THE most successful solo artist ever to come out of X Factor will be back on the road this summer with his latest number one album. Olly Murs tells KARL STEEL why he can't wait to get back up to Carlisle

X FACTOR winners haven't fared too well in recent years - some of them now fade into obscurity even before the battle for Christmas number one has reached its conclusion.

How galling it must then be to hear someone who didn't even land the top prize discussing his latest number one record and sold-out arena tours.

In fact, following the chart triumph of his new 24 Hrs album, 2006 X Factor runner-up Olly Murs has now become the most successful solo artist ever to come from the show.

This summer he will be embarking on his biggest headline tour to date - 22 outdoor shows across the UK, with an appearance at Carlisle's Brunton Park on Saturday June 3 being the second night of the run.

"A summer tour is not something I've done in a long time, and there's places on it that I haven't been to in a while, so it'll be good to get out and see those people," says the Essex-born platinum-selling performer.

"The outdoor shows are always that little bit crazier. When you're in an arena, you can create more of a story on the stage, but for a festival or a park, it's all just about the live performance.

"I've got some more singles on the way around the time of the tours, but people already seem excited enough about it - it's currently close to being sold out, so to still be doing that after all these years is great."

Having registered his fourth successive UK album chart number one, and with more than 10 million record sales under his belt, Olly is arguably at the peak of his success so far - 11 years after shooting to stardom alongside the likes of Joe McElderry, Stacey Solomon and Jedward.

The fact that he wrote almost all the songs on 24 Hrs is something he's proud of, but it won't be until he gets out on tour that he'll really know how well it's been received.

He says: "The reaction's been fantastic, and it was in the top 10 for about eight or nine weeks, so I couldn't really ask for any more.

"But it's only when you're playing live that you really know how it's connected with people. Album sales tell you a little bit, but when you're playing the songs, you can tell if the fans love them and see their reactions. That's the point where the album really comes to life."

There is just the small matter of a major arena tour to fit in before his summer road trip, as 2017 shapes up to be a non-stop year for the 32-year-old, despite having no TV commitments to contend with.

"With the arena shows in the spring, then the outdoor summer shows as well, it's already looking like it'll be a lively year, and I'm just really excited about getting out and playing live again.

"There are no plans at all apart from the shows - I just want to enjoy it as a touring year."

The last time he was in Carlisle was as part of the Radio 1 Big Weekend line-up with the likes of Foo Fighters and Lady Gaga, back in 2011, having also visited the city the summer before for an appearance at the racecourse as part of an X Factor tour.

That was more than half his career ago, so it will be a new experience to perform as a respected headline name in his own right - and he wants to make the most of his journey up north.

"I can't wait, I'm really looking forward to it already, even though the tour is still a long way off.

"Carlisle is probably the furthest up North I've been - well it couldn't really be further - but I still remember the last time I was there at the Radio 1 Big Weekend, and it was great. In fact, I remember setting off to Carlisle and not realising just how far it was and it took ages. It was worth it when we got there though.

"It seems a really long time ago now.

"Hopefully there will also be an opportunity to get out and see the places we visit - like most people, I love my food, so it's good to have a bit of a butcher's and seek out the best restaurants and meet some fans.

"We try to pick places where fans might not necessarily travel to the arenas for gigs, and give them a chance to see the show closer to home.

"We tour like any band, just pile onto the bus and get out on the road. It's my regular band, with a few changes over the years - and I know the guys well.

"There's a lot to do before the arena tour, and we've not really done many of the songs live yet, so it will be awesome to get to play them in front of about 15,000 people each night."

Olly Murs appears at Brunton Park, in Carlisle, on Saturday June 3. Former X Factor winner Louisa Johnson will be providing main support. Tickets are available now from

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