Conan Gray

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Conan Gray
Conan Gray U Street Music Hall March 2019 1.jpg
Gray performing at U Street Music Hall in 2019
Background information
Birth nameConan Lee Gray[1][2]
Born (1998-12-05) December 5, 1998 (age 21)
Lemon Grove, California[3]
OriginGeorgetown, Texas
  • Singer-songwriter
  • internet personality
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active2013–present
Associated acts
YouTube information
Subscribers1.83 million
Total views178,588,410
YouTube Silver Play Button 2.svg 100,000 subscribers 2017[4]
YouTube Gold Play Button 2.svg 1,000,000 subscribers 2018[4]
Updated March 24, 2020

Conan Lee Gray (born December 5, 1998)[3] is an American singer-songwriter and social media personality. Gray started out uploading vlogs and covers to YouTube as a teenager from Georgetown, Texas. After signing a record deal with Republic Records in 2018, he released his debut EP Sunset Season which gained over 300 million streams online. His debut studio album, Kid Krow, was released in March 2020 and reached number 5 on the Billboard 200, making him the biggest new artist debut of 2020 in the US. Gray is one of the most streamed artists on Spotify as of April 2020, with his breakthrough single "Maniac" having accumulated over 100 million streams on the platform alone.

Early life[edit]

Conan Gray was born on December 5, 1998, in Lemon Grove, California, to an Irish father and a Japanese mother.[dubious ] As an infant, his family moved to Hiroshima, Japan, due to his grandfather requiring medical care. After living there for two years, the family moved back to California. Gray used to speak Japanese fluently, but has since lost his proficiency.[5]

Gray's parents divorced when he was three years old. In a "Draw My Life" video, he details his experiences with divorce as a young child.[6] As his father was in the military, Gray moved twelve times throughout his childhood, moving three times during sixth grade alone. Gray was frequently bullied throughout grade school. At one point, he was one of only five Asian children at his school.

Gray eventually settled in Georgetown, Texas, as a preteen where he remained for the rest of his teenage years. Gray's life in central Texas inspired much of his art and music. He was accepted to UCLA, and moved to an apartment in Los Angeles, California in September 2017. As recalled in his "Draw My Life" video: "I like to think of my life in pieces. It's been picked up and moved and rearranged, so many times, that you can barely even tell it's been lived in the same lifetime."[6]


2015–2017: Career beginnings on YouTube[edit]

He created his official channel in 2013,[7] and began creating videos at age nine.[8] Gray's vlog content centers heavily on his life in small-town Texas. He is often hailed for his appreciation of Americana-related nostalgia.[9] Gray has recorded music, showed his art, and created other videos for his vlog with more than 25 million views.[10][8]

2018–2019: Sunset Season[edit]

Gray self-released his debut single "Idle Town", in March 2017. The song gained over 14 million streams on Spotify and 12 million views on YouTube.[11][9] In October 2018, Gray released the single "Generation Why" on Republic Records,[11] which was described as "a rallying call to generation Z."[12] In November 2018, Gray released the five-track EP Sunset Season which includes the songs "Idle Town", "Generation Why", "Crush Culture", "Greek God", and "Lookalike". The EP peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart and at No. 116 on the Billboard 200.[13][14] Gray embarked on a North American tour in support of the EP with Girl in Red.[15]

Gray made his late-night television debut when he performed on Late Night with Seth Meyers on the eve of February 2019[16][17] before performing several shows as an opening act for Panic! at the Disco during their Pray for the Wicked Tour.[18] He played concert festivals such as The Great Escape in addition to touring nationally.[19]

In February 2019, Gray re-released the single "The Other Side",[20] after originally publishing it on YouTube in 2016 on the eve of the first day of his senior year at high school.[21][20] Between March and October 2019, Gray released a series of singles off of his debut album, Kid Krow, namely "Checkmate", "Comfort Crowd", and "Maniac",[22] and an independent single, “The King”. In October 2019, He embarked on his second headlining tour of North America with support from acclaimed New Zealand musician Benee as well as American recording artist UMI.[23] As of October 2019, Gray's catalog had gained over 250 million streams across all platforms collectively.[24] Gray was awarded the 2019 Shorty Award for Best YouTube Musician,[25] and was nominated for Breakthrough Artist at the 2019 Streamy Awards.[26]

