Hi Conor, where are you?
I’m in New York and I woke up literally 30 minutes ago.
In those 30 minutes, how many screaming female fans have you encountered?
I’ve been in the hotel room, so nothing today. But we’ve been doing these Mayniac Meet Ups (1) here in the US, where we tweet a location and meet any fans who turn up. It normally involves signing a few things, but we did one here in a candy store and it went crazy. We had no security and over 200 girls turned up! We got kicked out of the shop.
Do you consider yourself something of a lady’s man?
I guess I do get a few tweets from fans asking me to marry them.
Back in my day you would have to get to know someone a bit before that, do a bit of courting …
I know. I like to throw them off by saying: “Yeah, ok, I will marry you. Let’s go!” They never know what to say to that.
The video to your song Vegas Girl starts with you colliding with an attractive young lady outside a shop and then, by way of an apology, asking if you can take her picture on your phone. Is this not a slightly creepy move?
Yes, definitely, I agree 100%. It’s funny, because the director gave me four lines to get from bumping into her to taking her picture. We made up this scene where I asked if her shoulder was OK, told her I knew massage techniques, said I might need her number for insurance details. But they cut all of that out and just used the massage technique line, so I looked even more of a pervert!
What is it about Las Vegas that you identify with?
Well, er, I’ve never actually been to Vegas! We realised when shooting the video that I was legally too young to do anything fun in Vegas. It would have just been me getting stopped from going into clubs by bouncers and then my Mum coming to pick me up at the end. But the concept of the song is that you can be from anywhere in the world and still party like it’s Vegas.
Would you have liked to party like Prince Harry did in Vegas?
Erm … I suppose without the cameras, that would be great!
You’ve done lots of covers (2). What is the secret of a good cover version?
You need to really switch it up and make it your own. Show off your own style and uniqueness to stand out. That’s the advice I’d give to people getting started online now.
You said recently that your version of Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars is the only cover of yours that your ex-girlfriend liked. Is that why she became an ex?
No, that ended because I moved away from Brighton to London, but I do remember her saying that and me thinking: “Thanks, I work really hard on these covers actually.”
You’ve also covered Drake songs – do you relate to his lyrics?
I see him as an artist for other artists. He writes songs about the struggles of this job, the side of things people don’t see. How you are always on the move and never get to see your old friends. They think you’ve forgotten about them when actually you just have no time to contact them.
Do some of your friends act funny with you since you’ve become famous?
I do get texts saying: “What’s going on? Have you forgotten about me? It’s been ages – you said you weren’t going to change!” They think I’m so caught up in everything that I forget them, so the difficult part is making them realise that I do think about them, I just don’t always have the time to get in touch.
Your first single Can’t Say No (3) was a big hit. Why do you think people liked it?
Some people heard that and thought: “Oh you must be a dick, saying you get girls all the time.” But it’s just a party record and a bit of fun. I wasn’t literally saying that, because it really wasn’t the case at the time!
Does that mean it is the case now?
Oh, no (4)! I wish it could be, that would be a fun lifestyle. Although it might get a bit tiring.
It looks like you’ve had a very rapid rise to stardom, is that how it feels for you?
No (5), not really. I started recording when I was 15, so that’s four years ago. I was signed at 17, so I’ve been working on the Contrast album for two years and recorded over 200 songs for it trying to work out the exact sound and what kind of artist I wanted to be.
There’s a song on Contrast written by Frank Ocean, called Pictures – are you a big fan?
Definitely, he’s really brought R&B forward into the modern day. And he’s an incredible writer. I was extremely lucky to have a song by him on my album.
Do you get stage fright when you have to suddenly play massive shows?
No (6), although I do always think back to my first concerts, where I was so nervous. I was in Brighton performing tracks from the album for the first time. I was so scared I didn’t put on a good show; the audience focused on how nervous I was rather than the performance. I was literally gripping the microphone stand throughout the whole thing!
You’ve been described as the British Justin Bieber. Understandably, this could be quite annoying …
I can see why –we’re both young and came through YouTube. But I don’t like being boxed in. I would much rather people listened to the album and made up their own mind rather than being told what it is. I think my music is aimed at a slightly older and more sophisticated palette. I named the album Contrast because I wanted to show it wasn’t a Bieber 2.0 album.
Let’s end with a forensic look at some of your lyrics, shall we?
On the song Another One it says: “Said she wanna peel my banana” …
Yeah. Er, before we do this, can I just say that I didn’t actually write this song.
But you did sing it …
Yes, true, I did sing it. I think it’s another one of those where it’s just a bit of fun, poking fun at the idea of going to a club and chat-up lines.
What do you think the songwriters intended the banana metaphor to represent?
I don’t know. Maybe they were genuinely interested in that particular fruit.
Can’t Say No has the lyric: “Send my rocket to the sky”. What is the rocket in question?
That line is just an innocent bridge to the next line – “I’m like Houston, I think we got a problem”. Plus, it also represents my dream of one day working for Nasa.
What about the line “Pull her G-string like Santana”?
(Laughs) Oh my God! Er … sometimes girls … bring a guitar to … the party?
And why that string? Is it a note you particularly like?
It’s one of my all-time favourite notes. I could have said play a G on the piano, but it would be unlikely for a girl to bring a full piano to a party.
You would struggle to get one into a club wouldn’t you?
You would, yes.
I’m pleased we cleared this up. Thanks Conor!
Thanks a lot, bye!
Haha… Poor Conor, all those questions about the lyrics from Another One. He handled those questions quite well I think 😛