'It's one of the best gigs to do' - Troublemaker star Olly Murs looks ahead to his Newmarket Nights concert

Olly Murs is set to play Newmarket Nights at Newmarket Racecourses on July 30.

Olly Murs is set to play Newmarket Nights at Newmarket Racecourses on July 30. - Credit: Supplied by Chuff Media

Olly Murs headlines Newmarket Nights at Newmarket Racecourses later this month.

The chart-topping Troublemaker star will perform live after an evening of racing at Newmarket on Friday, July 30, 2021.

Ahead of his concert at the famous racecourse, Warren Higgins enjoys a Q&A with the Dance with Me Tonight singer.

Heart Skips a Beat star Olly, from Essex, discusses how lockdown was for him, the excitement of getting back to playing shows, a new TV show he's presenting, and what to expect at Newmarket.

Olly Murs

Olly Murs - Credit: Mark Hayman

We've all had different ways of dealing with the past 18 months. What's yours been?

The last year has been difficult with ups and downs for everyone. I've just tried to keep myself busy, I got into the whole TikTok thing for quite a while pranking the girlfriend and I kept fit. I dyed my hair a few times, I became best friends with the fridge for quite a long period!

Apart from that, just trying to stay positive and know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I think I always knew we would get to the end of this period, but it's still got that unpredictability about it.

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Newmarket will be one of the first shows that you'll have done in quite a long time. Are you looking forward to finally getting back out on the road again?

I always, always love Newmarket, it's one of the best gigs to do. You’ve only got to see the line-up of people that are coming – me, Tom Jones, Rick Astley, Jess Glynne, all these artists know and I'm sure they all, like me, and have done it before and know how great the gig is.

Of course, to see the lovely people at Newmarket that have had a difficult year as well, they get out and have a few drinks and enjoy the show with their family and friends. It will be so good to get back onstage, get my mic out, get my ears in, get my dancing shoes on, and just perform.

Newmarket is always a fantastic gig – you speak to any artist and they say Newmarket is one of the best so I can't wait.

Are you upset that you had to scale back the number of summer shows on your tour that you were originally meant to play before the pandemic?

The June dates were cancelled due to COVID – there's part of me that's upset and annoyed because a lot of people bought tickets, but ultimately safety comes first and if everyone would have been at risk at the shows because of the virus it just worked out a lot better moving dates.

We can always do the shows again next year, which we will so it'll all work out in the end.

You’ve done a couple of gigs before at Newmarket…

I think this might be my third or fourth time but honestly, I can't tell you what a great night it is and if there's anyone that hasn't been, it's one of the best nights. A fantastic gig, the atmosphere is brilliant and on stage you have everyone around you. It’s a really great day of racing, food, obviously drinking, and then some live music! 

This has been the longest period that you've gone without live shows or touring. How are you going to get rid of the rustiness? 

It’s been two years as I hadn’t toured since 2019, but I’m born ready – there’s no rust here, get the WD40 out! I’m actually excited to get out there again and start singing. I think it’s just something that I'm born to do, I enjoy it.

We've had the odd gigs here and there, but nothing will beat obviously performing on stage in front of thousands of people. 

Everyone seems to know about how the performers have fared during lockdown, but are you looking forward to working with your band and crew again?

Honestly, every industry has been affected. Of course, lots of industries have flourished during this period but definitely the music industry and the live music industry has suffered massively and there's lots of great people that work for me that are musicians, a lot of people work for me that are crew, the catering teams, people that put the stage up, there's lighting as well, there's sound, there's so many different people and they need to get back to work like I do.  

It's going to be a great summer to see all them back at work smiling again because it's been such a difficult year. People are getting vaccinated now, the people that are at risk are hopefully feeling a lot safer so you've got to hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is that we can get on stage again, we can play to big crowds, everyone can enjoy the atmosphere again and the entertainment industry can get back up and running.

It's so good for everyone, good for mental health, it’s good to be out there feeling happy, listening to live music, there's nothing better.

Over the past year, as you mentioned previously, you've been quite active on TikTok. I just have the ask, have any of the pranks ever got out of hand?

No, luckily, they didn't! I think we stopped them just at the right time. There was one point where me and Amelia said “please, let's not hurt each other, let's not end up in hospital over something stupid”. We had a lot of fun doing it!

Looking at the numbers and the likes, you kept a lot of people entertained.

Yeah, that was always the aim, to see the reaction of people and what they loved about the videos and everything was great. It was fun, I enjoyed it, I love TikTok, and I'll always do videos, but it's hard to keep up with it because it's moving so much all the time!

It's great and it entertains lots of people, it gave me something to do during lockdown, It gave me something of a purpose.

You also got into your fitness, was this important for mental health and wellbeing? When you tour again will you be aiming to keep up the level of exercise?

Training is something I've always wanted to do but my training started two years ago when I had a knee operation, it was really to help me get better, stronger and fitter.

Lockdown helped me actually concentrate on that and work harder. I'm in the greatest shape of my life at the minute and I'm very, very happy. I think now that I've reached the back end of the 30s, I'm 37 now, most importantly I want to live my best life – I want to live happy and healthy.

I want to be a fit and healthy dad at some point and I want to be able to be out with them as much as I can and keeping fit is important.

A lot of people know you from The Voice but you have a new TV show coming soon, Starstruck.

Yes, at some point in the future, we've got that coming out, which is great, a show that I'm very excited about being on. I'm the main man, as they would say. I'm hosting the show.

It’s something I've wanted to do for quite some time to get back on TV again, on a primetime Saturday night. The opportunity came along to host and it's exciting for me, it's pretty much a modern-day version of ‘Stars In Their Eyes’ but it's got a new format, it's got new ideas, we have a judging panel on there.

We have Adam Lambert, Sheridan Smith, Beverley Knight and Jason Manford, who are giving their expertise on the performances, all can sing, all have been on stage, all have been different characters in their life so four great experts.

We have four icons a night, three people sing on stage together, one song, and we see the transformations, we see their journey and then the judges pick their favourite of the night. Then they sing again in a sing-off, which is when the voting audience decides who is the winner. 

With the racecourse shows this summer, some people are just there for the racing, so do you find it's good to play to a mix of audiences? Does that give you a challenge to win everybody over?

Yeah, I've always played the racecourses like Newmarket, and you know that not every boyfriend or dad or girlfriend or sister or auntie or mum is going to be a fan of me! So I have always used those days as “if they don't like me, let's prove them wrong”.

I think what's so great is these racecourse nights have got so much going on. You've got the food, you've got the racecourse, you've got the gambling bit of fun, and then you've got the concert at the end of it. It’s a really great day out for friends and family to hang out together.  

There's always going to be something for someone and I'm hoping it's to come and see me but if it's not, I promise them that I will give them the best show and I hope that they walk away go, “You know what? Fair play to Olly he did a good show”, that's all I want.

So what can we expect from your Newmarket show?

Just a fun, energetic show – I'm going to give everything, I want people to be smiling again. I am missing seeing some teeth and missing lovely smiles and that's why we're on stage. It's just so people having a good time, enjoy themselves.

You've had such sadness over this last year, such difficult times as a nation, so it'd be great for me anyway, I'd love to come to Newmarket, have a great night with everyone enjoying themselves, everyone have a good time and I can't wait to bring it on. 

Tickets on sale from thejockeyclub.co.uk/live