2020–present: Kid Krow[edit]

Throughout the second week of 2020, Gray teased fans online by tweeting daily hints about the title of his debut album.[27] On January 9, 2020, Conan Gray revealed the title of his debut album, Kid Krow, and wrote, "I say more on this album than I've ever said in my life, and I can't wait to tell you all of my secrets. Love y'all."[28] Gray released "The Story" on the same day of the album's announcement,[29] as well as "Wish You Were Sober" as a surprise release two days before the album's release.[30] During early 2020, Gray's single "Maniac" became successful on international mainstream pop radio,[31][32][33][34][35] specifically in Australia,[36][34] where it was certified gold.[37][better source needed] It became his first Billboard-charting single when it reached number 25 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart,[38] as well as the top 100 charts of Australia, Ireland and South Korea.

Gray released his debut full-length studio album Kid Krow on March 20, 2020 which debuted at number 5 on the Billboard 200 as well as number 1 on the US Pop Albums chart and number 2 on the Top Album Sales chart with over 37 thousand pure sales.[39][40][41] In the US, it was the biggest new artist debut of 2020 as of March and was the top pop solo debut album in over two years since Camila Cabello's 2018 self-titled album.[42] The album was praised by publications such as Paper, Billboard, NPR, Teen Vogue and Paste.

Gray was scheduled to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on March 16,[43] as well as Coachella in mid April 2020,[44] before both performances were cancelled due to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic. Until further notice, he will still embark on the European leg of his Kid Krow World Tour with support from Bülow.[45] In April 2020, Forbes listed Gray as a frontrunner in their predictions for Best New Artist nominees at the 2021 Grammy Awards. The three other artists beside him in the "most likely" category were Megan Thee Stallion, Summer Walker and Tones and I.[46] Following the commercial success of Kid Krow, Apple Music named Gray as an Up Next artist and released an exclusive mini-documentary about him in April 2020.[47] Artists like Billie Eilish, Khalid, Juice WRLD, Clairo and Bad Bunny have been given the title since its inception in August 2017.[48]



Gray has stated that Taylor Swift raised him "both as a writer and a human"

Gray has cited Taylor Swift as his biggest inspiration, stating that he "was raised by [her]" and that he is "the largest Swiftie".[49] He told People, "I love her so much. I love her music. I love what she does. I love her lyricism. I love how she's handled her career. She's just such a f*cking boss. I grew up listening to her music since I was nine years old. I feel like she shaped me so much as a person."[50] Swift reacted to the release of Gray's debut album Kid Krow on her personal Instagram story, writing: "Obsessed with this whole album, but THIS SONG ["Wish You Were Sober"] RIGHT HERE is a masterpiece. Not trying to be loud but this will be on repeat for my whole life." Gray responded to Swift's statement in all caps: "Thank you for being my lifelong songwriting inspiration and icon. I honestly feel like you raised me both as a writer and a human and I cannot express in words how much the means to me. Thank you for everything. Swifty for life".[51] In an interview with Zane Lowe, for Apple Music, Gray stated that Swift is his "number one above all", and continued that "she's just my songwriting icon, and I'll never understand how she does what she does. She's just amazing". Gray also revealed that Swift messaged him and complimented Kid Krow.[52]

Gray has named Lorde as one of his other primary influences,[53][54][55] and has explained that his EP Sunset Season was majorly inspired by the small-town nostalgia of her debut album Pure Heroine.[9] He has also cited Dixie Chicks and Adele as some of his main musical influences,[56] as well as expressing a mutual[57] admiration for V of BTS,[58] and his friend Billie Eilish.[59]

Critical reception[edit]

Gray has been named as a "Gen Z vlogging sensation and venue-packing pop powerhouse" by Paper,[9] "the pop prince of sad internet teens" by Teen Vogue,[60] and "Gen Z's ascendant king of sad boy pop" by i-D.[10]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales

Kid Krow 5 26 60 49 5 20 94 32 11 30

Extended plays[edit]

