YouTube breakout star Conan Gray didn’t have an easy life.
Growing up in an unsafe environment, surviving abuse, and moving to the middle-of-nowhere Texas were all significant events that marked his early life. But, perhaps more significantly, was his ability to synthesize all these experiences, and share them with the fans who were following along with his story in his self-made videos. Using visual art and journaling as a means of processing his emotions, Gray’s visual and written storytelling naturally progressed into songwriting.
“I’ve been writing two or three songs a day — every single day — since I was 12 years old,” Gray shared in a recent interview with Uproxx. “My whole childhood I was like, ‘it’d be perfect if I randomly signed a record deal.’ In the moment, it was just the most far-fetched idiotic dream in the world.”
Then, a breakout song called “Idle Town” actually catapulted Conan to the kind of viral fame that drew the attention of managers, who booked him for his first show ever, and began to help him build the career he’d always dreamed about having. Looking back, Conan remembers he almost didn’t get back to their email because he was busy with a lot of homework — that’s the way the world works when you’re writing hit songs at the age of 17.
Gray has now achieved that dream and is slated to release his debut full-length, Kid Krow, through Republic Records on March 20 of this year. That record will follow up his initial EP, Sunset Season, and includes some of his newer hits like “The Story,” “Crush Culture,” and “The King.” Watch Conan talk about his journey from feeling stuck in a painful childhood to signing with one of the biggest labels in the world in the clip above, and keep an eye out for his debut album — it’s going to take the world by storm.