As a former contestant on The X Factor, Olly Murs knows better than most what it is like to perform on that famous stage. As a result, Murs became an inspired choice to present ITV2’s sister show The Xtra Factor this year where – alongside co-presenter Caroline Flack – he delivers irreverent humour, interviews the contestants and provides behind the scenes news. But let’s not forget the reason he appeared on The X Factor in the first place – to make himself a music star. Originally a runner up on the show, he today releases his second album “In Case You Didn’t Know” which has already produced chart topping single “Heart Skips A Beat” (with Rizzle Kicks) and “Dance With Me Tonight” which just missed out on the top spot. We caught up with the double platinum selling Essex lad to discuss his album hopes, single life and crazy fans.
Describe your music in five words
Feel good, cheeky, easy listening
What makes your heart skip a beat?
Seeing a hot girl naked. That makes my heart skip a beat.
For your new album you’ve co-written a lot of your tracks – how was that?
I wrote 10 of the 12 on the first album [the self titled “Olly Murs” released November last year] so that was already under my belt. It was great to get lyrics and stories down and find hits – and I’ve been lucky enough to find a few already on this second album.
How do you feel you’ve developed as an artist over the last year?
I’m just more experienced. Before I did The X Factor I had no experience at all so I’ve really learnt a lot over the last two years and really got to grips with the industry and what I want to do musically. With the writing sessions I got my head down and concentrated on what I want to do and have got my music going in the direction I want it to.
In terms of your career, will the music always come first or do you see yourself as a TV presenter now?
I’m an entertainer and a singer and that’s my main job. I’ve delved into new things – TV presenting – but music is what I want to be taken seriously for.
Did you have concerns that the TV presenting could detract from your music?
Definitely but I think the proof is in the pudding, really. I’ve had success with the singles from the second album and I’ve got to express my personality [on the show]. I think people are liking the show and liking me and hopefully they like the music. So it’s a good balance.
Caroline has been under personal attack – receiving death threats on twitter – from One Direction fans incensed by tabloid speculation that she is dating band member Harry Styles – but which member of One Direction are you dating?
[laughs] They are boys! I’m a woman’s man. I like women.
In seriousness though, how do you feel about Caroline receiving death threats? Are you protective of her?
Caroline is one of my best friends. I always say what goes on behind closed doors is her business and no one elses. We work very closely together and, you know, she’s had a tough time of it lately but obviously the papers will write what they want to write and people don’t know the full story but people tend to believe what they read in the papers.
According to the tabloids last week you have apparently been giving Harry advice on how to woo Caroline – do you want those death threats to be followed out so you can be the sole presenter of The Xtra Factor?
Not at all! Caroline and I get on really well and the show is going really well so it’s all great. Again, it’s a story that was pretty much put together. I said Harry was ping-ing me saying he really fancied Caroline and that was all, but they’ve made it out that I set the guys up which is a load of rubbish.
Have you had any crazy fan experiences?
I’ve had a car chase through Manchester where some fans were chasing me in a car when I was with my parents in a taxi and there was this one experience when a girl walked into my room as I opened it and she sat on my bed and I was like “what are you doing?” and she said that it was her room. But it clearly wasn’t because I’d just opened the door with my key. That was quite weird. But my fans are not that crazy. They are great.
Are you are still single?
Yes. But it’s fine. My career comes first and I’m not hooked up on getting a girlfriend at the moment and I’m happy with how things are going musically and on TV.
Would you want to date a fellow celebrity?
You never know. Obviously the benefits if you meet someone in this industry are that they know roughly what you’re going through and the pressures you go through. But if you meet someone not from the industry then there is a benefit there too as you can keep it much more private. There is a catch 22, really.
Who would you rather Snog, Marry or Avoid between your co-host Caroline and X Factor judges Kelly Rowland and Tulisa?
I would avoid Tulisa because of Dappy and Fazer – I’d be scared of them. I would marry Caroline because we get on so well and I would definitely snog Kelly.
With your duties as an Xtra Factor presenter and with promotional work with your album, are you finding any free time currently?
It is literally work every day – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’d rather be busy than quiet. I’ve really worked hard this year from January and I have a busy 2012 lined up as well but I have a few weeks off coming up which will be nice as I’ve been working as hard as I can.
In Case You Didn’t Know by Olly Murs is out today on Epic/Sony Music. Murs will be on tour in 2012 and ticket details can be found at ollymurs.com
Interview: Seamus Duff