On Olly Murs second album, In Case You Didn't Know, you’ll find ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll references, you’ll hear ballads that take a sharp turn into euphoric pop sing-alongs, you’ll even have your heart broken.
“You can always grow as an artist,” explains Olly of the reasons behind progressing away from the reggae-tinged grooves of his debut. “Every album should be better than the one before it. I needed to work harder, test the boundaries and do something different. Any song that sounded similar to my debut was rejected, because there was no progression there for me.”
Olly’s had a more hands-on approach to co-writing this album than before, helping to pen every song bar its chart-topping first single ‘Heart Skips A Beat’. He insists that it’s been easier to change his approach by working with the same writing teams that helped out first time round – Steve Robson & Claude Kelly; Martin Brammer & Adam Argyle; Matthew Prime & Karen Poole and Sam Preston & Mark Taylor. “They’re writers who know what I’m like and what I’m capable of,” Olly reasons. “I don’t understand British artists who go off to America to work with writers there, as soon as they’ve had success with British writers. Why would you change so dramatically? I can change my style more naturally and more confidently with the same team around me over here.”
Olly is one of the few male solo singers to have enjoyed huge success from a reality TV show background, which he attributes to a number of factors. “You have to have ambition, talent and a business mind for where you want to go,” he reasons. “You can have all the talent in the world, but if you’re not going to work hard at it, it’ll never come to you. “People relate to me, and I try to make songs that make people smile.”
“I used to wonder how professional footballers get up in the morning. What’s your motivation to play football when you’re getting paid £10 million a year? But I see it now. I’m not earning anything like that, but entertainers get paid ridiculous sums too, yet we love the job. If you love what you do, whatever your job is, you don’t care about the money.”
That enthusiasm was shown on Olly’s first headline tour in Spring. Every venue sold out, including three nights at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. There was only one way to go and, sure enough, a huge round of headlining arenas will follow the album in February.
“The first tour was a great experience,” grins Olly. “I think everyone walked away with sore voices from singing along, sore hands from clapping along and sore feet from dancing. That shows we got it spot on, and that we were right to concentrate on the musical side of performing. We’ll put on a great show in the arenas, but we’re not going too far down the dancing route – I’ll get a bigger band, build that up. I just want to put on the best show of the year, if I can. I want people to come away feeling it was money well spent.”
Having sold 600,000 copies of his first album and knowing that he’s improved on it second time around, it’s no wonder Olly is confident about the future.
“I’ll do whatever I can to keep getting better,” he explains. “Having gone double-platinum, I want this record to go triple-platinum. It’d show that the people who enjoyed my debut want to hear more, and that I’ve got new fans too, who love these songs that bit more this time.
“Really, I just want to enjoy this. I don’t want to think ‘If only I’d done this...’ I don’t want regrets.”
With an album as strong, consistently entertaining and confident as ‘In Case You Didn’t Know’, there’s nothing to regret. In case you didn’t know, it’s a pop classic.