Title EP details Peak chart positions


Sunset Season
  • Released: November 16, 2018
  • Label: Republic, UMG
  • Formats: CD, LP, DL, streaming
116 2 57


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album



"Idle Town" 2017 Sunset Season
"Grow" Non-album single
"Generation Why" 2018 Sunset Season
"Crush Culture"
"The Other Side" 2019 Non-album singles
"The King"
"Checkmate" Kid Krow
"Comfort Crowd"
"Maniac" 25 24
41 83 44 29
"The Story" 2020 43 34
"Wish You Were Sober" 14

Other charted songs[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album

"Affleunza" 2020 36 Kid Krow
"Heather" 28

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2019 Shorty Awards Best YouTube Musician Himself Won [25]
Streamy Awards Breakthrough Artist Nominated [26]
2020 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Push Act Pending [79]


Headlining tours[edit]

Supporting tours[edit]



  1. ^ Gray, Conan Lee. "ASCAP Ace Search". American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  2. ^ Conan Gray [@conangray] (October 26, 2018). "my middle name is "lee" so all i gotta do is name my child "fam"" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ a b Dean Stone, Russell (August 2, 2019). "Conan Gray". Notion. Retrieved December 28, 2019. The story starts back in Lemon Grove, San Diego, where Conan Gray was born on 5th December 1998.
  4. ^ a b "Total Subscribers & Video Views Gained For ConanXCanon (Annually)". Retrieved April 8, 2020 – via YouTube. (subscription required)
  5. ^ Gray, Conan (March 18, 2013), "50 Facts About Me !!!", YouTube, retrieved July 6, 2019
  6. ^ a b Conan Gray (June 12, 2016), Draw My Life ( For 100,000 ), retrieved July 6, 2019
  7. ^ "Conan Gray" – via YouTube.
  8. ^ a b Ohlheiser, Abby (June 25, 2018). "YouTube is new way to get famous; at VidCon, tweens want to be next in line". Washington Post. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Wetmore, Brendan (April 9, 2019). "Conan Gray Hits a Small Town Crescendo". PAPER. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Greenwood, Douglas (April 24, 2019). "conan gray is gen z's ascendant king of sad boy pop". i-D. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Wess, Mike (October 8, 2018). "One To Watch: Conan Gray Makes His Major Label Debut With "Generation Why"". idolator. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  12. ^ Andrew Powell, W. (November 15, 2018). "Watch: Conan Gray's 'Generation Why'". The Gate. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Heatseekers Albums Charts - December 1, 2018". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  14. ^ a b c "Conan Gray Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
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  19. ^ "Seven Performances That Defined The Great Escape 2019". Clash. May 14, 2019. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  20. ^ a b Ehrlich, Helen (February 18, 2019). "An Analysis of Conan Gray's "The Other Side" Re-Release". Affinity Magazine. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  21. ^ Gray, Conan (August 22, 2016), "The Other Side - Original Song", YouTube
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  24. ^ "Conan Gray releases new single "Maniac" today". Universal Music Group. October 25, 2019. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Conan Gray". Shorty Awards.
  26. ^ a b Jarvey, Natalie (October 16, 2019). "Lilly Singh, David Dobrik and Emma Chamberlain Earn Streamy Award Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  27. ^ Jones, Lexi (January 6, 2020). "Conan Gray Teases Fans With Clues About Debut Album". Grit Daily. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  28. ^ Gray, Conan (January 19, 2020). "Conan Gray on Instagram: "My debut album "Kid Krow" is coming out March 20th. The last song on the album "The Story" comes out everywhere tonight at midnight. I say…"". Retrieved January 9, 2020 – via Instagram.
  29. ^ Daw, Stephen (January 10, 2020). "Conan Gray's 'The Story': Listen". Billboard. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  30. ^ Damshenas, Sam (March 19, 2020). "Conan Gray releases massive pop anthem Wish You Were Sober". Gay Times. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  31. ^ "Top 40/M Future Releases". February 19, 2020. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  32. ^ conan gray [@conangray] (February 26, 2020). "'Maniac' is playing on [BBC Radio 1].. y'all we on radio :,))) Thank you for making it Tune of the Week" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  33. ^ Cantor, Brian (March 1, 2020). "Lauv's "Modern Loneliness," Conan Gray's "Maniac" Enter Top 50 At Pop Radio". Headline Planet. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  34. ^ a b "Maniac - Conan Gray". Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  35. ^ Cantor, Brian (February 18, 2020). "Sam Smith's "To Die For" Ranks As Pop Radio's Most Added Song". Headline Planet. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  36. ^ "RadioMonitor: Hot 100 Australia". The Music Network. Archived from the original on March 31, 2020. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
