Joanna Davis speaks to Shane Filan15/01/2016 22:10
He's been there, done it all, lost it all and now he's back from the brink with a new hit album and a tour taking in Dorset. Joanna Davis speaks to Shane Filan.
I've only managed to bag an interview with heart-throb Shane Filan!
Although I was never of the age to fully appreciate Westlife, (I always thought bar stools were better left sat upon than rising from to sing a ballad key change) my heart is aflutter as I race to the only phone in the building that will make international calls to dial Ireland.
I have 15 minutes to speak to Shane and I can practically see those Irish eyes smiling as he picks up the call and asks me how I am - twice.
The Westlifer turned solo artist is about to embark on his second solo tour called Right Here, in which he will call in at the likes of the Southend Pavilion, the Reading Hexagon and - curiously - the Leisure Centre in Inverness.
Of course, Shane will be stopping off in Dorset on this 19 date tour, calling into the Bournemouth Pavilion on March 8.
The dad-of-three, who played to arenas in the band's heyday, is very much a man who appreciates the smaller venues these days.
In the more intimate settings, those true fans can look him in the eye and Filan is infinitely grateful to them for sticking with him.
He tells me: "Every time I do a show I want to try and make it better and make it something the fans are going to remember.
"I want this show to be better than the last one.
"A lot of the Westlife fans who have grown up with us will come and see it.
"It's great that they are still there supporting me and it is so good to be able to be at these venues, to be closer to the fans and to be able to see their faces having fun and singing along."
Bournemouth is a special town for Shane to visit, having toured to Dorset before as a support act for Boyzone, the balladeering Irish boyband who paved the way for Westlife.
"I'm really looking forward to going there on the tour.
"Westlife were the support act for Boyzone and the first ever solo show I did was there and I went there on my last tour, so Bournemouth has been the setting for a few things."
As Shane mentions the first solo concert he did, I remember I was there that night, trudging across Boscombe beach with two drinks in tow in a hurry to catch Blue at the Nights on the Pier segment of the Bournemouth Air Festival and I arrived just as he was winding up.
I bite my tongue - as any self-respecting Blue fan should.
Instead, I suggest that Bournemouth is a home from home for Filan, hailing from the coastal seaport of Sligo.
Shane says: "I live by the sea at the moment and when we used to live in Cobham in Surrey, we used to come down to Bournemouth with the kids and it was lovely."
So for those who are planning to catch the Right Here tour in Bournemouth, what can they expect, I ask.
"We'll be doing about four or five songs from the new album and some other solo stuff and some Westlife stuff as well.
"It's so important to add that in, to have the songs they know the words to.
"And then I'll be doing some covers they wouldn't expect as well."
Shane said he is now extremely grateful for everything he has - his wife, three children and the chance to be earning a living as a solo artist.
He says: "I'm so lucky to be able to be a solo artist and be doing these venues.
"I love playing at these venues and I love being on stage and I love singing."
Shane recently joined forces with fellow Irish star Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud to record duet I Could Be.
The track appears on the album Right Here.
And if Shane could choose anyone else to duet with, who would it be?
"I'm a huge fan of Bryan Adams, I love his music. He's one of my recording idols.
"I would love to meet him, he's a huge influence on me and he has a wonderful back catalogue."
Westlife experienced phenomenal success at the height of their fame, chalking up 14 number ones.
But Shane's world has moved on significantly from the screaming girls and whirlwind global tours - the family man is happiest having a simple day of pleasure with his nearest and dearest.
"We had a wonderful day together recently as a family. We went down to the beach with the dog, it was a crisp January day, nice and sunny.
"We went for a long walk and came back and watched a Harry Potter movie and had some popcorn.
"It is so nice to have those kind of days."
And being green-fingered myself, I mention to Shane I read that he's hoping to get into gardening.
I want to share that I have tulips and mini daffodils coming up but I have to remember that I have just three minutes left in my allotted time slot.
"What have you grown yet?" I ask.
"Nothing....yet. I do love gardens in general, I love to see them when they are cut.
"I do want to get into it a bit more as I learn a bit more about it."
Shane wrote around 60 songs for his most recent album.
Does he sit down to write them, I ask, or are they always popping into his head on a daily basis?
"I do a bit of both. If I think of something, a melody, singing into my phone, I put them into my notes.
"I'm not always walking around singing!"
At this point Shane's wife Gillian interrupts and tells him - "yes you are."
"I try not to though!" he protests.
"But I do always have a few ideas as I'm walking around. You do get into a bit of a zone."
Next up for Shane will be promoting his album in Asia after the tour and eventually another album.
"But now I really want to focus on the shows. I've seen the stage design and it's brilliant and I'm just so excited.
"I'm going to make sure it's the best one yet."
*The Shane Filan Right Here tour is at the Bournemouth Pavilion on March 8. Contact the box office for tickets.
Source: Bridport News