Affable chappie Olly started out working as a recruitment consultant in his home town of Witham, England
By night, the Essex lad would perform in a covers band, Small Town Blaggers. But then his decision to have a shot at winning The X Factor in 2009 turned Olly into one of Britain’s top stars.
Chatting with the Sunday World this week on a tour of the U.S. to promote his latest album, aptly titled Never Been Better, the singer, songwriter and sensational performer admits he still can’t believe his good fortune.
Murs, who will play five arena shows in Ireland next month, says: “I can’t complain, it’s been an amazing five years. Everything has gone really well for me, so I’m delighted. I never dreamt that one day I’d be here in America doing all the big TV shows.
“I always wanted to be a success in the U.K., but I didn’t have America in my sights. Then I got the opportunity to come and have a career here. My single, Troublemaker, did really well and now I’m building on that success with my new album.”
Coming from obscurity to being one of the most famous people in the U.K., how has he handled the stardom? “I’ve loved every minute of the last five or six years,” he insists.
“As for all the attention I get when I’m out and about in public, it’s actually fine. At times, of course, it can be a bit of hassle but nothing that I can’t cope with. No one is ever mean or horrible.
“The only time it can be a bit of a hassle is at one or two in the morning when people have a few drinks, but that’s part and parcel of being in the public eye.”
Murs has stayed closed to his childhood pals and is all loved up with girlfriend Francesca Thomas. “I try to live my life as normal as I possibly can,” he says. “The last five years have been a whirlwind, but obviously I had a life before this working in a normal job, so that has helped me to stay grounded.
“I would certainly recommend having some experience of life before getting involved in this crazy business, but everyone is different. The One Direction guys came in at a very young age and they are just as normal as me.
“It’s a tough job, you have to be a strong personality. It’s a lot of hard work, but I’ve always been hard working since I was a kid doing a newspaper round, delivering the morning papers.”
A natural performer full of easy charm and good humour, Murs, who played the Childline concert in Dublin last November, is looking forward to his 3Arena and Odyssey Arena concerts.
“I love it there because of the reaction I get from the crowds,” he says. “I remember Aviva Stadium was a pretty special night opening for Robbie (Williams) on his 2013 tour.
"It was the start of the tour, so it was a bit nerve-wracking for me. The weather was miserable, the crowd was wet and it took me a while to get them warmed up, but in the end it was a pretty special show.”
Olly admits that winning over a crowd in difficult circumstances gives him a buzz. “I’m an old school entertainer,” he says. “So I’m always trying to get people on side to have a good night by creating a good vibe and getting people rocking.”
The performer is in top shape for the tour. “I’ve been working out,” he says. “It’s going to be a big show with a big band I can’t wait to get started.”
OLLY Murs plays the 3Arena on April 10, 11 & 12, following Belfast’s Odyssey Arena on April 7 & 8.