Release Date: Jan 8, 2013
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Pop, Dance-Pop
Angel-faced Conor Maynard has been called the "British Bieber," though at age 20, the Brighton, England, native is a graybeard next to his Canadian counterpart. Like Bieber, Maynard was discovered after posting cover songs on YouTube and mentored by an established star (Ne-Yo). On his debut, a chart-topping smash in the U.K., he displays a Bieber-like flair for mixing boy-band guile-lessness with state-of-the-art R&B style.
Discovered after uploading several cover versions on YouTube, mentored by an R&B ladies man and an advocate of breathy urban pop, it's understandable why 19-year-old Conor Maynard has been labeled Brighton's answer to Justin Bieber. He may share a bizarrely similar backstory, but his debut album, Contrast, has more in common with the Justin that's since been lost to the big-screen rather than the Canadian teen idol. Indeed, there are strong echoes of Timberlake's Justified throughout its 12 tracks, from his fondness for falsetto a cappella lines and suggestive lyrics, to the slick, spacey, disco-funk of "Lift Off" and the dramatic balladry of "Glass Girl," both of which are produced by former JT cohort Pharrell Williams.
Since it’s physically impossible not to mention Conor Maynard without also name-dropping Justin Bieber, lets get this comparison out of the way. Like his transatlantic cousin, Maynard initially made his name on YouTube with a series of cover versions which have helped amass his channel almost 70,000,000 views. Like the Bieb-machine, Maynard is a decidedly fresh-faced chap with only 19 years to his name, a winningly innocent smile and the voice of a cherub.
Teenage lothario Maynard has been pegged with the rather unfortunate ‘British Bieber’ billing. But the tag does the Brighton native a disservice, as it’s another Justin that the choicer moments of ‘Contrasts’ call to mind – Timberlake, at his thrusting, braggadocio-laden best. There’s some razor-sharp and achingly ‘now’ production from the Invisible Men (the team behind the undeniably marvellous ‘Can’t Say No’) and some star-studded turns here, the pick being Pharrell Williams’ spot-on ‘Lift Off’.
CONOR MAYNARD plays the Molson Amphitheatre August 16. See listing. Rating: NNN Major label A&R execs have pretty much stopped looking for their next big things in live clubs and now just scour the internet for anyone getting big YouTube numbers. That's where Adele got her start and where the UK's newest pop sensation, Conor Maynard, comes from.
Conor Maynard gets irritated – and who can blame him? – at the label "the British Justin Bieber", but if the shoe fits … The Brighton 19-year-old's first album follows the Bieber template of fitting a breathy teenage voice to cleancut urban pop created by some of the genre's biggest names, including Pharrell Williams and Frank Ocean. And most of the tracks here, with their wide-eyed appreciation of "beautiful girlies" would fit on a Bieber album. But you get the feeling he's striving for more: the Ocean-authored Pictures is an oddball slowie dotted with floating percussion and a dazed spoken-word section; on Lift Off he melts woozily into Williams's outer-space synths.
There are those who, upon hearing the little dubstep wobbles on Glass Girl (the penultimate track on teenage pop singer Conor Maynard's debut album) or indeed the subtle drum and bass feints at the start of Take Off, will roll their eyes and bemoan the pop commodification of the underground by cheese-mongering philistines. This would be a mistake. Maynard may be a clean-cut pretty young thing, like Justin Bieber or One Direction or the Wanted.
A credible collection of electronic RnB owing a debt to a more-grown-up Justin. Nick Levine 2012 Girls love him, even though he can't need to shave more than twice a week. And he got his break by posting cover versions on YouTube. But still, British pop upstart Conor Maynard really hates being compared to Justin Bieber.