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Oliver Stanley "Olly" Murs (born 14 May 1984) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and television presenter. Murs rose to fame after finishing as the runner-up in the sixth series of The X Factor in 2009. He is currently signed to Epic Records in the United Kingdom, Columbia Records in the United States, and Syco Music.
In late August 2010, Murs released his debut single "Please Don't Let Me Go", which debuted at number one on the UK Singles Charts, becoming Murs' s first number one single after releasing "You Are Not Alone" with the other series 6 finalists. "Please Don't Let Me Go" received a Gold certification by the BPI. He released his second single from his debut album "Thinking of Me" which charted at number four on the UK Singles Charts, however the single also got a Silver certification by the BPI. "Heart Skips a Beat" was released and became his second number-one hit. Murs' first single from his follow up album In Case You Didn't Know, "Dance with Me Tonight", became his third to reach number one.
In November 2010, Murs released his self-titled debut album, which entered the UK Albums Chart at number two, with the biggest week one album sales for a debut album in 2010, with over 108,000 albums sold. The album went on to sell over 600,000 copies, and was certificated double platinum by the BPI. In November 2011, Murs released his second album, In Case You Didn't Know, which entered the charts at number one and has spawned two number-one singles. To date, Murs has sold over 10 million records worldwide. In May 2011, it was announced that Murs would return to The X Factor to co-present spin-off show The Xtra Factor with Caroline Flack. His autobiography, Happy Days, was published on 11 October 2012. In November 2012 Murs released his third album Right Place Right Time and so far has released three singles from it, the first, "Troublemaker" which became his fourth number one, the second "Army of Two" which reached number twelve, and the third "Dear Darlin'" which reached number five.
Murs was born in Witham, Essex, the son of Vicki-Lynn (Pollard) and Peter Murs. He has a younger twin brother, Ben Murs, and a sister, Fay Murs. Two of his paternal great-grandparents were Latvian. He attended Howbridge Junior School in Witham and Notley High School in Braintree, Essex where he was a striker in the school's football team. He is a supporter of Manchester United, and played semi-professionally for Witham Town. He gave up his football career following an injury. Prior to The X Factor, Murs worked as a recruitment consultant at Prime Appointments in Witham, and performed as part of a covers band called the Small Town Blaggers with a friend, Jon Goodey. He also appeared on the game show Deal or No Deal in 2007, where he won £10, he returned for a celebrity version of the show in 2012 which made him the only person to appear on it twice. In 2008 he travelled to Australia, backpacking alone along the east coast for three months. It was upon his return that he decided to audition for The X Factor. After being unsuccessful, and not making to the live shows, Murs joined the Royal Navy as an Aircraft Engineering Technician and served 4 years at RNAS Yeovilton. It was on his discharge the decision was made to, successfully, this time, re-apply for "The X Factor".
In 2009, Murs auditioned for the sixth series of The X Factor, performing Stevie Wonder's "Superstition". Judge Simon Cowell said it was "the easiest yes I've ever given". On the first live show, he sang "She's the One" and on the second, "A Fool in Love", a performance which Cowell described as being "in a different league." For week three he took on "Bewitched". Walsh commented that he was the "dark horse of the competition," and Cowell said he was "coming into his own each week." He frequently employed dance moves in his performance including his trademark "Olly wiggle." In week 4 he sang "Come Together" and again received positive comments, with Walsh predicting, "I think you're in the final three," and Cowell saying he was "progressing better than just about everybody." In week 5 he performed "Twist and Shout" and in week 6 "Don't Stop Me Now", after which he was labelled by Minogue as, "absolutely the best performer we have on the show by far."
In week 7, after a performance of "Fastlove", he was in the bottom two with John & Edward. Cowell and Cheryl Cole decided to send John & Edward home, but Louis Walsh voted against Murs. Dannii Minogue then decided against taking the judges' vote to deadlock and sent home John & Edward. When the voting statistics were later released on itv.com, they revealed that if Minogue had voted to save John & Edward and taken it to deadlock, Murs would have been sent home on popular vote, as John & Edward gained 10.7% of the popular vote against just 9.8% to Murs. To participate in the semi-finals, Murs had to miss his brother's wedding. The ceremony took place just 16 miles (26 km) from the show's studio, but mentor Cowell was against letting him off for a few hours on the crucial semi-final day. He sang "Can You Feel It" and "We Can Work It Out" in the semi-final and ended up as one of the three finalists, breaking down on hearing the result.
