When I first started posting on YouTube and social media many years ago, it was seen as this obscure thing—people literally looked at me like, “Why are you doing this?!” Now, of course, it’s the norm and there are so many talented artists of all kinds sharing their art, and so many people sharing their feelings across a variety of platforms.
In my early posts, I tried to make everything polished and, I guess, make things seem more perfect than they really were. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that people relate to realness—they’re more savvy these days—and they respond to real people putting their authentic selves out there because, let’s be honest, life is messy.
Social media is an amazing tool and has been huge for my career, but at the end of last year I needed to step away from it. I went through a terrible breakup, and when I went online, I was noticing things that amplified my feelings of pain. It made me feel sad and even more alone. So, I took a step back from the pressures of feeling like I needed to constantly be relevant and post. I learned I don’t have to put up appearances—it’s okay to not be okay—but I also wasn’t ready to properly talk about the pain in a public setting.
It was a modern romance—we met online—and it was long distance. She was literally on the opposite side of the world from me. I had such high hopes for us. I never felt so sure of anything. Sadly, it didn’t work out the way I expected it to, and it ended suddenly without a proper explanation. I didn’t understand why it didn’t work, and I needed time to allow myself to heal. I pulled away from social media to allow myself to feel my emotions.
This isn’t my first heartbreak, unfortunately, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that I need to experience the full range of my feelings. It’s not healthy to ignore them. I knew going into the studio would make me feel better. So, I poured my heart into my music, and came out with a sound that’s new for me which you can hear on my latest single, “If I Ever.”
The song embodies my healing process. I worked really hard to make sure the lyrics, the melodies, and the music speak to exactly what I went through. It covers that period in getting over a breakup where you fluctuate between moments of anger and resentfulness, and desperate pangs of “Oh, God…I miss them so much!” The song speaks to the feeling of not having that person to speak to at night, text during the morning, and share videos and stuff throughout the day. It’s a massive adjustment. “If I Ever” doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before, so maybe my time away and then coming back signals a reset, like…new year, new me?
Years ago, I would have argued to keep going on social media, and just power through. I’ve learned this doesn’t help you, and it actually does a disservice to your followers. By not faking it, you set a good example of being true to your life and your feelings. When I returned to social media, I found people appreciated my honesty and could relate to where I was at; heartbreak is universal.
I am at a point where I still feel the pain, but I feel ready to be vulnerable and share my feelings. In my recent posts, I have been open about my sadness and my struggles, and I’ve noticed people applaud me for having made the healthy choice to take time away to heal. It’s more acceptable than you may think. It’s been a massive release of fear, hurt, and worry to see that my fans have stuck by me. The way forward for me is to keep digging into my depths as an artist, share my truth, and release music that speaks to my journey.
Popstar Conor Maynard’s latest single “If I Ever” is out now. For more information and to follow Maynard’s return to the world stage, follow him on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.