INTERVIEW: Shane Filan Talks Westlife Days, Manager Louis Walsh and New Single 'Everything To Me'

31/08/2013 00:19

Shane Filan is best known as a member of one of the UK's most successful boy bands, Westlife, but the singer is going it alone releasing his brand new single 'Everything To Me.'

The 34-year-old is currently being managed by X Factor judge Louis Walsh, who was instrumental in the success of Westlife, and is recording his first solo album.

Shane's debut single 'Everything To Me' boasts some impressive credits with Martin Terefe, who has worked with the likes of James Morrison and Jason Mraz, producing the track and Shane and Nick Atkinson, who has worked with Gabrielle Aplin, penning the number.

Hi Shane, what’s the single about for any one who hasn’t heard it?

'Everything To Me' is about everything that’s important. It’s about my wife, my kids, it’s about life, about being happy. It’s about life in general you know, about not knowing what’s going to be around the corner but you’ve got to enjoy it and enjoy the things you have. My wife, my kids, my health and stuff like that. It’s very uplifting, it’s very optimistic, it’s positive, it’s very up tempo obviously but it’s very optimistic.  

Is it a good representation of what we can expect from the album?

Yeah it is actually, most of the album is very up tempo. I’d say 80% of the songs are very up tempo like 'Everything To Me,' some of them are perhaps even more country. But it’s one of those things when you're writing your first album and you’re trying to find your sound and you don’t know which way you’re going. You’ve got to go down the road you naturally go down and for me it was pop, folk country, just feel good music. I suppose most of my songs are very up tempo.

The single’s quite a departure from Westlife, it sounds a bit more like Jason Mraz or Jack Johnson. Was that an intentional move?

Yeah it was definitely intentional to not do just a Westlife solo album because I could have very easily done that as well and that was something that I really didn’t want to do. It had to be slightly different for me and musically for me it’s just naturally where it went. I didn’t know musically exactly where I wanted it to go but to be able to write all my own songs for the first time properly it was like you can go out and feel it, see how you get on, you meet new people, strangers you’ve never met before and write songs with them it was a very relaxing process.

You duetted with some huge names when you were with Westlife such as Mariah Carey and Diana Ross, are there any collaborations on this album?

There are no duets on the album. It’s something I would love to do in the future but I think for the first album I wanted to get my sound right, get my music exactly where I wanted it to be. I want to get a lot more singles out there. I think you have to decide you would work for me or would be right for me, who would be the right person to do a duet with. I think you only know that when you find your sound. I think that will take at least a year before I know where I’m going.  

And hear the right song?  

Yeah exactly, if you hear something you like singing and the record company would want it to be a duet. I think a decision like that needs to be made later in your career.

Have you written a lot of the album yourself?

Yeah every song, I co-wrote about 45 songs. But we wrote two or three songs in just a couple of weeks which we wanted to put forward as singles, so I think the label were quite surprised, I was quite surprised because I didn’t know I could do it as well as I thought. But I just found it quite relaxing, quite easy. It was telling my story about how I feel about life and love and just put it down on paper and then I suppose I got a bit of confidence when I knew the record company were happy with it.  

When do you think we’ll be able to hear the album?  

The album is coming out in November. I don’t know what week yet but it will be coming out in November hopefully.

Have you decided on a name yet?

 It doesn’t no, but it will have very soon. We’re just in the process of sorting that out now, But it’s great again, the record label are letting me decide what I want to call it. I have a few ideas in mind but nothing set in stone.  

Are you going be touring with the album?

Well we’re planning to next year, I’d love to do some live stuff. It’s a bit in the early days, I want people to get to know the music, get to know the album,  then maybe set some dates for later next year. But I have no idea when that will be. I’d love to tour around the UK and Ireland first and then Europe and Asia maybe after that.  

Have you decided what the next single’s going to be?

No not yet no, we’re going to be deciding next week actually. We just asked the record label about it and we’re looking at three options. It’s between a ballad, a  slow song, called ‘All You Need To Know’ and there’s a couple of more uptempo kind of ones a bit like 'Everything To Me.' But I don’t know between them yet is the honest answer.

What’s it like hitting the road without the Westlife boys?

It’s different, it’s weird, obviously it takes quite a bit of getting used to. Every interview, every question is a bit more focused. But I feel like I am just naturally enjoying it. I don’t know what’s coming, I haven’t a clue what the future holds.

Do you have more control now you’re on your own, for instance were there any singles with Westlife you were really unhappy with?

