Conor Maynard has many guest stars on his Contrast album, which drops in the States in September. Ne-Yo, Pharrell and Rita Ora all make marquee cameos on the 19-year-old Brit's forthcoming debut album, but buried in the production and songwriting credits is another young star who's bracing himself for superstardom.
Odd Future's R&B crooner Frank Ocean gifted Maynard with the track "Pictures" for his album. And it's Ocean's true soulful spirit that really excited the singer.
"He's blowing up right now," Maynard told MTV News. "For me, it's crazy to watch that he's a proper, true kind of R&B singer, and he's still kind of out there doing really well. It's sometimes difficult for R&B singers to make people want to listen. It's one of those genres that almost faded to the background a little bit and it's people trying to bring it back, and he's doing an amazing job of that."
Ocean managed to resurrect the genre a bit with his Channel Orange album, and Maynard is putting his own Justin Timberlake-derived spin on it. And while Maynard and Ocean might be musical kindred spirits, the two newbies didn't even record their track together.
"Well, I mean, with Frank Ocean, funny enough, I never got to meet him," Maynard explained. "It was one of those sessions where a song is put out there, where someone writes it, and someone else hears it and I end up with a song on my album," he said. "For me, it's kind of annoying I never got to meet him, but at the same time it's an incredible song."
In addition to helping pop some life into the R&B scene, Maynard is also a part of the genre's current Anglophile-influenced fetish, joining the likes of One Direction and the Wanted as one of America's biggest heartthrobs.
"It's mad times right now. ... It's an amazing time for British talent to be crossing over to the U.S. It's obvious I've got to try and do that," the "Vegas Girl" singer said. "I don't know what it is. I know you guys have something about the accent. I mean, you've always loved the accent, so I don't know, maybe you're hearing it a little more and it's just like, 'Oh my god!' "