X FACTOR globe-trotters One Direction are planning their route back to Sheffield. Local boy Louis Tomlinson took time out for a chat with David Dunn.
IT IS presumably a problem every musician or singer tasting a bit of success goes through... where to put that shiny award.
Louis Tomlinson, the South Yorkshire element of One Direction, was still undecided where he was going to place his Brit Award statue when we rang.
“I don’t really know to be honest,” said the 20-year-old not long after landing the Best British Single with What Makes You Beautiful. “It’ll probably be in my bedroom to start with so I can look at it as I don’t quite believe it at the moment – it hasn’t really sunk in.”
He recalls: “It was a big night, I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t even believe we were there never mind nominated and then to be winners. It’s just crazy.
“We looked down the category and the names and songs that were in that category... we didn’t think we were in the running. To win was just phenomenal.”
The band had to wait for their individual statues after the ceremony while Brit bosses had more made up. And no sooner had they taken delivery than Louis, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Niall Horan were off to the States with fellow boy band Big Time Rush and then to Australia for a promotional jaunt to repeat some of the scenes that have followed them on home turf since rising to fame on TV’s biggest talent show.
Simon Cowell, X Factor guru and boss of their label Syco Records, has reportedly just given the band, now the subject of a limited edition Nokia phone, a £10million payday for their achievements so far.
That includes becoming the first British band to land an immediate US number one with their debut album Up All Night – beating its UK chart debut – after more than 100,000 fans signed up to the band’s US Facebook page in a bid to bring 1D to their home state.
Now in Australia, the quintet have been causing a huge stir, not least with over-protective fans turning on a radio station receptionist, apparently asked out on a date by Zayn.
A former star of TV dramas Waterloo Road and If I Had You, Bessecarr’s Louis admits the schedule and the reaction to the band’s million-selling debut US single, also What Makes You Beautiful, and shows have left them barely able to pause for breath.
“It’s so strange really for it all to be happening so quickly for us,” he says during a brief break. “We’re just so grateful to have been given the opportunity.
“It’s been very busy but it’s been very good fun at the same time and I feel we’ve all learned a lot. It’s just all really exciting at the moment. Things have moved so quickly for us in the last few months.”
And once the Down Under duties are complete the lads have got to think about recording a follow-up to their massive-selling debut album.
That should be out in time for their first UK arena tour, which now includes three home county dates for Louis at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena on March 19 and April 13 and 14, 2013, having taken in two nights at London’s collosal O2 Arena.
“We played Sheffield on the X Factor tour,” says Louis, who admits he’d never really watched that many shows in the city before One Direction took off.
“The only show I’ve ever seen in Sheffield is when I went to see Busted... the first gig I went to. I was about 10 or 11, so it’s going to be weird being back there.
“I remember watching the gig and thinking ‘That must be the best thing in the world to do’. You’re in awe of them and kind of get the desire to do what they’re doing, but never in a million years did I think I’d actually be doing it myself.
“When I was younger and thinking about what I wanted to do I always would liked to have been a singer, but I never thought I would have the chance.
“Since then I wrote in our book that I wanted to be nominated for a Brit Award and win a Brit and now I’ve done that. I think you have to keep setting yourself new goals; you should never be happy once you’ve got there.”
Like JLS, One Direction were, of course, also runners up rather than winners of X Factor – they came third in 2010 –- and have also gone on to have greater success than that season’s winner.
Louis confirms the JLS work ethic and massive chart payback has been an inspiration to him and the rest of the band for what can be achieved – “completely, they came from the same show as we did and they’re doing really really well now” – and like them plans to let imagination run a little wild for their first arena tour.
“Yeah, we’re going to try and be really vocal about what we want on the tour as far as the staging is concerned, the pyros and that kind of thing. We’re about to sit down and have that conversation actually.”
Louis, one of five kids, says the band’s City Hall stop on their first headline tour – about to be released on DVD – will retain a special memory for him.
“That was one of our favourite shows – it was amazing. I always get my friends to come down to the show and I’ve got a few friends who go to uni in Sheffield.”
For now, however, Louis is happy to just continue putting South Yorkshire and Doncaster, in particular, on the map.
“I will do, don’t you worry.”