Mark Owen on Dolly Parton, Take That and his solo UK tour

  • ITV Granada Reports entertainment correspondent Caroline Whitmore interviews Take That star Mark Owen.

They have never officially collaborated but Take That's Mark Owen has the queen of country, Dolly Parton, to thank for his new song.

The singer, who is originally from Oldham, Greater Manchester, says he was on a "miserable" work trip in Nashville when inspiration struck.

"I went for a walk and I found this pink hotel and it was dedicated to Dolly Parton", he explains.

"I checked into there and I dreamt the song Magic. In the hotel that night, I wrote the whole thing. I say it was the spirit of Dolly came through in the song, it was a gift."

Mark channels his inner Bee-Gees in the new single, Magic, which is the 50-year-old's first record in 10 years.

It's part of his new 12-track album, Land of Dreams, which was released on 23 September and inspired by his new home in the US.

The singer lives in Los Angeles after moving with his family four years ago.

He explained: "There's a beautiful open-aired concert venue in LA that managed to stay open through a lot of the pandemic so I went to watch so many acts performing there.

"From all over the world, I saw people like Tame Impala, Doja Cat and Haim, who are a local band. It was really nice.

"I became an audience member. I became a fan of music again. That's what was so wonderful.

"I was sat there taking in the atmosphere of these brilliant musicians, brilliant artists, and I think they inspired me to want to make this record."

Mark says his Take That bandmates, Gary Barlow and Howard Donald, who toured together to celebrate their greatest hits in 2019, are supportive of his solo journey.

Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen Credit: PA

He said: "I try to send them the songs and you pretend that you're not bothered, but then I sat and watched my phone for about four hours thinking 'why are they don't responding?'"

Mark, and the rest of Take That, are now looking forward to the release of Greatest Day - a film that celebrates their music over the past 30 years.

It is based on the Manchester group's jukebox musical The Band, which made its world premiere at the city's Opera House in 2017, before embarking on a UK and Ireland tour.

The story will follow five best friends who have the night of their lives while at the concert of their favourite boyband. They reunite after 25 years and reminisce on their past.

"The movie is the big thing for us next year. It's great. We're always talking", Mark said.

Part of the filming of Greatest Day - the Take That film - was shot in Clitheroe. Credit: ITV News

The singer is back in the North West for a short period, visiting his parents and extended family who still live in Oldham.

"I went to see my mum and dad and it's really special. Every time I come back up North I get a bit more of a pull. There's just something about it for me", Mark grinned.

Mark says whenever he visits his home region he gets to meet super fans, whose devotion spans many decades.

"I did a signing at the Arndale," he says, "and a lot of the fans were bringing pictures of themselves at my mum and dad's house.

"They were showing pictures of my dog at the time and photos of the back of my Dad's head from 1989 or 1990."

And talking of fans, Mark was is for a surprise when he was handed a scrapbook lovingly made in the 1990s with a wedding invitation he knew nothing about.

Watch as Mark Owen receives an invitation to his wedding in another dimension.

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