Interview: Olly Murs, singer

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CRITICS may have cruelly dubbed him the ‘cut-price Robbie Williams’, but Olly Murs is doing all right for himself.

Since finishing runner-up on the X Factor in 2009, the former call centre worker has gone on to become one of the UK’s biggest male solo artists - and his career juggernaut shows no signs of slowing.

Last summer, he warmed up the 13,000 crowd for JLS at the Royal Highland Centre, and tomorrow he returns here as a headliner in his own right, with a massive outdoor gig at Edinburgh Castle

“I can’t wait to come to back to Edinburgh,” says the 28-year-old from Essex. “Last week, on my way to T in the Park, I stopped off in Edinburgh to see where I’d be playing. When I saw the Castle I was gobsmacked. I stood there thinking ‘Wow... what a location!’.

“Edinburgh is one of those cities that everyone always says you should visit for a weekend or whatever, so I jumped at the chance when I was offered the gig.

“Last time I didn’t get much chance to see a lot, but this time I’m planning on having a good walk around and taking in all the sights.”

When he’s done sight-seeing, the pop-reggae star promises to put on a great show for fans in the Capital. “Whenever I come up to Scotland, I am always met with a warm welcome,” he says. “My Scottish fans are brilliant.

“Obviously the weather plays a part, so hopefully it will stay dry. But even if it does rain, I’m planning on putting on a great show with my band.”

Four years ago Murs was just another unknown wannabe whose biggest claim to fame was an appearance on Deal Or No Deal. But after the chart-topping hits Heart Skips A Beat, Please Don’t Let Me Go and Dance With Me Tonight he’s living a pop star’s dream.

He says he’s enjoying every minute of his time in the spotlight, but admits he would have liked to have achieved chart success in his teens. “I don’t have any regrets, but if there was one thing I would have loved to have done, it’s that I would have loved to have gotten it at a younger age,” he says.

Murs, who dreamed of becoming a footballer, never felt music was a career he could follow as a teenager, until finding he had a talent for it in his early twenties. “It felt when I was growing up that sport was, like, the only thing you should do... if you do music you’re really different and a bit weird.”

• Olly Murs, Edinburgh Castle, Castle Esplanade, tomorrow, 7pm, £42, www.ticketmaster.com

• Going to see Olly Murs? Tweet a review to @edinburghpaper using the hash tag #EENreview