands of people.

 “I look a bit stupid but it’s a funny video.”

 Like most people of his generation, social media is second nature to Conor but, unlike most, it helped him to launch a career.

 He began uploading videos of himself singing his favourite songs to YouTube back in 2008.  

 Encouraged by the positive response, he posted a range of hits that showcased his strong voice, including Taio Cruz’s Dynamite, Rihanna’s Only Girl and Ne-Yo’s Beautiful Monster, which racked up millions of views.

 Label and producing offers soon started to roll in.

 “Social media has shaped the industry, it’s such a prominent part of it now,” said Conor. “If I haven’t tweeted for a while, my management asks me to. It’s a great way of keeping in touch with your fans and creating a sense of community.

 “With my career I got discovered by the fans. I wasn’t found by management, which is how it used to work. The fans liking my music brought the attention of management.”

 Conor’s fans are an ardent bunch and he says he has plenty of tales of fanaticism.

 “The fans I have, I like to say they’re dedicated. They like to scream and chase,” he said. “I’ve had a few moments that have been a bit mental. “One of them was when I was in Paris getting on a train and some jumped on the train tracks, thankfully we managed to get them off.”

 They’ll be keen to see what he produces from his second album, a teaser of which came from his last single R U Crazy. The track saw Conor dish up an older piece of pop, both lyrically and sound-wise.

 Speaking about his sophomore album, he said: “I’m in that scary second album phase at the minute but I really want to make sure it’s perfect before I release it.

 “It’s been two years since my first album, the fans have waited that long, so I want to make sure it’s up to scratch.

 “It’s definitely more risqué than my first album. I was 19 then and I’ll be 21 when this is released. I’ve been living around London now on my own. I’ve grown up and R U Crazy is a good reflection of that and the album.”

l Jason Derulo, with support from Conor Maynard, plays O2 Academy, Newcastle on March 25.