THE nation fell in love with the sultry tones of R&B singer Lemar back in 2002 when the fresh-faced singer entered the BBC’s answer to Pop Idol, Fame Academy.

Most people don’t remember that he came third in the competition, as he went on to launch a successful career racking up seven top-ten singles and more than two million sales. His last album, Invincible, achieved wide success with the title track chosen as the soundtrack for the BBC Olympics coverage.

Now the multi-award winner is heading to Bournemouth in May as a special guest of the Soul Legends tour.

Lemar told the Daily Echo: “I’ve realised who I am and where I am. Taking a break has allowed me to rediscover me and I’ve loved being able to communicate this in my music.

“My latest record is a natural evolution, anyone that has listened to me over the last ten years has grown with me and is probably at the same stage in their lives.”

But life could have turned out very differently for Lemar who had a place at university to study medicine.

“I wanted to be a doctor originally, but I had always enjoyed singing and then I had the opportunity to sing in a band and it went from there, so I guess I could have been prescribing paracetamol or something which would have been fine too, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”

He adds: “I still love performing. I would like to do more abroad, maybe release a song in America, but the fact I’ve been able to do a job I love for so long is a blessing, and I will continue do it for as long as it’s still fun.”

n Soul Legends visits Bournemouth Pavilion on May 2.