By Mike Collett-White
LONDON (Reuters) - Still famous as the in-again/out-again member of chart-topping boyband Take That, British singer Robbie Williams says it is time to get serious as a solo artist and prove his place at the top of the pop pile.
Williams told reporters on Monday he planned a 15-date European stadium tour kicking off in Manchester on June 19, 2013 and concluding in Tallinn, Estonia on August 20.
"I'm buzzing. I'm ready to go. I haven't done a tour of this size since 2006," he said in London.
"I think it's legacy time, because I'm venturing into getting my handicap down at golf and all that business.
"I'm nearly 40, that's what I'm trying to say. I want to go and seal my place in pop history and go off and deliver a tour of great magnitude while I still can."
The 38-year-old in fact enjoyed major success after leaving Take That in 1995, producing a string of hit albums and singles including "Angels" and "Millennium" and signing a contract with EMI in 2002 reportedly worth tens of millions.
But by the time his 2006 album "Rudebox" came out followed by "Reality Killed the Video Star" in 2009, he was seen as a dwindling force in British pop who had failed to break the key U.S. market.
Williams rejoined Take That in 2010 and they recorded the hit album "Progress" before touring together in 2011, and the singer said the experience had helped give him confidence to tour large venues again as a solo artist.
"I just ran out of ideas and ran out of a bit of creativity and ran out of energy and did the textbook 'burnt out'," he said of the late 2000s.
"But I've been working really hard and I needed to do something else, and fortunately it came in the shape of my old band. A lot of demons were vanquished from the past. A lot of wrongs were put to rights.
"That tour last summer was just absolutely incredible. It kick-started my professional career."
Earlier this month, Williams returned to the top of the album charts with "Take the Crown".
Asked whether he would consider rejoining Take That again, he replied: "I haven't officially left ... What I do know is that ... if we all remain healthy then I will definitely be a part of Take That at some point. It's joyful being around them."
Williams conceded it may be too early to talk about his legacy at 38, but added he wanted to "put my stamp down.
"The fact that 40 is looming plays on my mind more than it does on anybody else's mind. Pop stars cease to be pop stars at 40 and start being old people singing, don't they?
"There is a forum for a male solo star to get up there in stadiums and own the place and I want that to be me, so I've kind of been lethargic for the last couple of albums."
Williams recently became a father, and said his daughter would accompany him on tour. Olly Murs, who rose to fame on "The X Factor" reality TV show, will support Williams on his tour.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)
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