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Arts & Music

British star Murs, in Ybor City tonight, hopes to make it big in U.S.

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: May 8, 2013 at 09:33 AM

“Relentless” would have worked as an album title for Olly Murs’ latest project, “Right Place Right Time.”

The young, cheeky British recording artist has released three albums in just three years.

That’s very productive, even in the boy-band world.

“I’m putting everything I have into my career,” Murs said. “I’m going all out.”

Indeed. Murs, 28, is certainly driven. The charismatic entertainer, who finished as the runner-up in the U.K.’s version of “The X-Factor” in 2009, could rest on his laurels in England. Murs has sold more than 5 million albums in the United Kingdom.

He has had four number one singles in the last three years, including the catchy and funky “Troublemaker,” which is from “Right Place.”

“Things have gone over really well for me here,” Murs said while calling from Dublin. ‘Troublemaker’ has been embraced here and hopefully there is more to come, but it’s very different releasing an album here and releasing an album in America.”

Indeed. There are a plethora of British artists who are massive in the U.K. but unknowns in America. Cliff Richard, anyone? But Murs, who toured with One Direction in the U.S. last year and participated in a number of promotional radio shows in America in December, is doing all that he can to get a foothold in the states.

“I would love to do well in America,” Murs said. “I love it there. We’ll see how this album does.”

Murs, who will deliver cuts from “Right Place Right Time” tonight at the Ritz Ybor, is showcasing a project that is deeper than his first two albums. There is funk from “Troublemaker,” which features a cameo by Flo Rida. There is the catchy love song “Hand On Heart” and plenty of slick pop and dance material. Murs was more involved with this album than his other projects. He co-wrote 11 of the 12 tracks. Murs also worked on the production side.

“I wanted to make an album that’s varied,” Murs said.

“I wanted there to be a dance song followed by a funky song. I’m also pleased that I was very involved with this album. I was a little wet behind the ears when it came to the first two albums, but I’ve learned a lot about the process. I wanted to experiment this time and change styles and tempos. I wanted to take some risks but not lose the essence of who I am.”

The tireless Murs also has a television career in the U.K. If he is serious about breaking in America, he might have to cut back on TV gigs. If he had to choose music or television, what would it be for Murs?

“I choose both,” Murs said. “I have a lot of energy and drive. I think I can make it work. Three albums in three years wasn’t easy considering everything else I’m doing, but Rihanna does it, too. If you’re driven, it’s not such a big deal. I want to connect with the American audience. If I have to work harder than anyone to do it, I’m in.”

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