SINCE finishing runner-up to Joe McElderry on The X Factor in 2009, Olly Murs has enjoyed huge commercial success. His most recent record 24 Hrs, out last year, was his fourth consecutive album to hit number one in the UK charts. Before a gig in Hove, he told EDWIN GILSON why he’s still aiming to be an “international superstar”.

What can we expect from your set in Hove, a career-spanning show?

It’s all the hits with a few album tracks thrown in. I do a lot of covers too, with references to Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder. There’s a throwback medley with songs from the 1970s, 1880s and 1990s as well as modern songs. It’s based on the whole family having a good day. I don’t want anyone to come to the show and feel alienated, like a husband who has been dragged along thinking “I don’t want to be here”. I want people to leave the show really loving life.

In certain songs on 24 Hrs you point the finger at yourself and examine your own flaws. Do you reflect on the writing of the record as an intensely self-reflective time?

The album was a different one for me and some of the songs are hard to sing every night because they are quite personal. I’m happy that it went to number one, my fourth in a row – to me that’s an amazing achievement.

A lot of that record focuses on a break-up [in 2015, with model Francesca Thomas]. Is it strange to look back on the person you were at that point?

It still hurts. It’s still a period of my life that I loved and though was great. It’s a shame I’m not in that place any more. Even though the album was about the break-up a lot of it was about myself and how I was feeling. It wasn’t being horrible about my ex, it was about a lot more, like me feeling upset that I’m not with her any more. A lot of people can relate to that. I still love the album but sometimes it can be difficult to sing it.

You duetted with X Factor 2015 winner Louisa Johnson on new single Unpredictable and she’s supporting you in Hove. How did that collaboration come about?

I just think she’s brilliant. We were doing the tour together anyway so I asked her if she wanted to do the song with me. She’s funny, great and has an exceptional voice. She’s been a breath of fresh air and we’ve done a lot of cool stuff together.

When you went on to The X Factor, you told judges you wanted to be a “international superstar”. How do you know when that dream will be fulfilled? Is it already?

I think you’ve always got to believe in something, whatever job you have. That was my target. Luckily for me I’ve had success all around the world. I don’t necessarily consider myself an international superstar but it’s nice to have had hits in lots of different countries. I take pride in what I do. To me it’s an amazing achievement to have been around for seven or eight years considering I came from a reality show. I take a lot of credit for that and I want to continue that success. What drives me every day is the idea of having more number ones, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.

You played at the Manchester Arena a few months before the terror attack there. Does it make the incident even more affecting to know that it could have happened at your gig?

It was a difficult thing to see and watch, really tragic. It hurt not just me but every artist who has ever played that arena. It could have been any of us. It’s difficult to even talk about it because it’s such a tragic thing. It’s a very tough time but I’ve definitely seen a lot of fight from everyone attending gigs which shows that we won’t let it affect us going forward. I just want everyone to be safe, as do all artists, as did Ariana.

Do you still keep in touch with Joe McElderry?

I haven’t spoken to Joe in years. I have his number and we still drop each other a tweet or message here and there on social media. He’s got his friends, I’ve got mine but it would be great to meet up and say hello to him. I’d like to find out what he’s getting up to these days, because I knew him when he was still a teenager. The nature of the job is you catch up with those kinds of people from time to time – but you’re also busy doing your own thing.

You appeared as a judge on The X Factor last year. Would you do it again?

I don’t think so. But I love the show and I’ll be watching it this year.

Will you get any time to experience the nightlife in Brighton after your gig?

I probably won’t but you never know, anything can happen. I might change my mind on the night. I’ve played the arena there [Brighton Centre] many times and it’s always a great, lively atmosphere and a real party town. I’m looking forward to getting back into the mix.

Do you have any plans for new material?

I don’t write on tour, I don’t get time. I’m not rushing anything, I’m going to take my time with it. What I wanted to do in 2017 was have a good time and that’s what I’m doing.

Olly Murs, 1st Central County Ground, Hove, Sunday  5pm, from £43, for more information call 01273 827126