Oliver Stanley Murs grew up with aspirations of becoming a professional football player and played semi-pro until an injury ended his career. While working in an office job he sang in the covers band the Small Town Blaggers before trying out for the UK TV Talent show the X Factor. At the age of twenty-five he auditioned in front of the judges and his confident but not cocky performance won them and the studio audience over. Despite being a strong contender throughout the competition he came runner-up to Joe McElderry in the final on 12th December 2009. Murs, along with the rest of that year's X Factor finalists enjoyed a taste of chart success when their combined single 'You Are Not Alone' topped the charts with all proceeds being donated to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for children. Winner Joe McElderry also topped the charts with his debut single but his career as a pop star soon stalled and Murs who had been signed to Simon Cowell's Syco Music disappeared from view while he recorded his debut album. A year later his first single 'Please Don't Let Me Go' (co-written by the singer with established songwriters Steve Robson and Claude Kelly) debuted at the top of the UK charts and was followed three months later by the No 4 'Thinking About Me Now' (also co-written with Robson plus Wayne Hector.) His self-titled debut album was released soon after and entered the charts No 2 and containing nine tracks co-written by Murs the record also featured songwriters and producers including Chris Difford (Squeeze), James Morrison, John Shanks, Future Cut, Sam Preston (the Ordinary Boys), Mark Taylor and Trevor Horn. The album yielded more hits with 'Heart On My Sleeve' and 'Busy' and Murs spent much of the year promoting it through his own live shows, including four complete sell-outs at the Hammersmith Apollo in London as well as acting as support for former fellow X Factor runners-up JLS.
The first signs of his new album came in August 2011 when the single 'Heart Skips A Beat' (featuring Rizzle Kicks) debuted at No 1, a feat emulated by the subsequent 'Dance With Me Tonight' which was released a few months later. Exactly one year after the release of his debut album his second release hit the shops and with close collaborators including Steve Robson, Claude Kelly, Sam Preston, Wayne Hector and Mark Taylor back on board In Case You Didn't Know topped the charts and went platinum with more than a million copies sold in the UK alone. Early in 2012 Murs embarked on a twenty-two-date arena tour that was followed by the release of the final single from his second album 'Oh My Goodness' which peaked at No 13 in the charts in April. He also made a number of outdoor appearances including T In The Park and the V Festival as well as involving himself in several worthy causes, most notably Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy and children's charities Brainwave and Rays Of Sunshine. Released in October 2012 'Troublemaker' (featuring Flo Rida) became his fourth UK No 1 single and the first to enter the USA Top 30. Following his previous pattern November 2012 found Murs releasing his third album in as many years with Right Place, Right Time which topped the charts in his homeland and reached No 19 in the USA while subsequent singles 'Army Of Two' and the infectious 'Dear Darlin'' peaked at No 12 and No 5 respectively. Although he enjoyed two more modest hits during 2013 with 'Right Place, Right Time' and 'Hand On Heart' he let it be known that his next album would not be released at the breakneck pace of his first three records.
Murs' career has been remarkable in many ways, he failed to win the X Factor yet eclipsed the performer who did, he's hardly the best singer in the World but he knows his limitations and works comfortably within them. Everything about Olly Murs is understated, he's the boy next door done good, but he has never forgotten his roots and his normality and natural charm make him hugely appealing to audiences from six to sixty. He has surrounded himself with successful songwriters and producers and has shown a talent for songwriting himself with three of his chart toppers ('Please Don't Let Me Go', 'Dance With Me Tonight' and 'Troublemaker' plus the exceptional 'Dear Darlin'') all being co-written by the singer. Not having aligned himself to any trend or fashion he remains his own man and his natural enthusiasm, work ethic and eagerness to please suggests that in the same way that Robbie Williams had nurtured his popular career, Olly Murs will be one of Britain's most enduring personalities for some time to come.
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