“It was important to come back with a feelgood vibe. I wanted more fun songs…” - hmv.com talks to Olly Murs
Next year it will be 10 years since we witnessed the rise of Olly Murs on The X-Factor and in that time he’s managed to pack a lot in.
This week he unveils You Know I Know, his sixth full-length effort. The album includes new single 'Moves', a collaboration with Snoop Dogg, as well as a duet with Shaggy and a track written with Ed Sheeran.
As well as the new album, which includes 12 brand new tracks, the LP will be released with a bonus disc of Murs' Greatest Hits, including his four Number One singles.
We spoke to the singer about why he wanted this new LP to be a happy one and why he’s combining the new album with a ‘Greatest Hits’...
When did you start putting the songs together for this album?
“We wrote ‘You Know I Know’ last summer and that’s when it all got serious. We started in earnest in January and we were done by April time.”
How many songs did you have in contention this time? In the past, you’ve had 60 or 70 tracks to whittle down for the album?
“It was about 40 this time. I didn’t want to be too picky this time and didn’t waste any sessions. I know where I’m going with writers and how I work with them, so I just wanted to make sure we had enough.”
You’ve got tracks with Steve Mac, Ed Sheeran, Wayne Hector, writers you’ve worked with throughout your career. Was it important to go with who you knew this time?
“I’ve been working with these writers for a long, long time now and they know me. We’ve got a really good understanding, they know my vibe and my style. That helps me be really open, there are no barriers to break down.”
Did you have a goal of how you wanted this record to move on from 24 Hours?
“I wanted it to be a fun album. I didn’t want it to be too emotional. None of the songs on the album are personal to me. It was important to come back with a feelgood vibe. I wanted more fun songs.”
Was that a reaction to 24 Hours? That was billed as a break-up album...
“No, it’s just circumstances. I’m in a very different place now. I’m happier now. I’m enjoying the single life and this is a representation of that. The next one might be different. I love 24 Hours. It’s one of my best albums, but you’ve got to move on.”
Are there any sadder moments?
“There are a couple of sad ones. There’s ‘Talking To Myself’, that was inspired by mental health and the idea that we only talk to ourselves about some of our problems, when we really need to talk to someone. I’m not avoiding anything. But happy, joyful music made me who I am and I wanted more energy.”
You’ve got Shaggy and Snoop Dogg on the album. As someone who grew up loving pop music in the 2000s, that must be quite something for you…
“It’s amazing. Shaggy was a guy I used to do impressions of in karaoke bars. He was brilliant, so accommodating, it’s an honour to have him. Snoop is such an iconic figure. It’s a strange idea, me and Snoop together, but it works. The song is him doing what he does best.”
When did you decide on the album title?
“My manager came to me and suggested it. The ‘You Know’ side of the album is the ‘Greatest Hits’ and the ‘I Know’ is the new songs. I didn’t want to do a hits album. I think it’s a bit naff and cheesy, this is a much cooler way of doing it. It was in my record contract to do it and this was the way I wanted to go about it.”
Why did you decide you wanted to add in the ‘Greatest Hits’ element to this new album? Why not just put out the compilation on its own?
“I didn’t want it to be a throwaway thing. 10 things in this industry is a big moment for me. I’m really proud of those songs. I didn’t want to release it and not do anything to mark it.”
How’s your live set coming together? You’ve got a lot of songs now...
“That’s going to be interesting. You know when you’ve made it when you’re trying to leave hit singles out of the set. There are 10 or so songs that just have to go in. I remember my first tour, I barely had any songs, I was filling them with all kinds just to get through the gig!”
Finally, how are your plans outside the UK going? Will you be heading overseas much?
“It’s still being planned at the moment. We’ll see how the record does. If the demand’s there, I’ll be there…”