“This album isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon...” - hmv.com talks to Olly Murs
It was only 2009 when he first turned up on The X-Factor, but Olly Murs’ relentless work ethic means that he’s already onto his fifth album, an album titled 24 HRs which hits stores today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page). The album contains Murs' megahit single 'You Don't Know Love' as well as new single 'Grow Up' and has partly been inspired by his split from longterm girlfriend Francesca Thomas.
We spoke to him about making the album, why he wanted this LP to have more substance and why X-Factor left him struggling to keep focus on his music career...
How did you want this album to move on from Never Been Better?
“I wanted to connect with the fans more. Never Been Better was great, it went really well, but I felt like the album didn’t connect with my fans as much. I wanted to do something that was really honest and really personal, to give the fans something to get their teeth into, this album is that album. You’ll get to know me as a person a lot more on this album.”
It’s been billed as a break-up record, but that’s probably too straightforward right?
“It really isn’t that. There is elements of the break-up in there, but it’s so much more than that. I’ve put my heart and soul into every track on this album and it’s not just about being sad, there’s plenty of feelgood tracks on there too. This album isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, there are many different layers to this album.”
You’ve worked with a few of the writers you’ve done tracks with before, guys like Wayne Hector and Steve Robson, but there are some new faces on this album too…
“Yeah there are, I worked with Camille Purcell who did Little Mix’s ‘Black Magic’, Chelcee Grimes, a lot more with Steve Mac, I wrote with MNEK too. It was a really exciting process this time, but it’s still my vibe, a lot more personal.”
You must be more experienced at putting together these sessions and knowing what you want?
“I think so. I like to be adventurous though, I do go back to the people who know me, but I always want to work with new people, you never know what you’re going to get, it’s like Forrest Gump said about that box of chocolates.”
“I do think that this time the strongest songs have been the ones I’ve written with the people who know me best. This album needed to be better than the last one, this album really needed to have more substance.”
When did you settle on the title of 24 HRs?
“I really struggled with this one, I had no idea what to call it. 24Hrs really popped out of nowhere, we had the song and I knew it would be on the album, but I wanted there to be more to it than that. For me it’s about how we all have good days and bad days, live everyday like it’s your last, especially with all the stuff that’s going on in the world at the moment, try and smile and love each other. I remember the 24 hours when I broke up with my girlfriend and it was like an out of body experience, I had no idea whether to be happy or down, it was an odd day.”
Does that feed into the look you’ve gone for with the album cover? It’s sort of depicting an out of body experience…
“It is a bit like that. Breaking up was a weird moment for me, nothing felt real, everything changed after that 24 hours and I was in a different place. I wanted the cover to relate to that. We had a lot of ideas for it, a lot of sunsets were considered, but this was the best idea.”
You’re taking the album out for an arena tour next year, you must be looking forward to getting back out there?
“I’ve seen the set designs for the arenas and it’s unbelievable. I’m so hyped to see all the fans again next year and to play the new tunes.”
Are you still ambitious to crack America and the rest of the world?
“Of course, but you’ve got to do it at the right time with the right song, not every song will work right across the world. I’ve done it before and I want to do it again, but my focus is on the UK and Europe at the moment, but I’d love to take it around the world.”
Finally, obviously you presented The X-Factor last year, is presenting still on the agenda for you in the future?
“I’m focused on my music at the moment, I’m not looking at anything else, but you never know what’s round the corner and I’m not ruling anything out. Presenting was a great thing and I loved doing it, but when I did The X-Factor I really did feel like I couldn’t focus on that and my music. The reason I did X-Factor in the first place was because I love singing and performing and I don’t want that to suffer while I’m promoting this album.”