Festival is Right Place Right Time for Olly

Olly on stage at Lytham Proms in 2012
Olly on stage at Lytham Proms in 2012

A ‘day off’ in Olly Murs’ world isn’t quite what most of us would expect.

He’s taking time out at his mum’s house in Essex, but is still on the promotional trail for his summer gigs–which include a headline slot and a return trip to Lytham Festival.

Olly Murs

Olly Murs

Despite press coverage of family feuds – his twin brother Ben has disowned the family taking his wife’s surname after a seven-year rift which started when Olly was unable to attend his brother’s wedding due to it clashing with The X Factor semi-final – it’s clear family holds a very special place in Olly’s heart and he remains close to his parents.

“Mum’s intrigued by this side of it,” he says of the media circus which comes with pop and reality TV fame. “But they love it.

“For them, my job is so different. When I first started they were gobsmacked by it all.

“Even my mates now, if they spend a day with me, they thought it was just a case of turning up and doing a gig, but there’s so much more involved.

‘It’s a beautiful setting, I’m looking forward to doing it again’

“It’s nice for them to see that I’ve a ‘job’, the interviews and things – that’s the ‘work’ side of it.

“On stage, performing, that is the fun and I love it.

“I never have looked at performing on stage as a job, it’s just something I like to do, to entertain people.”

Olly’s nephew is a big fan too – and is just getting to grips with his uncle’s fame.

Ollie is looking forward to meeting his fans again in Lytham

Ollie is looking forward to meeting his fans again in Lytham

“My nephew comes and sees me before a show and we hang out, play Fifa or have dinner, then 20 minutes later I’m on stage in front of 20 thousand people.

“But to him I’m just Uncle Olly.”

And while there’s no change in the rift between Olly and his twin Ben, he’s hopeful that one day there will be a resolution to the row and the family will be reunited.

“There’s no real news on that, we are doing our own thing,” Olly said. “These things are best kept where they are.

Olly Murs

Olly Murs

“Too much has been written about it, but I’m sure one day we’ll figure it out.”

Olly is one of a very small number of acts to have a second appearance at Lytham Festival, or Proms as it was known until 2015, under his belt.

He played the Lytham Green arena back in 2012, when both his career and the festival were very much in their formative years.

This year he’s back to play the opening night on the Green, on Wednesday, August 2, with special guest, The X Factor 2015 winner Louisa Johnson.

“I can’t believe it’s been five years,” he said. “That’s mad.

“I remember it as a great show, and being in a limo driven in and out of the venue which is quite a bizarre memory.

“It’s a beautiful setting too, I’m looking forward to doing it again.”

And while Lytham has any number of restaurants and bars to choose from, for Essex lad Olly, it’s the simple pleasures that he’s after: “Where’s the best chippy?”, he asks.

“There’s got to be a Mr Cod or something there, I can’t wait.”

Olly’s journey to pop stardom began back in 2009 when he finished the 2009 series of The X Factor as runner up to Joe McElderry.

“I feel so lucky,” he says of his rise to fame. “Every year, I look back and think it’s amazing, I get another chance to do an album and do amazing things.

“My friends say ‘it’s not luck, you’re talented’, but a lot of it is down to luck more than talent.

“You do just need that luck and people seem to like my music and what I have been doing after The X Factor.

“I have always said if it ends tomorrow I have had a great time singing and dancing for a living.

“There’s no better feeling that making people smile, singing and dancing and seeing thousands of people having a good time.”

Since The X Factor, Olly’s released a string of chart-topping albums and singles, and has also turned his hand to TV presenting.

Although his stint on X factor alongside Caroline Flack in 2015 was marred by criticism of on air mistakes, it’s not put him off.

“They’ve all gone to number one – apart from the first,” he said, of his five album releases. “Unfortunately [with the first], I got beaten by Take That releasing the album with all five members back which was one of the biggest albums at the time, so I’ll accept that.”

“I love presenting,” the 33-year-old said, laughing in acceptance of the X Factor problems. “X Factor was an amazing experience, goods and bads, but I learned so much. I haven’t done TV since but was do you do after working on the biggest show on TV?

“I would love to do more TV, and I have a great relationship with ITV and they know I want to do that again.”

After an almost non-stop schedule for more than six years with writing, recording, touring and TV, what’s next for Olly?

Unfortunately for fans, there are no fixed plans in the diary for time in the studio or his next music release – a situation he’s more than happy with.

“This year was always about seeing fans, travelling round the country, singing live again and having a good time,” Olly explained.

“I’m not sure what the plans are for the rest of the year, as I didn’t want to plan anything – I wanted to see how I felt.

“Every Christmas since 2009 I have done so much work, that it’s nice to not have plans and just see what happens.

“I’m really easy – not in a naughty way,” he added, with a naughty chuckle. “In the next year or so, I’m open to see what happens.

“It’s good to have options and I want to weigh it all up, see what I want to do.

“I have earned the right to make my own decisions, I have reached that point where I can say I want to do this, or this, or this.”

One thing seems certain, a more upbeat album than 2016 release 24 Hrs, which came out in November, and a return to the happy-go-lucky summer sounds which are Olly’s trademark – and which will be making an appearance at Lytham.

“My music is a reflection of my personality, how I feel that particular day in the studio,” he said. “So I can be having a bad day and write that kind of song, but 99.9 per cent are happy feel good records, but as an artist you want people to see that side of your personality.

“The last album was influenced by breaking up with my ex, and that changed things, but generally I’m all about being upbeat and happy.”

So, Lytham, bring a good chippy tea and smiling faces to make the show go with a bang!

Your chance to meet star Olly Murs!

We have two fantastic tickets to meet and greet pop superstar Olly Murs ahead of his headline Lytham Festival performance on August 2!

It’s easy to enter, all you need to do is collect the coupons which will be in The Gazette each day from Monday to Friday next week.

Send them into us and we will pick the winner at random.

Send to Olly Murs competition, Avroe House, Avroe Crescent, Blackpool Business Park, Blackpool, FY4 2DP, including your name and a contact number.

All entries to be received by 2pm on Wednesday July 26.

Normal Gazette competition rules apply.