Since last year’s X Factor final, Marcus Collins has been a busy boy. We grabbed him for ten minutes to catch up on what he’s been up to, starting with ‘Seven Nation Army‘, the first single he released after finishing second on the annual reality talent show; ‘It was such a ‘marmite’ record’, he admits, Ssome people loved it, others hated it. As it was my first single, I just had to focus on the positive stuff and keep going.’[pullquote_left]After being given such an incredible opportunity and then asked to just sit there for a week and do nothing seemed absolutely ludicrous[/pullquote_left]‘When I left X Factor, I had seven days off. It was awful! I was so bored! I couldn’t relax because I just wanted to work and I had nothing to do’. Describing himself as a workaholic, he continues, ‘After being given such an incredible opportunity and then asked to just sit there for a week and do nothing seemed absolutely ludicrous. As soon as I got the call to say the label wanted to record an album, I wanted to go into the studio there and then, and within about 24 hours I was in there.’
Talking about his dedication and drive with his album, titled, funnily enough, Marcus Collins, he points out that it wasn’t a solo effort; ‘I was bashing a song out every day. By the beginning of March, the album was done. I worked really long hours, and so did Gary Barlow, as my executive prodcuer, who was incredible. We had a lot of the same mindset so we just got it done. He wrote a song for me that’s on the album, actually.’[pullquote_right]I’m new to this industry but I’m not an idiot[/pullquote_right]Collins is also keen to disagree with anyone who thinks the album was rushed out as quickly as possible in the new year; ‘Timing was something I was really adamant about; I’m new to this industry but I’m not an idiot. I’ve got a very open working relationship with the label, I can talk to them and tell them how I feel, and it’s good that we can speak to each other like that. I put my foot down and said if it wasn’t ready then it wasn’t going out. I wanted it to be something that I was really proud of, and I am. It’s brilliant.’
He laughs, chocolate-brown eyes twinkling when accused of becoming a diva; ‘You’re joking aren’t you? My mother would slap me!’
His grounded and down-to-earth attitude certainly seems to help his boy-next-door image, which he says is a huge draw for his fans, ‘I get loads of gay people who just want to talk to me, they just want a friend and someone to confide in. It’s so cool. People just seem to want to talk to me and tell me things about themselves and it’s made me a better listener and more of a rounded person I think.’[pullquote_left]I love the gay community and I love that I can be a big part of it[/pullquote_left]Excited about the possibility of being seen as a role model for younger gay men, he continues, ‘I’ve got a lot of older friends who tell me horror stories from gay bars being raided during the 60s and how it’s not so long ago that it was illegal. So, to be a role model for younger gay people, to help them realise that there’s no stigma attached to being gay anymore means a lot to me – I love the gay community and I love that I can be a big part of it, even if it’s only by keeping the bars open’ he laughs.
Being a big part of the gay community includes taking part in the Pride celebrations of his home town, ‘Liverpool Pride will be in be its third year now, and it’s so new and exciting: The little rainbows pop up on all the street signs and the awareness of the gay community in the city makes it safer and more fun for everyone, and every year the event gets bigger and more fun. I make a point of being involved’.
That’s not to say that his down-to-earth attitude and civic responsibility are the only things drawing people to Collins – his buff, toned body certainly doesn’t hurt, for example; ‘I’ve seen people say nasty things about how I’m taking my top off to improve album sales, but it’s not true – even before X Factor, if I wanted to take my top off, I would! I just thought it was a cool picture. I’ve done a topless cover for Attitude magazine, which was lots of fun. Lots of my straight fans say it’s ‘such a waste’ that I’m gay, which I find a bit harsh – just because I’m not straight does not mean it’s a waste!’. We would be inclined to agree, if we could stop drooling.
Despite his fame and the adoration of fans, Collins explains that finding a special someone isn’t easy; ‘I’m single… It’s hard to meet people and to trust people. I don’t know if it’s my confidence or what but since being in the public eye, it’s been hard. I’m just taking some time to myself and being on my own. It’s getting a bit boring now though – I quite like having a wingman…’.
Marcus’ first original track, Mercy, is now available; ‘It’s about the feelings you get when you first meet somebody, the butterflies in your stomach when you’re all excited and you keep checking your phone like a madman. You’re just infatuated with them and can’t wait to see what happens…’.
With a body like his, weapons-grade charm and such a cheeky smile, we’re sure it won’t be long before he’s feeling like that again..