02/04/2013 13:31 BST

Charlie Brown On Switching From Songwriter To Star, Plus Working With Frank Ocean, Danny O'Donoghue And Dappy (INTERVIEW)

He's currently number 7 in the charts and has spent the past 10 years working as a songwriter for some of music's biggest stars, after being signed by 'Pop Idol' creator Simon Fuller in 2003, but you could be forgiven for having never heard of Charlie Brown, until now.

At 26, the singer/songwriter from South London says he already feels "like a veteran" after starting out at 16, but now he's finally been given the chance to take to the stage himself after A&R Rich Castillo, who was previously involved in N-Dubz’s career, decided to give him a break.

I caught up with Brown, who names John Legend and Stevie Wonder as his favourite artists, after the release of his first "proper" single 'On My Way' to find out what has taken him so long, the famous names he's worked with, and how it feels to be up against PJ and Duncan in the charts...

Did you ever think 'Ready To Rhumble' would be at number one at the same time you entered the charts for the first time?

"It's the most bizarre person to be up against. It's a really weird feeling."

How did you end up spending a decade songwriting?

"I got signed as a writer with Simon Fuller in 2003 when I was just finishing up school. I was just behind the scenes and learning the craft, I didn't know you could be a songwriter by trade... I always just hoped to get the chance to be an artist one day."

Which stars have you had the chance to work with thanks to being signed to the Spice Girl's management team?

"I wrote for Jay Sean back in the day, TV shows for Simon Fuller, I wrote a song on the last 'Narnia' movie...

"I met Frank Ocean in 2010, his name was actually Lonny then so it's weird for me to call him Frank, he introduced me to a few producers in LA.

"At that time he was just another one of the writers I met on the trip and then later went on to become this huge phenomenon. I got to speak to him at the Brits, it was the first time we'd seen each other in years so I thought he might not remember me but he did, he was cool.

"The very first songwriting cut I ever had was a song I wrote in Canada with two guys who are now the front men of The Script, Mark [Sheehan] and Danny [O'Donoghue]...

"It was to write for 'Canadian Idol', I didn't know there was a 'Canadian Idol' at the time so I just arrived in Toronto and met them and we hit it off. We wrote a couple of songs on that trip that ended up being placed on other artists' albums."

Have you stayed in touch with Danny?

"We used to email back and forth a bit and recently I read a Daily Star interview and Danny had mentioned me in it and said he was 'really pleased' I was getting this opportunity... I'm sure I'm going to see him around."

Did you consider going on 'The Voice', knowing that he was a judge?

"I don't think I was signed when the first season came out. But no, I think if I wasn't in the industry as a writer and seeing it from the other side maybe I would have done one of those shows, because I think they can be a great way to be heard... I like watching them."

Would you choose 'The Voice' over the 'X Factor'?

"There's less laughing at people on 'The Voice'. I think sometimes half the appeal of the initial section of the 'X Factor' is to put a lot of funny acts on there, whereas 'The Voice' is a lot more music focused."

So if it wasn't via reality TV, how did you finally make the cross over from writer to singer?

"I really don't know, just persistence and annoying people and not giving up...

"A&R knew me as a writer so sometimes it's hard for them to see you as an artist... It only takes one person to have a bit of vision and see outside the box a little bit."

You're touring with Craig David soon, were you a big fan of his?

"I was a crazy Craig David fan, when 'Born To Do It' came out, me and my friends knew all the words to the songs.

"It was just the first thing of its kind at that time. It was only American people who had done that before - the smooth pop-r&b-soul, with a bit of rap. I was a massive fan and grew up listening to it, so to be supporting him feels really weird."

Your sounds are quite similar, even if you are more up to date, do you think his fans might like you as well?

"I was thinking about that the other day, I think anyone who loves the first Craig David album and everything he's done since will probably be into what I'm doing as well."

And you previously toured with Dappy, how was that?

"That was my first ever tour... Dappy's fans are crazy, they just go so hard for him every single night, they stick with him through thick and thin.

"More than anything I just liked watching the connection between him and his fans he's someone who reallly puts himself out there as an artist because his lyrics are really about him you kind of live his ups and downs with him."

Did you see him throw any tantrums?

"I didn't see any of that side of Dappy. I don't know how much the press - no offence - elaborate it, or if it's absolutely true and also I'm not really aware of what it is written about him. But I just know him as an artist and a musician and from the brief time I've spent with him talking about music and the show I just thought he was really cool."

Charlie Brown's single 'On My Way' is out now.