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  39. ^ Akingblade, Tobi (March 23, 2020). "Conan Gray releases debut album 'Kid Krow'". NME. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  40. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (March 30, 2020). "Conan Gray Debuts His First Album Inside The Top 10 And Kenny Rogers Returns Behind The Weeknd". Forbes. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  41. ^ Cantor, Brian (March 27, 2020). "Conan Gray's "Kid Krow" Debuts At #2 For US Sales, Top 5 For Total US Units". Headline Planet. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
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  43. ^ "Conan Gray Scheduled To Perform On March 16 "Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"". Headline Planet. March 9, 2020. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  44. ^ Shifferaw, Abel (January 3, 2020). "Here's the Full Coachella 2020 Lineup". Complex. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  45. ^ "Conan Gray on Instagram: "KID KROW WORLD TOUR IS COMING TO EUROPE. FIRST TIME PLAYING THE SONGS OFF MY DEBUT ALBUM. WITH GUEST @bulow . TIX ON SALE THIS FRIDAY 2/14…"". Retrieved February 14, 2020 – via Instagram.
  46. ^ McIntyre, Hugh (April 7, 2020). "Conan Gray, Doja Cat, Summer Walker And Alec Benjamin: Early Grammy Predictions For Best New Artist". Forbes. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  47. ^ McIntyre, Cal (April 8, 2020). "Apple Music Up Next April 2020: Conan Gray". Notion. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  48. ^ "Clairo Named Apple Music's 'Up Next' Artist". Billboard. August 21, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
  49. ^ "Conan Gray Guesses the Lyrics to Taylor Swift Songs | Lyric Challenge", YouTube, Seventeen, December 11, 2019, retrieved December 12, 2019
  50. ^ Mier, Tomás (January 10, 2020). "Conan Gray Says His Forthcoming Album Kid Krow Was Inspired by His 'Pretty Tough' Childhood". People. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
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  52. ^ "Conan Gray Talks Taylor Swift In Apple Music Interview". Billboard. April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
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  54. ^ "Conan Gray Wants To Marry Lorde | IT'S A MOOD". MTV Australia. YouTube. February 25, 2020. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
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  56. ^ "Conan Gray". Republic Records.
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  58. ^ Conan Gray [@conangray] (October 4, 2019). "I'M STUNNED @BTS_twt I LOVE Y'ALL can i be your backup singer" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  59. ^ Williams, Sophie (August 2, 2019). "Clairo, Billie Eilish, Omar Apollo: meet the Z-Pack". NME. Retrieved March 31, 2020. Note: Both artists have indicated each other as their "Z-Pack" pal
  60. ^ Bergado, Gabe (June 20, 2019). "Meet the Pop Prince Making Music for Sad Internet Teens Everywhere". Teen Vogue. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
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  70. ^ Caulfield, Keith (March 29, 2020). "The Weeknd's 'After Hours' Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart With Biggest Week of 2020". Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  71. ^ Masterton, James (March 27, 2020). "Charts analysis: The Weeknd romps to the top of the albums chart with After Hours". MusicWeek. Retrieved April 5, 2020.
  72. ^ "Conan Gray Chart History: Heatseeker Albums". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  73. ^ Peaks on UK Albums Download Chart:
  74. ^ "Conan Gray Chart History: Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles". Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  75. ^ Peaks on the Gaon Digital Singles Chart:
  76. ^ a b Peaks on the NZ Hot Singles Chart:
  77. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. April 6, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  78. ^ "Gold/Platinum: Conan Gray". Music Canada. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  79. ^ Alston, Trey (February 4, 2020). "If You Tell Conan Gray About Your Love Beefs, He'll Make A Song About Them". MTV News. Retrieved March 5, 2020.

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