For all the singers that reality talent shows like Fame Academy and Pop Idol bring to our attention, it's only a handful that really last the distance.

It doesn't seem to be just about talent - David Sneddon and the like proved they had ability on the shows they rose to fame on - but more about the choices they make once their career has been given this massive kick-start.

The common factor between Lemar Obika and the other reality show graduates who continue to do well - like Will Young and Girls Aloud - is that the music they do is pitchperfect for their personalities and their voices.

"I've just been trying to keep it as real as I can to what I know," says Lemar of his continuing success. "The record company give their input, but ultimately I talk to management and the people that have been around me for years."

His focus is very much on his career and continuing the momentum that began with his appearance on the first series of Fame Academy in 2002.

Although he came third, Lemar eventually proved himself the real winner when he got snapped up by Sony and began to release a string of hit songs taken from his debut album Dedicated.

The last year has seen Lemar consolidate his position as one of Britain's brightest and most successful singing talents. As well as scoring a massive hit with the single, If There's Any Justice, he toured extensively, modelled for Burton, released his second album Time to Grow, and made his acting debut in the musical De-Lovely.

"I do feel much more settled as an artist," he says. "Getting the second album out was always going to be a nervous time.

"But the fact that I've only done one single and it's already sold more than my first album has made me feel more secure."

For now though Lemar is getting back to the bit of his job he loves best - touring. His 2004 tour was extensive and this time round is no different, with the singer on the road for much of April.

"Life on tour is cool," he says, typically laid-back. "You do your music in the studio, all the interviews, and all the TV promotion ultimately to get people to come and see you live. So being on stage completes the circle.

"Half-way through a tour I do get slightly homesick, but usually the performances keep me going."

There's little else on his mind at the moment, and talk of the third album is quickly put to rest. Although his second album came out reasonably quickly after the first, Lemar says he's going to take his time over the next one.

"It's probably nearer the end of the year we'll start thinking about that," he says. "It certainly won't come out before Christmas. I'm going to write songs for a while.

"I don't even know what it will sound like, though I do want to maintain some of the old-school elements.

"I like my music to be a snapshot of me at that time so I'm sure by the time autumn comes I'll be in the mood for writing."

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