‘Manchester has been calling me’: Take That’s Mark Owen pining for home from LA

He might have been soaking up the Los Angeles sunshine of late, but Take That’s Mark Owen admits he finds himself pining for Manchester. The Oldham-born star has made himself at home since moving across the pond with his family. But with all the excitement Manchester has to offer and loved ones being close by, Mark still finds himself drawn to the city. “Recently I’ve been back to Manchester a few times and it’s funny because there is something about the place,” he says.

“I don’t know whether if I’m at that point of my life, but I’ve been sort of getting a calling.” He adds with a laugh: “Manchester has been calling me. It’s strange because I never expected it.” READ MORE:Where should Eurovision 2023 be held?

Mark’s love for the city grew stronger during Take That’s last tour, Odyssey, when the band spent a week in Manchester. “I remember really enjoying it and re-discovering the city in many ways,” Mark says. “It’s really nice to go back there. “My family are still in and around Manchester and my Mum and Dad are there so I get to see them. At some point in my lifetime I’ll think I’ll end up back there.”

Take That performing in Manchester three years agoTake That performing in Manchester three years ago

There is, of course, one key drawback.

He sighs: “It’s just the rain. I’ll have to buy a raincoat or an umbrella, but I’ll be back.” While it’s a famously common occurrence in Manchester, the rare rainfall in LA often leaves people bewildered. “I have this old truck and it leaks and when it rains in LA my seats get watered,” says Mark.

“The winder is broken on my left window and I have to push it up with my hands. It doesn’t rain very often in LA, but when it does, LA does not know what to do.” Los Angeles has inspired Mark’s forthcoming album Land Of Dreams , which comes out in September to be followed by live dates in October.

Mark says: “I was working with people I hadn’t worked with before and in studios I had never worked in before and that was what I think I was looking for – inspiration and trying to do new things. “I’ve been doing music for 30 years and, you know, you’ve been in a lot of the music studios in the UK and you’ve worked with a lot of the same people, but I think it was important for me to try to do something different. “I met this wonderful producer called Jennifer Decilveo and she’s from Jersey and she’s really cool.

She’s brilliant and she’s worked with some amazing artists, people like Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and Anne-Marie and she’s won a few Grammys in her time so it was really exciting for me to be around that energy. “She was brilliant in the studio, very creative, very inspiring. I think you can hear that in the record.

I think you can hear that I’m having a good time. I think it’s 10 years since the last album. A long time, but I tell you what, it’s worth the wait.”

Mark has won eight Brit awards, scored 12 UK number one singles, eight UK number one albums and sold more than 45 million records as part of pop group Take That. He has also released several solo albums and says working apart benefits the band.

Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen of Take That attend the photocall of "Greatest Days" during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Majestic Beach Pier on May 18Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen of Take That attend the photocall of “Greatest Days” during the 75th annual Cannes film festival at Majestic Beach Pier on May 18

“I think it is good for us all to do our own projects, our own things, and it makes it exciting when we all come back together and share our stories. I think it’s important.

We are hoping to be back in the studio later this year and I know everyone is excited already.” Mark won Celebrity Big Brother 20 years ago and laughs at some of his early looks. He says: “I saw some footage of our first television show recently and I had this bleached blond hair.

Our manager at the time had an arrangement with this one salon in Manchester to go and get our hair cut and I think they tried all these products out on us and I had this bleached blond hair with a little side quiff. “I saw some footage of me with that wearing this red jacket. It is insane when you see things like that.

When I got my hair done – and it didn’t stay bleached blond very long – I was out in Oldham and friends from school did not recognise me and walked right past me at the bar. I had to yell ‘Hey, I’m here’.” The father-of-three says he does not tend to show his own children too much of Take That’s early days. “They come across it obviously now and again and they have a chuckle at some of the outfits I used to wear that’s for sure,” he says.

An early press photo of Take ThatAn early press photo of Take That

“There was a bit of a phase recently America when crop top T-shirts came back and one of my daughters wanted one.” He laughs: “I showed them a picture of daddy wearing a crop top, which I think has put her off forever.

I feel like I set off a trend… it just took 20 to 25 years to hits the masses. But I was the instigator of the crop top T-shirt.” Mark turned 50 this year and is planning to celebrate throughout 2022. “I am celebrating all year,” he says happily, “this interview is part of my celebration.

“I might even extend celebrations into next year. When people ask me what I did for my 50th I can say I played some
festivals, some concerts around the UK, I made a record. It’s lining up to be quite a good year.

“What’s nice, if I’m really honest, is to have some things in the diary. When people say ‘Oh, can you come here on Thursday’ I like to say ‘I can’t, I’m busy working that week’. Good times.”

Mark Owen will be appearing in concert specials in October.

Go to markowenofficial.com for further details.

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