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MEDIA: SHANE FILAN INTERVIEW

09 SEPTEMBER 2016: ‘‘It was an incredible time, just crazy, proper pop star madness. Playing for The Pope, The Queen. People like that, it was just mad. We were only kids too.’’


Shane Filan is reflecting upon the success of his former band, Westlife. And what enormous success that was. Consider for one moment the statistics: 14 number-one U.K hit singles (Only The Beatles and Elvis have more). 26 U.K top ten singles, 8 chart topping albums and worldwide record sales of over 50 million. It’s mind boggling stuff. To Filan of course, Westlife are less about statistics, and more about memories, friendships, and truly amazing experiences.


‘’I’ve nothing but fond memories, I guess at the time, you ​

don’t quite realise how big it all is, it became an incredible success very quickly... doing a track with Mariah Carey, and it was only our second album..it was very far from normal and now we are older, we can look back on it and see how amazing it all was’’.


The amiable Irishman is far from stuck in the past however and is about to embark on the second leg of his tour to promote ‘Right Here’, his second solo album. It’s an album which he holds very dear. ‘’It’s an album I’m very proud of, as a second album you always want to make it better than your first (2013’s country tinged ‘You and Me’), and I think I did that. The fans seem to love it which is the most important thing. It’s slightly more pop, with a few more ballads on there. They were the one thing I felt were missing from the first album, so I wanted to focus on that.’’


The singer is certainly feeling re-energised by his solo work. ‘’I think it’s brilliant, getting to do something I love, and call it a job. I thought being ‘the guy from that boy band’ that there may be a few doors closed for me, but I don’t think there has. If anything the success I had with Westlife has given me the confidence to do it as a solo artist, and I’m finding it so enjoyable.’’


There have been well documented darker times for Shane Filan ‘’I’m very philosophical about it, of course it was a very difficult time for me, but for everyone else too, the whole world fell apart financially. I think everything happens for a reason, and I’m really happy now, with a happy family, and I’m singing for a living, so I wouldn’t change anything. Maybe if it hadn’t happened I wouldn’t have gone as quickly into it (his solo career) and missed out on some real opportunities.’’


As for the future, the singer tells me he is excited for his tour, which takes in Asia after the U.K and is looking forward to playing in Newcastle in particular: ‘’I’m friends with (former Newcastle United goalkeeper) Shay Given, so I’ve been up there a lot over the years. One of the benefits of being solo is that you have control of where the bus goes, and where you stay, so if there is something you want to see or do, you can arrange it very easily. The Newcastle gig is at a weekend, so I’ll more than likely bring the family up.’’


Shane wont be shying away from playing the old Westlife hits either. ‘’Absolutely, I think it will be around 50/50 my solo stuff, and Westlife songs. All the fans love the Westlife hits and I always want to send them home happy It’s a very entertaining and fun show, myself and the band have a great laugh on stage’’


It has been over four years since his former band split, and rumours have persisted ever since of a reunion. Filan is diplomatically non-committal. ‘’I honestly don’t know. If it’s meant to be it will happen. I’m sure it would be fun, but there are four different people with different lives, so it’s not something that would be simple to put together.’’


With Shane Filan sounding as content as ever, the fans may be in for a lengthy wait for that reunion.


Shane Filan plays Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre & Opera House on Friday 14th October with tickets still available for the tour. For more information head to shanefilan.com.


Source: NEMM