Conor Maynard puts his own spin on Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’

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

“I always thought the chorus could be reversed to become a sadder song,” Maynard explains in an interview with American Songwriter. “Like, ‘I want to dance with someone, but not if it’s not you.’ Or, ‘I want to go out and have fun, but I’m dealing with this heartache.’ And that’s exactly how I felt five or six months ago.

After going through a tough 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 couldn’t have fun. I constantly felt sad. That’s kind of where the song was born. He was born out of pain, so it’s fun,” he laughs.

Maynard’s cover retains the original hook— I want to dance with someone / With someone who loves me— but he adds his own lyrics in between, giving listeners a glimpse of his post-heartbreak headspace.

“I think for me the hardest part was translating what I felt inside into words,” he admits. “When you write something authentic and true, you are so much more specific about what you want to say.”

Although 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 writing music. “I like to be in a big open room and walk around and really try to figure out exactly what I’m saying,” he explains. “It’s very rewarding to get there because it can be very difficult.”

When he came up with the idea for “Dance with Somebody,” Maynard was lying in bed watching television. It started humming, and suddenly something clicked. “I just kind of heard the chords I wanted underneath. I went straight to my laptop and opened it up and immediately brought the piano and started playing the chords I wanted. ‘heard,’ he said.

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

In addition to the original lyrics and new sound, the vulnerability of this track is particularly captivating. When Maynard released his single “What I Put You Through” a few months ago, many fans contacted him to say that it perfectly reflected what they were going through as well. With “Dance With Somebody”, he wanted listeners to feel the same.

“When I’m going through a heart attack, listening to music doesn’t really help me as much as writing does,” he says. “Put my own feelings on paper and in a work really helps, I find it rather therapeutic.” While listening to music doesn’t always ease his pain, he hopes fans can find that through his songs.

“You really want the person on the other end of the feelings to hear it, so you take it into account, and then you want it to relate to people as well,” Maynard explains. “For people to hear it and go ‘This is exactly what I’m going through’, it’s a piece of comfort.

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

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

In addition to a special Valentine’s Day video from “Dance With Somebody,” Maynard has a lot 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.”

Also, later this year, Maynard will hit 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’s a lot more to look forward to from Maynard in 2022.

“Dance with someone” is streaming on all platformsand be sure to watch the new video here.

Photo courtesy of Christo Patricios

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