Since bursting on to the scene in the X Factor eight years ago, Olly Murs has rarely been out of the charts, or off our screens. Known as the ‘cheeky chappy from Essex’ when he came runner-up on the music talent show in 2009, he’s now regarded as one of the nicest pop stars around – a reputation that might not be as headline grabbing as those of some of his peers within the industry, but nevertheless, it’s no bad label to have. And, having met Olly a couple of times now, I can confirm, that his reputation does precede him – he really is very nice.

It’s fair to say that generally, we want nice people to be successful – which is probably why to date, Olly has amassed more than 10million record sales, released five albums, had four UK number ones, achieved sell-out tours around the world, presented the Xtra Factor and the X Factor…and is showing no signs of slowing down.

It’s been a tough time for live music with the recent events in Manchester. As a musician, how has the attack affected you and your approach to performing?

Manchester is a place I spend a lot of time, I’ve performed there and I’m a big Manchester United fan, I think they’re strong and they’ve all pulled together. As a musician you want everyone to be at your gig with a smile on their faces and enjoying themselves, that’s really what it’s all about. Obviously you hope nothing like that ever happens, but you just have to carry on.

What can audiences expect when they come to see you this summer?

I mean, it won’t too different from the normal tour or how I normally perform, but obviously it’s outside and it’ll be a lot of fun.

Is it quite different playing shows outside to the ones you do in arenas?

Yeah, massively. Obviously playing an arena is quite intimate and you can sit or stand but outside the atmosphere is completely different and people can have a burger and a beer and a dance. I want people to leave my show feeling like they’ve had a workout!

Do you have a song you most enjoy performing live?

I really like doing cover versions, and one of my favourite is Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling – although it’s quite funny because my mum actually thought it was one of my songs! When she saw me perform it for the first time, she said “I like your new song,” and I said “what do you mean? Nobody’s heard it yet!”

Speaking of new songs, you’ve just released Unpredictable with Louisa Johnson, who’s also supporting you on tour – how did the collaboration come about?

I was presenting the X Factor the year she was on it, and so we got to know each other that way. We’re both from Essex and have a lot in common, so we’ve become good friends. She’s so talented too.

Is there anywhere on your summer tour you’re most looking forward to visiting or performing?

I’d probably say Colchester, because it’s near where I’m from in Essex, so it’ll be like a homecoming gig.

Apologies, you’ll have to cross the border to Kent when you come to Canterbury…

Well you asked! I’m obviously looking forward to coming to Kent too. There’s a Kent and Essex rivalry, but it’s a friendly rivalry!

It’s been eight years since your career began when you were on the X Factor…

[Laughs] Alright! Don’t make me feel old!

Sorry! But you’ve had some amazing successes and great longevity, which a lot of X Factor acts don’t have. What’s your secret to success?

I think I’m always striving for the next thing; you’ve got to have that drive. I always wanted to be successful in my career and I think when you’re passionate about what you do you become obsessed with it. This year I’ve tried to be a bit less obsessed.

The X Factor will be starting again soon. As someone whose career began on the show, how do you feel when people criticise acts that come from the programme?

I think quite often people who say things like that are musicians who have something to promote or plug, and it’s an easy thing to say to get a reaction. I always say that the X Factor is just a platform, you have to work hard for your career once the show’s finished. But, if you’re a musician or love music, why wouldn’t you want someone to do well?

What do you get to do when you have down-time during summer?

I love to go on holiday and enjoy the sunshine, go to parties…I recently went to Vegas and LA with some friends which was amazing, we went to pool parties and just got to hang out in the sun and chill!

And, other than your own music, what’s your favourite song to listen to in the summer?

Oh that’s easy! Summertime by Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff. Actually I’m going to go and listen to it right now…

Olly’s summer tour comes to the Spitfire Cricket Ground in Canterbury on Friday July 7. For tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk/ollymurs