Conor Maynard talks music ahead of his Eid gig in Dubai

The English singer-songwriter will be a part of a joint concert with Zack Knight in May


Husain Rizvi

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Published: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 1:45 PM

Last updated: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 2:06 PM

When English singer-songwriter and content creator Conor Maynard was doing Broadway in New York, he learned many vocal warm-ups and techniques to maximise his on-stage performance. “I get in the mood as much as I can,” he says in a Zoom conversation with City Times. “And jump up and down on the spot to get the blood flowing before I hit the stage.” The same practice has become Conor’s mantra before he takes to the stage as a musician.

Conor has joined the dazzling line-up of performances in the UAE for Eid Al Fitr celebrations. For what will be his first live performance since 2019, and a performance in Dubai after a very long time, Conor is “super excited” and is looking forward to getting back on stage. What can the crowd in the UAE expect? “I am going to sing a bunch of new stuff, as well as the older hits and make sure that everyone that comes hears exactly what they want to hear,” Conor said.

As the country slowly returns to its pre-pandemic state, with full-fledged concerts returning, Conor is looking forward to getting out there and giving all the visitors the best show he possibly can. “I am going to have to get a few rehearsals, because I’m worried I am going to be a little bit rusty,” he says, “It has been so long, but you know, I will make sure that I am ready.”

It is no secret that the pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill; the entertainment industry was largely affected as many shows, films, and music productions were put on hold. Conor, however, felt “fortunate” in a way as he had a home studio to get back to and make content, albeit being locked away in his house. And while there are some areas of his career that were affected such as touring and shows, he feels that it allowed him to “really focus” on making new music and content which, for him, was a plus.

Teaming up with Zack Knight

For his performance on May 8, Conor will also be sharing the Coca-Cola Arena stage with Zack Knight, one of the UK’s famous South Asian singer-songwriters. The two, though, have never met. “We might hate each other,” Conor says jokingly. The singer, however, is excited to meet and share the stage with Zack. “He seems like a super nice guy,” he says. “It could be the beginning of a blossoming friendship.”

This will not be the first time Conor will be sharing the stage with someone he does not know. He has experienced both instances; where he does not know anybody from the line-up and also the exact opposite. “Shows have gone well either way and I don’t think it is necessary or essential (to know who you are performing with),” he says. “But, it (knowing the line-up) creates a nicer atmosphere.”

Conor on Arabic music: It’s really beautiful

Conor was in Dubai a couple of months ago. Whenever he was out and about or used to ride around in taxis, Conor remembers hearing a lot of Arabic music and how it would always catch his ear. “I’d be like, ‘Oh, that melody sounds really nice.’ And I think it’s because it is so different. It’s kind of like a different experience, it just feels like a whole other planet in terms of music and how it sounds,” he says. “It’s really beautiful and really well put together.” And Conor, as an artist who loves cross culture collaborations, is “very open” to one.

For Conor, who came into the spotlight when he won the MTV’s Brand New for 2012 award, inspiration and ideas come randomly. “I think I just get inspired by random rushes or moments. It is like a snowball effect, I get small ideas and I wait, hold on, and then it will just get bigger and bigger until it’s finished and ready,” said Conor, adding that he doesn’t go around looking for inspiration, rather it happens randomly and it can be from anything. “I get ideas from the weirdest places. I wish there was more of a formula to it, because then I’d be able to do it more often.”

Re-imagining Whitney

One of Conor’s latest projects is a re-imagined work of Whitney Houston’s iconic single I Wanna Dance With Somebody. “I have always loved that song and any versions of it that I’ve heard,” he says, adding that he’s also had this idea of lending the lyrics of the chorus to a sad song. “The song is very upbeat and happy and probably, if twisted or restructured in the right way, could also work in a more sad, downtime tempo ballad.”

Listen to the song below:

And, it all worked out for Conor, who was also going through a breakup at the time. “So it fit the kind of feeling I was going through and it allowed me to write the lyrics that I wanted to write,” he said. “I think it’s so much easier to write about something when it’s real and happening to you. At that moment, I think that if you’re going through those real emotions, it is much easier to put together a song.”

As a long-time content creator, Conor continues to maintain his social media presence by bringing out viral content on YouTube and TikTok on which he boasts 12.7 million subscribers and 6.4 million followers respectively.

Event Details

Conor and Zack Knight’s (pictured) joint gig will be the first time the two singers will share a stage. Brought to you by Blu Blood in association with Eid in Dubai, the concert will take place on May 8, at the Coca-Cola Arena. Tickets can be purchased from Platinumlist, BookMyShow, Virgin Tickets, Dubai Calendar and the venue’s official website

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