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I’m crouched in an office, mid-morning, with my cellphone cradled between my arm and shoulder talking to Olly Murs about the CIA-drama Homeland. The UK singer and X-Factor runner-up, who’s making his North American debut this April, says he often throws the show on to help him relax before gigs — tonight he’s taking Nottingham.
“I’ve never seen Homeland,” I tell him.
“It’s soo good, you should watch it!” he raves.
I ask him what he loves about it but I’m met with an awkward lapse of silence. Before I mistake it for apathy on his part I realize the call was dropped.
I silently curse the Canadian blizzard raging outside my window (with no regard for my cell service) and wait for him to call back. FOR THE SECOND TIME. So far, our 10-minute call has been interrupted twice by poor weather, and he’s been nothing but kind about it.
“It’s okay, I completely understand!” he keeps saying.
Olly’s got a soft spot for Canada because Toronto was his first pit stop when he opened for One Direction during their “Up All Night Tour.” The guys were pretty busy most of the time so pranking was kept to a minimum, though there was that time Niall surprised him by doing his soundcheck.
“It was quite funny to hear him singing my songs,” he says. “I pretty much lost my job for the day.”
When he returns to the Great White North, it will be solo, to promote his third studio album Right Time Right Place, dropping April 9.
“Your fans will be so excited!” I say. “Their number two question on Twitter was when are you returning to Canada? Their number ONE question was if I could ask you to follow them online.” [Shoutout to lovely super fan @ollymurs_amazin]
While his Army goes crazy for him online, he’s still able to go relatively unscathed when he’s off duty in London. In fact, during this year’s BRIT Awards, traffic was so bad he made the split decision to take the underground.
“People weren’t that bad to be fair,” he says. “They were doing their day-to-day things. Everyone just seemed quite miserable because they just finished work, thinking about what they’d watch on TV later, or what they’d cook for dinner. No one really recognized me or gave me trouble. But it was funny going from the tube to the Brit awards!”
While his bucket list includes travelling through Asia (“I’ve heard so many great things about Japan”), for now he’s busy enough.
“2013 is already crazy and March is here. It just feels like everything goes so quickly with this job,” he says. “I recently got to go back to the scene of the crime of where I auditioned for X-Factor in 2009 with the judges. It’s insane that I’m here now and I’m talking to you and you’re from Canada! Hopefully it will continue.”
My ten minutes are suddenly up and it’s his turn to apologize.
“It was great talking to you and I’m sorry if I wasn’t too talkative,” he says. “My voice is a bit sore and I’m trying to save it for the show.”
I wish him luck and we follow-up by saying goodbye to each other… several times for good measure.
WATCH OLLY MURS FEAT. FLO RIDA — “TROUBLEMAKER” BELOW: