Shane Filan and his fairy tale life18/01/2016 20:33
It there’s such a thing as luck of the Irish singer Shane Filan would admit he’s had it.
The little boy from Sligo dreaming of being a pop star grew up to be a frontman and lead singer of one of the most successful boy bands ever, Westlife, with 14 chart toppings singles and 44 million sales.
After their farewell tour in 2011 Shane went solo and comes to Eastbourne as part of his UK tour Right Here. He will perform at the Congress Theatre on Saturday March 12.
Like many this week he has been shocked by the news on Monday that icon David Bowie had died.
“It is very sad,” he told the Herald. “You always remember where you were when you find out someone like that has died, how you felt. I had just woken up, and my wife told me. I am so sad for his family. We have lost an absolute legend.”
Shane says his own “biggest inspiration” was Michael Jackson. “I will never forget the day he died, it was one of the worst days of my life. Watching him when I was a kid made me want to sing. I used to watch all his videos. I idolised him, and I would try and dance like him. I was a little nut for him when I was seven or eight years old, a little nutbag fan. I would try to do all his dances and I would get my mum to sew silver glittery stuff on my socks, like he had. Everybody has got their hero and he was definitely mine.”
Talking of ardent fans, as a former member of Westlife Shane has certainly collected a few of his own and he said: “I do have a couple you would call a bit more engaged than others.
“But when you are young you dream of being a pop star, you dream of being in a boy band, and when you are then doing it at the highest level, it is incredible. It has been fairy tale stuff and I have achieved that in my life. Being part of that band was something, and the dream is still going strong nearly 30 years later - 30 years after discovering Michael Jackson. I love that.”
Shane is himself a father with three children and spent Christmas at home enjoying being with them ahead of setting out on this nationwide tour. He admits he misses them while he is away but said: “I suppose everyone has to go away to work - I will go for a week to ten days, and I do miss them terribly. But it is part of my job. I get to spend an awful lot of time at home too - and this is what I do, it is what it is.”
Shane married in 2003 having met his wife in Sligo when they were kids. “We actually started going out with each other when we were 13 or so, for a couple of months...I think she might have chucked me, I need to ask her about that.
“We were friends. It has been amazing, she has been my girlfriend, and my wife, the mother of my kids. It is a good story, she is a great girl, and I am very lucky.”
Shane has enjoyed dropping the children off at school and going for half-hour runs on the beach near where he lives. He came out of Christmas feeling “like an absolute elephant” and has been aiming to get fit for the tour.
“Its the fresh air wakes up your head. And I don’t want to be tired on stage, it is a long show and you need to be fit for it.”
He added: “I always look forward to touring the most out of everything I do. You announce the dates, tickets go on sale, you hope everyone will come and see you. This time I am really excited about coming for the first time to places like Eastbourne, to see new sights and go to different parts of the UK. You meet new people and you see new things. And in this type of venue I’m right there with the audience - such a different experience to an arena. There is so much more enjoyment playing these shows than big stadiums. I have more fun with the crowd and I can really feel what they are thinking, you can hear someone cough or if they laugh, and I will stop the show and ask what they are laughing about, and have some fun with them. It is so different, and I am really looking forward to getting back out again.”