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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

If one great thing came out of those quarantine days back in 2020 for me, it’s discovering an absolutely amazing and in my view underrated, 22-year-old indie-pop artist named Conan Gray. At first, I thought, “maybe this is just a phase” just like the celebrity “obsessions” I had as a young teenager in high school. However, it’s been over a year since he’s been my role model, so of course, he is more than just a temporary obsession. Moreover, as a young adult in university compared to early high school, I feel that the way I value this fan-artist relationship is certainly different and more meaningful now that I am older and more mature, with my own dreams and aspirations ahead of me. I am able to have a balance between my own fun moments of obsession while still seeing him as a human being with his own flaws and struggles.

You see, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on this topic lately, and in many ways, I think “stan culture”, defined as an online phenomenon in which communities engage in overly enthusiastic support of a favourite celebrity online” can be a very positive thing in one’s life, if done with balance and with a good heart. For me, discovering Conan has definitely been one of the most heartwarming and life-changing things that have happened to me so far. I have not only found music I genuinely resonate with but also amazing friends along the way, whether that be friends I already knew in person or new friends through the internet community.

Without further ado let me share with you all the reasons I am absolutely obsessed with him and am a proud CONE-HEAD (the name for Conan Gray fans), forever and always.

photo of Conan Gray performing onstage at Lollapalooza 2019
Kristin Ishaya
  1. His Upbringing and Resilience

Conan didn’t have an easy childhood believe it or not, despite his successful career today with a multi-million following. In fact, he suffered from financial difficulties, evictions, and loneliness growing up in small-town Texas. In a “Draw My Life” YouTube video he made when he was in high school, he visually shows us all the hurdles he had to go through from family issues to loneliness to bullying. He never thought he would make it out of Texas, let alone make it past age twelve, but looking at his success today with a massive fanbase who all care about his stories and music, we can most certainly give a round of applause to how far he has come. His story is so admirable, as he is right: most small-town kids like where he came from don’t have big exciting careers and this much fame, but he was one of the lucky fishes in the pond who made it through his hard work.

  1. He is a King of Making Relatable and Emotional Indie Pop Tunes

Next, let’s talk about his music, more specifically his two albums Sunset Season (2018), Kid Krow (2020), and other singles like The King (2019), People-Watching (2021), and Astronomy (2021) Both of them contain such beautiful songs and really takes the audience into Conan’s world, where he often articulates feelings that are confusing and hard-to-put-in-words into his art.

Speaking of his songs, his new single Telepath came out on October 29th, 2021 so be sure to listen to that!! After a month of teasing the same snippet over and over again on Tik Tok, it’s time we cone-heads finally get to hear it.

  1. His Down-To-Earth Personality

He is incredibly kind, thoughtful, and generous along with being talented and beautiful. When you have all those traits combined in a person, it’s amazing the positive influence they can have on this world. As someone who has experienced and experiences trust issues and learning to not see the world in a harsh way, as if it’s out to get me, Conan’s calming presence really helped with that. He is so genuine and kind himself, and invites us listeners to see the detailed and darker parts of his life. Because of the steps he has taken to trust us, that has lead me to return that trust and know that as much bad there is in this world, there is also the good blossoming, with Conan certainly being one of them. Genuinely, I started becoming and wanting to become a more accepting person myself because of how he sets such a great example. In one tweet last year in 2020, he expressed how he was frustrated with the whole “new stan and old stan” drama that fans made because he thinks that everyone is welcome in this space. He does not care whether we have known him for year’s or just found out about him today. He wants us to know that everyone is loved equally, and that is honestly the most beautiful thing a human can do: love everyone regardless of who they are, their backgrounds, and struggles they have faced.

  1. He Has an Immaculate Sense of Style

I am proud to say that because of the many fashion photo dumps Conan has posted on Instagram, I too have found myself wearing more of those long blue pants, vintage style clothes, and indie style clothing. I mean, C’MON, just look at his array of clothing from his Instagram collections and old YouTube video clothing hauls. You are bound to be inspired to dress more freely, more uniquely, and more colourfully like him. Let’s not forget about his SUPER stylish curly hair too!

  1. His Tight Relationships with His Fans

His relationships with fans are what touch me the most. At concerts and concert meet-n-greets, he has always been the artist who wants to hug their fans. He’s always friendly around them and often jokes in a serious way about how he sees his fans as friends since we all know his stories handed down to us through his lyrical keepsakes. He still keeps in touch with a group of his first-ever fans back from his Sunset Season Era, and constantly seeks us out on social media, showing just how invested he is in us. After all, he does attribute his success and getting out of countryside life to big city life to us, which is so thoughtful. He never forgets to put his fans at the forefront of his success.

  1. The Wonderful Community He Has Led Me To

I met some of my really close friends through Conan. The stan community overall is so supportive, sweet, and genuine, just like Conan. He really attracted all the artistic, thoughtful, and down-to-earth ones to come together, and I find that with many of my friend fans, I can open up about personal things and talk for hours about not just Conan, but life, social justice, major world issues, and our big dreams and aspirations.

  1. He is Multi-Talented and Can Do Literally Anything, Seriously

Music, drawing, athletics, filming, cooking, creating aesthetic content, noodle dancing, cracking the best jokes, and having deep and inspirational conversations, name it all. He can do anything on top of being such a down-to-earth person.

Overall, Conan is someone I truly aspire to meet and he has brought so much joy to my life in the past year. I don’t see him as another one of those random celebrities on the internet, because of how much I got to know him over time, through his songs, the fandom, and snippets of his life he shares. I see him as a friend from afar, a long-lost friend, the friend I never had but needed growing up. After all, he sees us, listeners, as already friends, so I’m going to do the same for him, seeing him as a friend to believe in, especially when times get tough <3

HC Queen's U contributor