Olly Murs: 'I'd hate to see The X Factor end'

By Lucy Todd
BBC Music reporter

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Murs says he's never considered quitting social media - despite negative comments and "constant pressure"

Olly Murs says he's always been a "geeky kind of guy".

The video to the pop prince's latest single, Moves, sees him - dressed in specs and a tank top - talk his way into a club by pretending to know Snoop Dogg.

This may, in fact, be a moment of art imitating life since the Essex singer says he's never met the rapper - despite him featuring on the single.

"He's a busy man," the 34-year-old shrugs.

"I can't ever imagine Snoop inviting me to a party of his. But, I mean, if he ever wants to, I'm sure I'll go," he quickly adds.

It feels like the platinum-selling artist's inner geek has come to the fore.

Image caption,
Olly says getting Snoop on the single "dented my bank balance"

"Back when I was a teenager and when I was 21, I was like the least cool person," he says, admitting he likes nothing better than a good Netflix binge-watch.

"I've always been me, I've never been someone that follows the crowd. I've always done what I wanted to do, not what everyone else wants me to do.

"I think that's what geeks are, aren't they? Geeks are people who are actually just their own person, they're not trying to be someone that they're not."

Figure caption,
Warning: Third party content may contain adverts

Murs has been trying not to follow others since breaking on to the scene via The X Factor nine years ago.

Despite coming runner-up to Joe McElderry in 2009, he has since become one of the most successful acts in the show's history - equalling One Direction for the most number one albums, according to the Official Charts Company.

This year's instalment of Simon Cowell's annual singing competition has had its fair share of problems - with plummeting ratings; sound issues meaning voting had to be cancelled for the first time in 15 years; and former winner Ben Haenow telling the BBC the show "has run its course".

Murs disagrees, however: "I'd hate to see a show like The X Factor not be on TV any more, because it's still one of the best.

'Cowell is a great guy'

"It's about finding talent and giving [people] a chance to have a career in music and that's still got to be the goal of what we're all trying to achieve," he says.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Olly came second to Joe McElderry in 2009's X Factor

"I came from that show and I'd hate to see that be taken away - because that's a dream taken away from another young lad, young girl or group out there that won't be given that opportunity."

Reports that Olly and Cowell have had a falling out over his defection to The Voice as a coach are inaccurate, says the star, who performed on Sunday's X Factor results show.

"We had a good chat over the summer. He's a great guy and there was a potential maybe that I was going to do X Factor this year, but it [didn't] happen and we're good friends.

"We've got nothing but respect for each other. And I've got nothing but respect for what he's given me in my career," adds the Troublemaker singer.

'Constant pressure'

Murs's sixth album You Know I Know was released on Friday - featuring two discs: one of hits that, erm... you know, and the other disc with new material that only Murs knows. For now, at least.

Moves has a signature Ed Sheeran quality to it - which makes sense, when you learn The Shape of You star co-wrote it - mixed with Murs's trademark upbeat bounce.

The infectious Liam Payne-esque Take Your Love was also co-written by Murs and appears to make reference to the singer's life in the limelight.

"Everybody knows your business in this town, but you can't help it..." run the track's lyrics.

Murs, who is currently single, has previously said he finds dating difficult because of his fame, and says he feels under "constant pressure" from media scrutiny.

"You get it all the time, we're in the public eye so we're always open to it, annoyingly.

"It's never easy because if you're in a relationship, the media are always going to try and make up stories and try and find information out - or they sometimes write lies about you.

"But it's about just staying strong as the person you are and trying to not let it affect you - but it is difficult. It's not easy," he concedes.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Murs disputes that he and Simon Cowell are not on speaking terms and says the pair are friends

The singer, a regular feature of tabloid articles, says he tries not to respond to fake stories written about him and says he hopes his loved ones also know better than to believe them.

"If some of my friends and family would believe that sort of story then that's their own fault," he says frankly. "They should know to speak to me first or ask me about it."

Murs calls press intrusion "part and parcel" of life, saying resignedly: "It doesn't matter what I say or what I do because everyone has their own opinion - that's the whole world we live in now: that's 2018.

"You have an opinion, you're on Twitter, you can say what you want."

Selfridges: 'You weren't there'

Murs addresses the particular criticism he received after tweeting there were gunshots at the central London department store, Selfridges, while Oxford Street tube station was in lockdown.

Piers Morgan was among those to chastise the singer on the platform, saying Murs "stirred extra needless panic by tweeting false information".

The star, who has 7.5 million followers on Twitter, is robust in his response: "People can tweet and say what they want but you weren't there. If you're not there, you don't know the situation.

"You can have an opinion if you were there, but you weren't. Yes, I tweeted something that was wrong - but what if it was right? I didn't know at the time.

"I was being fed information by a senior member of Selfridges that there was something happening on the floor. There were potential gunshots, so I [was] only giving people what I heard.

"Luckily everyone's safe and everyone's out of the building and nothing happened. That's the most important thing."

Image source, ITV Pictures
Image caption,
Olly will join Sir Tom Jones, Jennifer Hudson and will.i.am as a coach on 2019's The Voice

Olly returns to coaching duties for a second year on ITV's The Voice early in 2019 and says he is looking forwards to mentoring more acts.

"We just want to give them some advice and help them use this amazing platform in front of millions of people to elevate their own careers. And once the show finishes it's really up to them.

"Me and Jennifer (Hudson) both came off these reality shows, but we weren't babysat every day. Someone didn't hold our hands and say 'Right, this is what you need to do!'

"We finished the show and then we had the drive and the determination and the ambition to go on and be a success and that's what we say to all our contestants: keep your feet on the ground, enjoy this experience and this is just the first step of many in your career. So enjoy!"

And you know, of all people, I think he knows.

Olly Murs's sixth album You Know I Know is available now.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.