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Last Updated: Monday, 4 August, 2003, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Owen's third stab at chart success

By Michael Osborn
BBC News Online

Former member of hit boy band Take That and Celebrity Big Brother winner Mark Owen is aiming to carve out a solo career.

Owen is bouncing back for a third bite at musical success, having tasted it before as the "cute" member of the staggeringly successful Take That.

Mark Owen
Mark Owen says his music is "weightier" than his previous efforts
After the chart-topping combo split in 1996, Owen, 31, enjoyed a short stint as a solo artist.

While former bandmate Robbie Williams surged ahead on his own terms, Oldham-born Owen faltered by the wayside.

It was a win on Celebrity Big Brother last year that brought Owen back into the spotlight. But he denies his appearance was part of a grand comeback plan.

"No. I think people would've seen through it. I never mentioned I was doing music and didn't play any of my music in the house.

"But it reminded people of some bloke who used to be in Take That," explains Owen.

"For years I'd decided that nothing was going to happen. I'd always tried, but nothing. The Big Brother win came as a genuine shock - it was a turning point," he adds.

Owen's initial solo success came shortly after the demise of Take That.

Take That
Take That were hugely successful during the 1990s
He says that seven years on, this comeback will be a different matter, while the musical baggage he carries is an advantage.

"They're my songs and I'm not on a snowball - I need to make my own waves this time," says the musician.

"I wanted to forget the Take That experience at first, but I've come to realise it's nice that people still talk about it, even though the band hasn't been around for a long time."

Owen's new offering bears little resemblance to the chirpy poppiness of his boy band past - he describes it as "weightier".

The singer asks me what space I think his music now inhabits, admitting he "doesn't have a clue" what his audience is. I tell him male music fans are more likely to give him a hearing this time.

Mark Owen
He won Celebrity Big Brother last year
"But I'll find out who likes my new records over the next few months. I hear my song and think 'I wish I'd written that'- and I did!" beams the long-haired star.

For a performer who has 15 top 10 hits to his name, Owen is aware of the competition he faces in his bid to notch up a comeback hit - and is cautious about his chances.

"My money's on The Cheeky Girls," he says. "But it's all down to the public. I'd like my single to make the Top 20, otherwise I'd be called a flop. That'd be a disappointment."

Owen holds higher hopes for his new album, saying that his first solo collection only reached number 33.

"More than any chart position, I'd love to hear about someone who played the album to a friend, they liked it and went and bought their own copy."

"All I want for the future is the opportunity to make another album," says Owen, who appears to be a man blessed with more than one musical life.

Mark Owen's new single Four Minute Warning is released on 4 August.

Celebrity Big Brother sweeps ratings
30 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Owen wins Celebrity Big Brother
29 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Out of Robbie's shadow
30 Nov 02  |  Entertainment

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