After a three-year hiatus since his last album, R&B star Lemar is back with his sixth studio album, ‘The Letter’, which was released on October 9. He is about to embark on a two-month UK tour supporting Will Young starting at the end of this month.
The Tottenham-born musician, who finished third on the first series of British talent show Fame Academy in 2002, has had seven top ten UK singles since then, including ‘If There’s Any Justice’ and ‘50/50’. He’s also sold well over two million albums, making him one of Britain’s most successful male solo artists.
We caught up with Lemar to talk about the release of the new album, his love of Tottenham Hostpur, and whether he’d rather headline Wembley as a musician, or score the winner for Spurs in a cup final there!
So Lemar, your new album, ‘The Letter’, was released earlier this month. For those who haven’t had chance to hear it yet, what can fans expect?
“It’s just full on soul. I always knew at some point I’d make a record that celebrates my influences and people that have inspired me, and it’s my sixth album so I thought now would be a good time. It’s just a full on soulful album and if someone’s into soul they’re going to love this one.”
You’ve got a tour coming up with Will Young. Both of you came from TV talent searches in Pop Idol and Fame Academy. Have you toured together before?
“No, I’ve never toured with him before. I have bumped into him on the circuit once or twice and he’s a really nice lad, so I’m looking forward to that. I’ve just finished a small tour of my own before the release of the album to celebrate getting back on the scene and this is a nice follow up. My set’s probably going to be a little short acoustic one to warm up for his main show. I think it runs from October 29 all the way through November. It’s quite a long one!
Are there any plans for your own tour later on in the year?
“Yeah man I’d love to, that’s the plan. At the moment we’re focusing on just getting the ball rolling, as it’s been three years since my last album. Once that’s done, the intention is to release a few more singles from this album and then get back on the road, possibly next year in England and in Europe.”
Moving on to football. You’re a Tottenham lad and obviously a massive Spurs fan. What’s your earliest memory of watching them?
“I don’t have an earliest memory of going to a match or anything, but I just remember the kits my dad used to buy us. I remember the shiny light blue one we had and I’ve got a picture in the park when I was really little standing in that shirt. Yeah that’s my earliest memory, I don’t even remember when I first started supporting Spurs, it was just a default in the family, living so close to the ground it was just what we did.
It’s been a mixed bag of results for Mauricio Pochettino so far at the Lane. What do you make of him as a manager?
“I think he’s a good manager. I think for what he’s got, and the kind of money he’s allowed to spend, he’s made some good decisions. He seems to have a more softly, softly approach than previous managers but I think it’s working. The team that we’ve got this season is on the younger side but they have been showing glimmers of brilliance. It would be nice for us to get a bit more consistent. Obviously I liked the 4-1 win against Man City, that was good, but we need to stop following up results like that with draws against teams that we should be able to beat.”
And as for star man Harry Kane, do you think he is a one season wonder or do you think he’ll find his goalscoring touch again?
“I think he’s going find it again. The pressure of having that great season last year where he was scoring goals for fun left, right and centre, part of that was because of the lack of pressure he originally had and no one expected much. Once he started scoring, this expectation was heaped on him and he’s dipped in form a little bit this season. But I do think it’s still there and fingers crossed he can team up with Eriksen and we can slaughter some teams.”
What’s your best memory of being a Tottenham fan?
“I remember the day my daughter was born. I was bringing her home from hospital, and on the day she was coming home, Tottenham were playing Arsenal. My lady is an Arsenal fan and I’ve always said the kids are going to support Tottenham and she was like, ‘No chance – if we’re going to spend the most time together they’ll have to support Arsenal!’ So I said ‘Alright, Arsenal are always beating us so how about if Spurs win today, the kids are Tottenham?’ And we beat them 5-1! And I was like ‘YESSSS!’ So yeah, that was pretty awesome.”
And your worst?
“The worst? Well any time we get beaten by Arsenal as that divides my household! It’s really not an enjoyable time in the house as I’ve got a gloating lady. All of the losses are the worst!”
What rival team player would you like to see at Spurs most?
“(Without hesitation) Aguero! Yeah I love that geezer, he’s amazing…he’s amazing! I saw that record he got the other day where he scored five goals in under eight minutes or something against Newcastle – wow! He’s unbelievable, he’s a typical strikers’ striker. I like him.”
What’s your favourite piece of Tottenham memorabilia (if you have any)?
“I’ve got a Tottenham mug, and whenever we win I just sit there and sip very smugly from it in front of the lady. So I’d say that’s the most used piece of memorabilia.”
How hard is it being with an Arsenal fan?
“Yeah it’s harsh at times. I won’t be too cold though, it’s all tongue in cheek, but you want to keep the little ones motivated supporting their team. You know how kids are – they just want them to score every minute! So I have to find different ways to motivate them on the odd occasions that we do lose.”
Who would make your Top 5 Tottenham players in your lifetime?
“Paul Gascoigne is one of the best players in England ever, so I’d say Gascoigne, Lineker – yeah Lineker was good – Teddy Sheringham, David Ginola and Chris Waddle.”
All old-school choices then?
“Yeah… Oh wait no, no, no! I will put Bale in there; how could I forget? Take out Waddle and put in Gareth Bale.”
Are you excited about the move to the new stadium in a few years? Or would you rather see White Hart Lane redeveloped like Liverpool are doing with Anfield?
“I’m not too bothered as the new ground’s still in the same area, it’s just round the corner and feels like a road away. It’s still in Tottenham and it’s a big boost for the fans. It’s going to bring new money to the place, so for the local residents it’s only a good thing. There are some residents that are missing out as the expansion means some houses and businesses have to go, but overall it’s a big thing.”
And finally, headlining Wembley Stadium as a musician, or scoring the winner in a cup final there for Spurs?
“Ooo… Oh that’s a hard one! I’m just a singer man! You can’t put Wembley in front of me – COME ON! Do you know what I’d rather? I’d rather Tottenham win with Harry Kane scoring the winning goal, and straight after it’s my headline show celebrating the fact we’ve just won a trophy.”
What about scoring the winner against Arsenal in a cup final then?
“Well you know I’d probably be on the pitch, I’ve got to be on the pitch for that one! That’s bragging rights for life!”
Brand new album ‘The Letter’ out now – www.lemar-online.com