In the final on 12 December, he repeated his audition song, "Superstition", following which Cowell said putting him in the final 12 was "the best risk I have ever taken in my life". Murs then sang with Robbie Williams on a duet of "Angels", in which Williams fluffed his lines as he walked on stage to join Murs and came in at the wrong time, singing the second line of the song, but was helped by Murs to find the right spot. There was then a repeat performance of his week 2 song "Fool in Love". Murs qualified for the final two and first sang a repeat performance of "Twist and Shout", following which Walsh commented, "You're a born, born showman and no matter what happens tonight you're going to have a great career in music." In his final performance on the show he performed the winner's song, "The Climb", finishing it in tears. He was told by Cole, "You absolutely tore it from your soul. I've never heard you sing like that. I thought it was a beautiful version of the song." He lost the final to Joe McElderry the next day and finished as the runner-up.
On 15 December, two days after the final, it was reported that Cowell was going to offer Murs a record deal in early 2010. Following his defeat, Murs was reportedly texted by duet partner Robbie Williams and invited to visit him in his Los Angeles mansion and participate in the forthcoming Soccer Aid, organised by Williams. Murs performed on the X Factor tour, alongside Joe McElderry, John & Edward, Stacey Solomon, Lucie Jones and several other finalists. It was later revealed on The Xtra Factor that Murs was predicted by all the judges and presenters (except Minogue who had said Nicole Jackson, and Cole who had said Miss Frank as a second choice) as the favourite to win the series at the Boot Camp stage. As with all other finalists save the winner, Murs began gigging around the country following the end of the show. He was also booked to appear at the engagement party of model Danielle Lloyd. Footage of Murs appearing on Deal or No Deal was later featured in an edition of the BBC's Almost Famous on 2 January 2010.
Rumours began that Murs would record a debut album almost immediately after the final, where he finished in second place to Joe McElderry. After the rumours broke out, Murs announced he signed a joint record deal between Epic Records and Syco Music in February 2010. It was announced that Murs began working with John Shanks and Eg White. It was later confirmed that Roy Stride, Trevor Horn, Wayne Hector and Matty Benbrook would have involvement on the album which he collaborated with to make the "best possible songs". More writers and producers were confirmed to be working with Murs in the studio including; Phil Thornalley, Martin Brammer, Samuel Preston, Mark Taylor. and Chris Difford Professor Green was due to appear on the album, however, the duet fell through before recording was completed.
Murs confirmed the first single from the album to be titled "Please Don't Let Me Go", which was released on 27 August 2010 following the circulation of the accompanying music video. The song was written by Murs himself and with other songwriters, Claude Kelly and Steve Robson; the single was also produced by Future Cut. The song is about a minor relationship Murs was in where he ended up feeling something for the other person. Murs commented: "Sadly she kept giving me the impression that she didn't like me as much, and ultimately it didn't work out, so that's where the idea of me singing 'Please Don't Let Me Go' came from." The song was described as "a lovely summery reggae-tinged pop tune that bobs along in a thoroughly hummable and not un-Will Young-like fashion" and said that the music video "is just as quintessentially pleasant". During the release, Murs was told not to get his hopes up for a number-one due to Katy Perry releasing "Teenage Dream" the same day. On 5 September 2010, the single entered the UK Singles Charts at number 1 beating Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream". The song was released with the B-side track, entitled "This One's for the Girls" also entered the UK Singles Charts, debuting at number 69, was written for all of his female fans.
His debut album was released in November 2010; which was a self-titled album, Olly Murs. The album's tracking list was revealed on 15 October 2010. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number two, with the biggest week one album sales for a debut album in 2010, with over 108,000 albums sold. The album also charted on the Irish Albums Chart where it found itself peaking at number eleven. The second single was "Thinking of Me", written by Murs, Steve Robson and Hector, and co-produced by Future Cut and Steve Robson. It was released on 19 November 2010, prior to the album's release. It was reported that Professor Green would feature on the single, however, the duet fell through before it was completed. The single was added to BBC Radio 1's C Playlist on 3 November 2010. Murs performed the single for the first time on The X Factor. Upon the release the single charted at number four on the UK Singles Charts and thirteen on the Irish Singles Charts. On 13 November Murs turned the Christmas lights on in Paisley and he also turned on the Christmas lights near his hometown in Chelmsford, Essex. Renfrewshire Council was criticised in the media for the £15,000 fee that Murs was paid to turn on the lights, after announcing that they were axing 500 jobs. Murs however donated his fee for his appearance at this event.
Two further singles were released from the first album into 2011 – the James Morrison penned "Heart on My Sleeve", which charted at #20 in March 2011, and "Busy" which charted at #45 in June 2011. Olly completed a theatre tour for his first album in spring 2011, commencing on 26 April in Rhyl at the Pavilion Theatre and playing four sold out nights at London's Hammersmith Apollo in late May. He also toured as the support act of JLS on their summer stadium tour.
