Conor Maynard Puts His Own Spin on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

British singer/songwriter Conor Maynard just released his own version of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” taking the ultimate party song and transforming it completely. The original fast-paced, danceable tune is slowed down, and Maynard hones in on longing for love rather than wanting to get up and dance.

“I always thought the chorus could be flipped on its head to be more of a sad song,” Maynard explains in an interview with American Songwriter. “Like, ‘I want to dance with somebody, but not if it isn’t you.’ Or, ‘I want to go out and have fun, but I’m dealing with this heartbreak.’ And that’s exactly how I was feeling five or six months ago.”

After going through a difficult breakup, Maynard turned to songwriting to express what he was dealing with. “I wanted to go out with my friends and have fun, but I just couldn’t bring myself to have a good time. I felt constantly sad. That was kind of where the song was born from. It was born from pain, so that’s fun,” he laughs.

Maynard’s cover maintains the original hook— I wanna dance with somebody / With somebody who loves me— but he adds his own lyrics in between, giving listeners a glimpse into his headspace after heartbreak.

“I think, for me, the hardest part was translating what I was feeling inside into words,” he confesses. “When you’re writing something that’s genuine and true, you’re so much more particular about what you want to say.”

Even though writing lyrics to a pre-existing song made the creative process slightly easier, Maynard wanted it to be as true to his feelings as possible.

Maynard describes himself as “a pacer” when he’s writing music. “I like being in a big open room and walking around and really trying to work out exactly what I want to say,” he explains. “It’s very rewarding when you get there because it can be very difficult.”

When he got the idea for “Dance with Somebody,” Maynard was lying in bed watching TV. He started humming, and suddenly, something clicked. “I just kind of heard the chords I wanted underneath it. I went straight to my laptop and opened it up and instantly brought the piano and starting playing the chords I was hearing,” he says.

He brought the song into the studio, and after working with a producer, everything fell into place. “It just worked,” he shrugs, beaming. “The melodies and everything sounded really nice over it, and that was it, really.”

In addition to the original lyrics and new sound, the sheer vulnerability in this track is especially captivating. When Maynard released his single “What I Put You Through,” a few months ago, many fans reached out to tell him that it perfectly reflected what they were going through, too. With “Dance With Somebody,” he wanted listeners to feel the same way.

“When I’m going through heartbreak, listening to music doesn’t really help me as much as writing,” he says. “Putting my own feelings down on paper and into a piece of work definitely helps, I find it kind of therapeutic.” While listening to music does not always ease his pain, he hopes that fans can find that through his songs.

“You definitely want the person who’s on the other end of the feelings to hear it, so you kind of take that into account, and then you also want it to be relatable to people,” Maynard explains.” For people to hear it and go ‘That’s exactly what I’m going through,’ that is a piece of comfort.”

He continues, “We all kind of go through this pain. It’s something that we all share, and when it happens, it’s common to feel like you’re very alone.” When people hear his version of the song, he hopes they know that they are not alone in their feelings at all.

Although the song features his own lyrics and style, Maynard wanted to pay tribute to Houston with the cover. Honoring her memory, Maynard released the song exactly 10 years after the date of her passing. “The Whitney Foundation gave the song the green light, which is just amazing,” he says. “It’s amazing that I’m able to be a part of that legacy.”

In addition to a special Valentine’s Day video of “Dance With Somebody,” Maynard has much more in store for fans this year. “There will definitely be a lot more music, a lot more songs,” he confirms. “I want to release as many as I can.”

Additionally, later this year, Maynard will be hitting the road on tour for the first time since 2019. “It’s been a long time, and I can’t wait to see everyone again,” he says. After an exciting start to the year with this single, there is much more to expect from Maynard in 2022.

“Dance With Somebody” is streaming on all platforms, and be sure to watch the new video here.

Photo courtesy of Christo Patricios

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