Meet pop's next superstar whose love of music saved him from a suburban nightmare.
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Did you know that over 500 hours of video gets uploaded to YouTube every minute? All are created by human beings expressing themselves and wanting to share their talent with the world.
Thanks in no small part to the success of creators such as Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Tori Kelly, and Charli Puth, the platform is now seen as the go-to destination for brand new artists looking to break out of their suburban bedrooms and find their audience.
But with so many people now given a voice, how do you break through and stand out from the crowd?
In the case of 21-year-old pop star in waiting, Conan Gray, the answer is to be as true and authentic to yourself as possible, whilst also make proper pop bangers.
Describing his childhood as “s****y”, the musician discovered YouTube when he was 12 and started to post as much as he could as a form of escapism. Editing and uploading videos himself – a passion he’s fiercely maintained throughout his career – he quickly began to build confidence and find a following. Inspired by two albums in particular – Lorde’s Pure Heroine and Taylor Swift’s 1989 – he then delved into the world of songwriting.
The resulting debut track, Idle Hands, hit the net in 2018 and quickly found an audience, landing Gray a record deal and giving him an escape route out of this hometown, away from his childhood troubles.
Whilst the world of YouTube was already aware of his considerable talent, the wider public first came to know Gray through his debut Summer Sessions EP and follow up singles such as The Other Side and Checkmate. He garnered praise from the likes of Vogue, Paper, The Fader, i-D and Billboard, as well as endorsements from peers such as Billie Eilish, BTS, The 1975 and Lewis Capaldi.
As his star grew, Conan was invited to support heroes Panic! At The Disco on tour across California, during which the musician was quietly plotting his debut album. Kid Krow is now due for release on 30 March 2020 and Conan has teased fans on the direction of the album with four singles so far: dance-pop jam Maniac, introspective album opener Comfort Crowd, the pop-punk tinged revenge anthem Checkmate and latest release, The Story.
Showing his range as a songwriter, The Story is a clear example of why Conan has reached this point of his career so far. The acoustic slow-burner is littered with references to suicidal thoughts, depression, and repressed sexuality, and provides thoughtful musical encouragement to Gray’s fans that no matter what they’re going through or have been through in the past, things can and will get better.
The musician comes to the UK in May 2020 for a run of headline dates which has already seen an extra London show added due to demand.
More essential Conan Gray songs
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