It was rumoured in June 2011, that Murs had started working on his second studio album, which he later confirmed. Murs claimed that he would "take the album from a different approach", and claimed he would like to record a rap track, stating, "I'm secretly not a bad rapper, I really like to do a bit of beat boxing, Eminem is always a favourite, or maybe Vanilla Ice, "Ice Ice Baby" is a classic." Murs revealed that he will attempt to build himself a more of a "soulful" sound through writing the second album, and also expressed interest in recording with Robbie Williams after the two met on The X Factor Live Final. Murs confirmed in July 2011, that the lead single from the album would be called "Heart Skips a Beat", and it would feature up-and-coming Brithop Rap duo Rizzle Kicks. He described it as a "parallel" to the remainder of the album, calling it a "summer party song". The song premiered on The Chris Moyles Show on 7 July 2011 and has since been well received by fans. The video for the track was later released via Murs' official YouTube channel. Murs said that the song is one of his favourite tracks from the new album, stating, "I'm loving the tune at the moment. It's going down really, really well." "Heart Skips a Beat" later peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, marking his second number one. It later went on to peak at number one in Germany and Switzerland, also reaching top ten in numerous countries in Europe.
In September 2011, Murs announced via Twitter that the second album would be entitled In Case You Didn't Know, taken from a song of the same name which appears on the album. On 14 October 2011, Murs released the audio of "Dance with Me Tonight", the album's second single, via his YouTube Channel. The track was released on 21 November 2011, again peaking at #1 on the UK Singles Chart. The album, In Case You Didn't Know was released a week later on 28 November 2011. The album peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart, two on the Irish Charts, and in the top ten in Germany, Switzerland and Poland. Murs confirmed via his Twitter account in February 2012 that the album's third single would be "Oh My Goodness", and that it would be released on 2 April. It peaked at #13 on the UK Singles Chart. The single was his second release in Europe after "Heart Skips a Beat", released on 10 August, and has so far peaked in the top 40 in Germany and Austria.
In April 2012, it was revealed that Murs was in the process of writing his third studio album, which was released on 26 November 2012. Murs has once again written with Steve Robson and Claude Kelly. Ed Drewett (best known for his work for The Wanted) and Andrew Frampton and Steve Kipner (producers of both albums for The Script) are other names that have been confirmed for the third album, and in a June 2012 interview with the website Examiner he confirmed the name of a new song, "One of These Days", which he described as a 'follow-on' song from "I Need You Now" on his previous album. On 17 September, Murs announced the first single from his third album, "Troublemaker", a collaboration with Claude Kelly and Steve Robson which features American rapper Flo Rida and was released on 18 November. It will also serve as Murs's second U.S. single. On the same day he also announced the name of the third album, Right Place Right Time. The cover artwork and tracklisting for the album was unveiled on 1 October. Murs will be embarking on a second arena tour of the UK and Ireland in February/March 2013 to support the album, as well as performing his first live European dates in Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark in April 2013. On 14 January 2013 Murs confirmed that the second single from the album would be "Army of Two" which was released on 10 March 2013. The album's third single Dear Darlin' will be released on 3 June 2013.
Murs was the opening act for One Direction on the North American leg of their Up All Night Tour, which began on 29 May in Toronto. "Heart Skips a Beat" was released as Murs' first U.S. single through Columbia Records on 29 May 2012, replacing Rizzle Kicks with American rappers Chiddy Bang for its release. As of September 2012 it has peaked at #96 on the Billboard Hot 100. Murs was set to release 'In Case You Didn't Know' as his debut U.S. album on 25 September 2012, also through Columbia, however Examiner.com reported on 2 September that the release had been 'postponed until further notice', with no definite new release date given. On 17 September, Columbia then confirmed a new release date of 3 December and that they would now be releasing Murs' third UK album, Right Place Right Time as his debut U.S. release instead. The tracklisting for this will include "Heart Skips a Beat", "Dance with Me Tonight" and "Oh My Goodness" alongside "Troublemaker" and six other tracks from the new UK album. The release has since been delayed again, however, and is now due for release in the U.S. on 4 April 2013. While visiting Chicago,IL for a 25 January performance, Olly spoke with WBBM-FM B96 and confirmed that the final U.S. release date is 16 April 2013 and he will be featured as February 2013’s VH1 "You Oughta Know" artist.
Murs will provide support for Robbie Williams on his Take the Crown Stadium Tour.
In February 2011, it was announced that Murs would participate in the BT Charity Trek, with other celebrities, as part of the 2011 Comic Relief Red Nose Day campaign. The celebrities spent five days in the Kaisut desert in north Kenya, covering 100 kilometres (62 mi) in temperatures up to 40°C. On 2 April 2011, Murs appeared in a celebrity version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and won £10,000 for charity. On 4 April, Murs stood in for Comedy Dave Vitty on The Chris Moyles Show on Radio 1 for one week while Vitty was rehearsing for Dancing on Ice In 2011, Murs appeared on CBBC's children's hidden camera show Remote Control Star. At the end of May 2011, Murs presented a Celebrity Club Classics show on Heart FM. He went on to present a Celebrity Special over the Christmas Period in 2011 and again in 2012. On 31 May 2011, it was confirmed that Murs would be co-presenting the eighth series of The Xtra Factor alongside Caroline Flack. In April 2013 it was confirmed that Murs had quit The Xtra Factor in order to concentrate on his music career and his success in America.
