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Liz Nicholls

The X Factor

We catch up with singer-songwriter Olly Murs, about life and music after The X Factor

Q: Your new album – 24 Hrs – is your fourth consecutive number 1. How does that feel?!
“Amazing! I’m very proud – I never expected in my wildest dreams I would’ve got this far… so, absolutely delighted.”

Q. Who were your early musical influences?
“I grew up listening to soul and ska as well as Brit Pop. So Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Prince, James Brown, Bowie, The Specials, Madness… I also looked up to people like [Michael] Bublé, Robbie Williams and Justin Timberlake for their musical careers and their longevity.

Q. Is there a song that never fails to cheer you up?
“Go-to cheerful tunes… too many to mention! But Chic’s Good Times never fails to cheer me up.”

Q. What about your favourite film? And book?
The Goonies – classic! But I’m a massive Star Wars fan so I’d say any Star Wars film. I don’t have a favourite book – but I love a good biography. Sir Alex Ferguson’s was brilliant.”

Q: You’re the most successful male artist ever to come from the X Factor – what do you reckon has been the secret of your success?
“I dunno, I’d like to think I’ve done some great songs. My previous albums are happy and people enjoy listening to them. This album is still happy, still got lots of that vibe on it, but it’s probably the most heartbreaking, most honest I’ve done. It’s just luck, you know, that people like me and people have bought my albums and I’m very lucky they do!”

Q: You’re undertaking a massive UK headline arena tour this month and a huge run of outdoor shows – how do they vary?
“It’s fun being outside; I’ve done racecourse gigs but not this sort of size. It gives me the chance to go to different places in the UK I haven’t been to before, do something slightly different. I can’t wait – I mean, I can go to the racecourse during the day, have a little flutter on a couple of the races and then do a gig in the evening. Perfect. You’ve got out there and put a few bets on – the only problem for me at the races is not drinking too much! A couple of sly beers, maybe…”

Q: Have you got a pre-stage ritual?
“Me and the band have a little huddle before the show and we sing a song we’ve got as a team and we’ve been doing for the last six or seven years. I’m sure we’ll be sinking a few shots before the show as well just to get into the racecourse spirit!”

Q: How do you choose your set list?
“It’s going to be difficult, you know, five albums. But you’ve just got to play the hits and the songs people know. That’s what I’ll do with the set – make it as entertaining as possible. I’ll throw in a few covers as well, have a bit of a laugh with the fans and it’ll be a really fun day out. I promise any fan that comes along, it’ll be a right laugh from the start of the day to the end of it and I promise to make sure everyone goes home happy having had a good time!”