Globe columnist Peter Grant meets Liverpool's Marcus Collins - the one time X Factor star who is coming home for a Hair-raising experience at the Empire...

From the X Factor to Hairspray and the award-winning Kinky Boots and now love and peace musical Hair - Crosby's Marcus Collins is gaining a a solid reputation as an all-round accomplished performer.

Marcus, at just 30 years old, is already a stage and music industry veteran.

Now he is one of the undoubted stars of the controversial musical Hair which first shocked and stunned audiences 50 years ago.

"It is frightening that what it had to say then about sexuality and racism back then to is still relevant today," Marcus tells the Globe.

"The musical is set in 1969 when people were expecting the draft call up for the Vietnam War. The show is about a group of fun-loving hippies from New York City. I play Hud one of the

characters who gets their moment to tell their own story."

Hair hit the headlines for it's drug references, powerful protest theme and it's full frontal nudity.

Just as importantly it created some timeless songs as well as a narrative that many - including Marcus - believe is so sadly relevant today.

The songs include The Age of Aquarius and Let the Sun Shine In.

Marcus is loving every minute of the tour where he displays what one critic called his 'magnetic' singing and dancing.

In his successes to date Marcus has already achieved great heights.

Wirral Globe:

The passionate star says he has 'hammered' himself with his hard work-load to make even greater artistic achievements.

He became a firm favourite on X Factor right from the outset and his talent was nurtured by his mentor, Gary Barlow, who gave him plenty of tips about how to deal with the pressures of fame.

On that show Marcus proved himself adept at putting in startling musical performances, moving through different styles and genres of music.

However, it was his slick interpretation of Motown and soul classics that assured him a place in the final, where he got to sing his series showstopper ‘(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher’ as well as teaming up with Gary for a spectacular duet.

After finishing as runner-up to Little Mix, Marcus was immediately snapped up to begin recording and released an album which included the critically-acclaimed cover of The White Stripes hit ‘Seven Nation Army’ which also became his first top 10 single.

Now he says more studio time beckons in August when the tour is over.

"I want to prove that there is more to me than The X Factor."

Marcus wants to progress even further in musical theatre and is also in talks with the BBC about other projects.

For now he is looking forward to playing a venue that is dear to his showbiz heart

"I am bubbling about coming home. I fell in love with the Empire 20 years ago seeing Les Miserables when I was just ten."

And it seems theatre runs in the family.

He is inviting his 92-year-old theatre mad grandmother to the show.

"I have invited family and friends to the last night in my hometown. Then it's two weeks off with a holiday.

"Time to really let my hair down..."

Hair at the Liverpool Empire from 20 to 25 May.

Tickets are available via the Empire Box Office on 0844 713 017.