Olly Murs has enjoyed monumental success since finishing as the runner-up in the sixth series of The X Factor in 2009.
Importantly, it has been sustained success.
How he has managed it is a difficult question to answer, admits Olly who takes in the 1st Central County Cricket Ground, Hove, on Sunday, July 16 on his summer tour.
“But I think the main thing is that I have managed to keep myself humble, keep myself down to earth.
“I think I have just managed to stay myself. I think people can relate to me. People can see that I am just a regular guy that has done well.
“I am just a normal guy who used to work in a call centre, and luckily it has just taken off for me.
“100 per cent the X Factor was the big chance for me. I was in the last-chance saloon. I was 25, and I just thought this was it. I was thinking if it doesn’t happen now… But there was something in my stomach saying this could be it.
“I just felt there was something, that it wasn’t my destiny to keep working in a call centre. I had this feeling that something else was going to happen.”
And then it went “crazy”, Olly says: “The hardest part I felt in the first two or three years, the most worrying that was that I didn’t want to alienate my friends and family.
“That was the most important thing. I wanted to be the same Olly to them. My friends have got normal jobs. Some are plumbers or work in offices. I didn’t want them to feel that I was different to them. I am still the same Olly to them. Obviously, people will recognise me, but the most important thing is to stay the same.
“It has been a struggle sometimes, but communicating and speaking to people has always been really important, and my mates have recognised there are certain places I can’t go, like a big shopping mall on a Saturday afternoon. I will just go on the Monday instead.”
Inevitably recognition has its downsides as well as positives.
“It was always part of doing what I do, and there are positives as well as negatives and I just feel incredibly lucky and privileged to be doing this.
“And I love what I do. It would be nice when I am drunk with my mates at a stag do or a party that there is not a camera around the corner. But these things happen, and I just have to be more aware of these situations. It is just a part of it all.
“But what I have always said is that with me, what you see is what you get. There is nothing under the surface. People know me and can see me as I am, for what I am. I don’t change. There is nothing different about me now.”
Adding to the fun, of course, is the current summer tour, with some great places lined up.
“There are a lot of lovely venues and places I have not been to before. I did a similar tour back in 2013. I don’t pick all the places because I don’t know the venues but I just said to my team that I wanted to go to places in the UK that I have not been to before. And it has been great.
“For me, it is just so much fun. You get to see just how beautiful this country is, especially when the weather is good. We are at a time of year when people just pop on planes, but it is fantastic to see how lovely this country is.
“When you are performing inside, obviously it is more intimate, but I love doing this. You see more families out, and when the weather is great, it is just so lovely.”
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