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Conan Gray Finds ‘Freedom’ in Recognizing He’s Hurt on ‘Winner’

“You have the nerve to miss me,” he sings. “How do I somehow feel guilty?”

Conan Gray is waving a white flag. On Friday, the pop singer released his heart-wrenching track “Winner” about admitting that he’s lost — and that he’s hurt.

“I wrote this song at 2 a.m. — everything at the piano just spilled out all at once,” he said in a statement. “It was a moment where I finally felt like, ‘Fine. Great job. You did it. You hurt me more than anybody ever could hurt me.’ And it oddly felt nice.”

“I see now that there is a certain freedom that comes from recognizing that you’ve been hurt,” he added. “In no longer running, and just facing the fact that ‘You win. You hurt me.’ I hope this song helps people find a little piece of that freedom.”

The beginning of the song touches on the singer’s home life and leaving home’s “pots and pans and roaches” before diving into the pain he experienced with a supposed love interest: “My heart that once was beating/Bleeding in the palm of your hand/Yet you have the nerve to miss me/How do I somehow feel guilty?”

Gray debuted the song while performing at Outside Lands earlier this year. He’s also been sharing clips of the song on TikTok, where he told fans to allow others to interpret the song’s lyrics in their own way.

“Although I think it’s sweet you’re trying to defend me, I’m here to say on record that I couldn’t care less… I don’t care if my song means something different to me than when I wrote it,” he said on the platform.


He tapped Greg Kurstin to produce the single. The song follows the release of “Never Ending Song,” which he released in May.

Both “Never Ending Song” and “Winner” are the first taste of new music from Gary since dropping LP Superache last summer. “Writing this album was miserable, and that’s why it ended up being a super-accurate depiction of my life,” he told Rolling Stone about the album that featured songs like “People Watching,” “Astronomy,” and “Memories.” “It felt like scraping my ribs of any last bits of meat.”

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