On 28 October 2011, Murs was the first artist to be confirmed to play at Capital FM's Jinglebell Ball 2011. In November 2011, Murs won the award for "Best Male Artist" at the BT Digital Music Awards and the award for "Best Album" for "Olly Murs" at the BBC Radio 1 Teen Awards. On 10 November 2011, Murs turned on the Christmas Lights at Cribbs Causeway in South Gloucestershire, where 7,000 fans attended. Murs concluded his appearance with a performance of "Dance with Me Tonight", the first time he had performed the song live. On 2 December, Murs appeared on The Late Late Toy Show with Ryan Tubridy, a popular television show in Ireland. On 5 and 6 December, Murs supported Gary Barlow at Barlow's Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, where they performed together on the Take That hit Shine. On 1 February 2012, Murs began his twenty-two date arena tour, starting with an audience of 20,000 in Cardiff. In March 2012, it was confirmed that Murs would return to The X Factor to present the spin-off show, The Xtra Factor alongside Caroline Flack, for a second year running. Due to his international release and touring with One Direction over the summer, however, he was not present for the audition, boot camp and judges' houses stages of this year's series, but did however record some special segments with selected auditionees that were broadcast in these episodes. He returned to the show full-time with Flack on the first live show of the series on 6 October 2012.
In March 2012, Murs performed at the 'Big Gig' event in Birmingham. On 24 March, In aid of Sport Relief, Murs performed alongside Rizzle Kicks, Vida and JLS at a special charity concert, held at The O2 Arena in London. On 16 April, Murs won the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for "Favourite British Male Artist". On 19 April, a three-part documentary trailing Murs throughout his UK Arena Tour, entitled Olly: Life on Murs, premiered on ITV2. It drew over half a million viewers. On 22 April, he appeared on a celebrity edition of Deal or No Deal, where he won 50p for his chosen charity, Brainwave, a local charity based in Murs' hometown that he became a patron of for children with brain conditions such as cerebral palsy or developmental delay. On 27 May, Murs played for England in a charity match for Soccer Aid at Old Trafford, but was taken off in the first half due to a hamstring injury. England ended up winning the match in a 3–1 victory against the rest of the world. He is also a patron for the Nordoff-Robbins music therapy charity, and more recently he has become a patron for the Rays of Sunshine Children's Charity, who grant wishes to seriously or terminally ill children aged 3–18 in the United Kingdom.
Murs' keen interest in football, and support of Manchester United means that he has also frequently appeared on sport based TV shows and radio stations such as talkSPORT, either during promotion of his music or as a talking head giving his opinion on matches. He also released a special DVD, entitled "Olly Murs: 7 Deadly Sins of Football", through 2Entertain on 28 November 2011. In this DVD he introduced archive clips of Premier League matches well noted for displaying "when players get too greedy, when they get angry, [and] when they get lazy", as well as offering opinions from Ray Parlour, Alvin Martin, Jason Cundy, Ray Houghton and Micky Quinn from talkSPORT. In January 2013, as part of celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of The FA, Murs was appointed as an FA150 Ambassador, along with other leading figures from the world of football such as Alan Shearer, Gary Lineker and Sir Bobby Charlton.
More recently, Murs has also been involved in some modelling/fashion work. He was the face of European clothing store NewYorker in March 2012 for their men's spring/summer 2012 range. Participating stores in Germany and Luxembourg ran a promotion in this period where customers were able to have their picture taken with a cardboard point-of-sale display of Murs. He has also modelled for the autumn/winter 2012 range of Robbie Williams' clothing label Farrell.
Murs released an illustrated autobiography, Happy Days, published by Coronet (an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton) on 11 October 2012. Photography for the book was been shot by Dean Freeman, who has also worked on books for JLS, Michael Bublé and David Beckham, and Murs also recorded an audio version of the book that was made available to download. In January 2013 it was confirmed that Murs would guest star in a season 5 episode of the American drama series 90210 where he would perform "Troublemaker" and "Right Place Right Time". The episode aired on 22 April 2013.
Murs lives in Essex. He lived with his parents until Easter 2012 where he moved into a house of his own near Chelmsford. He is good friends with singers Robbie Williams, Michael Buble, Niall Horan and his former Xtra Factor co-host Caroline Flack.
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