Lemar's back to basics
PUBLISHED: 13:50 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 17:13 16 August 2010
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IN the cut-throat world of pop music there are few artists who have the drive and good fortune to be able to carve out a lasting career.
IN the cut-throat world of pop music there are few artists who have the drive and good fortune to be able to carve out a lasting career. For most, the painful descent back into obscurity is as swift and brutal as one of Simon Cowell's scathing put-downs.
Soul singer Lemar is one of the exceptions. Since finishing a distinctly unimpressive third in BBC1's Fame Academy in 2002, the 30-year-old has scored a string of hit records, including Dance with U, 50/50 and Another Day, and bagged two MOBO awards and two BRITs along the way.
Now, with his fourth studio album, The Reason, in the shops and a 20-date UK tour scheduled for next year the singer is hoping that his run of success will continue.
The album is his first collection of 100 per cent original tunes to date and was put together alongside a veritable who's who of R and B producers, including Jim Johnson, Jack Splash and Salaam Remi.
"There are no covers or guest appearances on the album, it is just me," he explains.
"I feel so, so confident and happy with this record. I took quite a long time doing this, almost two years. In that time I just wanted to rediscover the reason why I did music in the first place. Sometimes you can get caught up in the business, trying to be the best but the original reason was to enjoy myself, to make good music and make music that inspires you.
"That is what I have done with this record. I have made a record that I am really proud of. It is fun, deep, current and people, both young and old, can get into it."
The first single from the record, If She Knew, peaked at number 14 when it was released last month and showcases his new-found musical and lyrical maturity.
"Most of the songs on the new album have a double meaning," he says. "There is the obvious meaning, which is if she knew how bad I wanted to be with her then she wouldn't have to ask me once whether I loved her or not, she would just stay, she wouldn't argue or try and walk away, so there's that side of it first up.
"But then there's the other side. In my mind what I was thinking of was, sometimes - whether it's a guy or a girl - they can be working really hard in a relationship but coming home late, missing calls, yet still basically trying so hard to make everything work.
"However, the other person just sees the fact that they are out all the time and never at home. But sometimes you're not home because you are simply trying so hard to get everything right for the sake of your relationship.
"So this is that person just saying if you knew how bad I am trying, sacrificing all my time and effort just so we can work out, then you would stay with me."
Whatever the future holds for the singer he is under no illusions about how fleeting fame can be. He is determined to keep making hit records.
"From now on it is work, work, work," he says. "Once the album is out, there's more singles to come, there's more promotion and there's more performance and signings. I will be just staying out there and soaking it all in."
Life is hard at the top.
Lemar's fourth studio album, The Reason, is in shops now. He will be performing at London's Royal Albert Hall on April 9 next year. Call the box office on 020 7589 8212 for information and tickets.