I definitely have more control because the label I think were happy with what I’ve been doing. I like the songs and I’ve found exactly what I want to do. But with Westlife we had some amazing songs. I didn’t really like ‘You Raise Me Up’ at the time we recorded it now it’s my favourite Westlife song. Things happen in life and you go through things. But we were always very involved in Westlife, we always got to say exactly how we felt. If we didn’t like something, Simon Cowell was amazing to us, he would explain why he liked a song and why the song was right.  

You stayed with Louis Walsh as your manager, why do you think you both work so well together?

I think because he’s my number one supporter, he’s always been my biggest fan, he’s always loved my voice. He was always very confident in me, always very positive about my career and towards me. He probably believes in me more than anybody has ever believed in me. He’s just one of those people and that’s exactly the type of manager I want and the type of person I want.

He’s obviously a very good businessman and when it comes to all the directing the company and stuff that you don’t see on the television. But he’s an amazing person to have in your corner so he’s right for me, he’s always protective of me as well and he’s very positive. When Westlife ended obviously and there were different things going on in my life, financially obviously I wasn’t in a good place but he was very positive on the future. He was like ‘you’ve got your kids, you’ve got your future, you’ve got your wife’ and I ended up writing songs like that.

He previously said while you were still in Westlife that you would always be the most successful to come out of the band. How do you think the other guys felt about that?

Louis was basically the one who managed me and I was very glad about that, I don’t know whether he said that in an interview or whatever but there’s no guarantees. Obviously he’s managing me so he’s going to say good things about me. But at the time we were all obviously very upset about it, but we’re all finding our own feet now, we’re all starting our careers and so far so good for everybody but it’s early days for all of us.

I don’t think any of us will have a similar career to Westlife. I don’t think we could go back and do that now, it would be very different you know, musically and stuff like that. Kian and Nicky are doing TV, different TV shows and doing very well for themselves, they’re very happy. Louis I think just said he’s my biggest fan, he’s my biggest campaigner so he’s going to say the nicest things about me.

So you’re still in touch with the rest of the boys then?

Oh yeah, we’re still really good friends. They rang me the minute they heard the song saying they thought it was really great, they were really happy for me and good luck with it all so it’s nice to have their thumbs up as well. It’s kind of cool you know because you’re in a band with somebody for 15 years you want to know what they think so it’s nice of them to give us their support.

Do you think you’ll ever get back together?

There’s definitely no plans to. Honestly right now, I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s something we planned to do when we split up I don’t think it’s ever something we talked about. But down the line you never know. 10 years away I can’t tell what the future holds. I’m sure we’ll sing together again someday but whether that will be a concert or a tour I don’t know it’s hard to say but right now, I doubt it.

You’ve made several appearances on The X Factor, do you think you’ll be making an appearance this year?

Honestly, I don’t think so, I don’t think I’ll get it this year even though Louis' obviously on the panel but it’s very hard to get that slot, obviously everybody wants to get that slot. All the artists in the world, even the artists in America, everybody is fighting for the same slot. If I got it I’d be over the moon, beyond belief, it’s probably the best thing I could get for a music show. But it’s not something I’m going to be hoping for because I don’t want to be disappointed because I don’t think I’ll get it now. But you never know, we’ll see what happens.

Would you ever join the panel today if you were asked?

I genuinely don’t think so.  I honestly don’t think it’s something I’d like to do. Obviously Louis' been doing it for 10 years but I’ve done the judges' houses before and I really enjoyed that but right now no but down the line. You know I did the JLS auditions and they turned out to be big stars so I’m glad I was part of that today that I helped him pick them. It’s an amazing show, obviously people have had amazing careers out of it like looking at One Direction. But right now no it’s not something that I’d like to do now, if I was offered it tomorrow then no I don’t think I would.

There’s been a big surge of boy bands recently, particularly coming from The X Factor, how do you think Westlife would have fit in today?

Today, honestly I think we would have done well. You know at the time when we started out there were a lot of other big boy bands still around, we had a lot of competition. But I think every band is different. I think One Direction are different, I think The Wanted are different. I think Westlife would have been the most different out right now. You know we would have still done a lot of ballads and love songs and that’s what people still love right now. You know One Direction do a lot of up tempo songs but when they did that Ed Sheeran song ‘Little Things’ that was probably their biggest song off their last album so it shows you that a ballad never goes out of fashion. I think we would have done well definitely.

And finally, what’s the best thing about going solo?

I think I get up last in the morning, I don’t have to get up first (laughs). I don’t get to do scissor paper, rock anymore which I love.

'Everything To Me' is out now.


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