Shane Filan 'excited' ahead of first-ever Llandudno visit14/01/2016 21:20
Singer-songwriter Shane Filan is looking forward to his first ever taste of Llandudno as his Right Here tour comes to North Wales in March.
The 36-year-old enjoyed worldwide success with boy band Westlife before embarking on a solo career when the group split in 2012 – releasing his second studio album Right Here in September 2015.
The album cements the Sligo-born Irishman's place as one of the UK's most popular male solo artists with Filan 'excited' for his trip to the region on March 23.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Post he said: “I've visited Cardiff and Swansea a lot, been on holidays to Wales when I was younger while I have family in Pontypridd - but I've never been to Llandudno so I'm excited to go somewhere new and see a new crowd and new faces.
“I definitely want to look around (before the concert) and always want to see new places – somewhere you might not drive through that often. I'm thinking it's a bit like Sligo - a beautiful spot. I'm really looking forward to it.”
After 14 years in Westlife, Filan endured a tumultuous 18 months once the band split, finding himself bankrupt and staring at a bleak future after losing it all with property investment.
And the singer readily admits his solo career became a necessity rather than a luxury in order to provide for a young family and get his life back on track.
Speaking candidly throughout, Filan said: “It was something I never really thought of when I was in Westlife – why would you when you were in one of the biggest bands in the world?
“But when it stopped I had one choice – to sing. I didn't really want to do anything else and I was in a position to do it so I just went for it.
“There was probably a financial necessity at the time – I had a family to support and a whole life to rebuild.
“But it made me more focused because it was so serious - I needed to forge a career for myself and it wasn't just be a case of trying something new for the craic."
With former band mates Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne taking part in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here and Strictly Come Dancing respectively, the reality-TV route was something Filan had offers to do but something that never appealed.
He said: “You name it I got offered it but it was never something that interested me. It's just not the type of person I am – I wouldn't jump out of a plane for starters so I think I'd have to leave (I'm a Celebrity) straightaway.
“Kian did it and did really well but it was always something he wanted to do while Nicky was brilliant on Strictly but for me it's just about singing – I love to sing and that's all I want to do.”
His ensuing debut album, You and Me, was released in November 2013 and can arguably be seen as a 13-track love note to his wife Gillian Walsh – a claim Filan does not deny.
Filan explains: “It is probably about 99% Gillian – although I didn't set-out to write like that. I had a lot of ideas and lyrics in my head and just wrote about what I knew – I didn't want to make things up, I wanted to write about my actual life and writing songs about my wife just came out naturally.
"It felt right and I think I've got some great songs out of it that I am proud of”.
It is clear how much Filan's childhood sweetheart means to him and how she has helped the singer through some dark days during the bankruptcy.
The ever-philosopical singer added: “It was very much a scary and difficult time but I've got three healthy, beautiful children and a beautiful wife so in all my life was great – my problem was money so it wasn't the end of the world.
“At the time it seemed really bad but you've just got to keep going - I made an album and three year's later I am still going strong. I'm on my second album and second tour so things are going in the right direction.
"Whatever happens in life and how bad things are you've got to be happy that you're alive and well. That's what life is all about, not money.”
And the self-reflective, positive approach is clearly echoed in Filan's latest album, Right Here – although the singer believes the material is a lot less personal than his debut offering.
“I didn't want to write everything about Gillian again because you have to challenge yourself with different things and I wanted to see what I could do lyrically if I put myself out of the equation.
“There's a lot on the album that are just about circumstances and relationships - I Can't Get Over You is about losing someone in your life and a perfect example of a simple song, with a simple melody, straightforward lyrics but so powerful in it's sadness.
“It's a song I love and one I will probably sing on tour as it's one of my favourites on the album.
“Granted, Right Here (the song) is actually one that is about my family, my wife and kids and is self-reflective and personal but a lot of the others aren't.
The singer also wrote his autobiography My Side of Life ahead of penning material for the second album, believing it to be a cathartic in the songwriting process.
He said: “Doing it helped as I opened up 1,000% and got everything else off my chest and got me to a happier place before saying 'Right, let's just have some fun and make a great pop album now'.
“Me and the Moon (from the album) is a perfect example and that's the great thing about being a solo artist – you can really have fun, experiment and challenge yourself.”
And with Filan enjoying a new-found creative freedom there is little chance of Westlife forming anytime soon: “There's no plans at the moment – we do all keep in touch but we haven't all been together in the same room for about three-and-a-half years.
"We all ended on good terms, we're all still friends. There's no bad blood and when I think of the band I think of only happiness, happy thoughts and good memories.
“In the future, you never know - although if we came back when we were somewhere in our 50s or 60s we'd definitely have to have some serious reinforced stools to support us! But funnier things have happened."
Despite what will be an obvious disappointment to Westlife fans, Filan does promise a number of the boy band's hits will feature prominently on the Right Here tour.
Filan said: “I've literally just started doing the set-list and going through different ideas. There will definitely be Westlife songs without a doubt – I love singing them and I know the fans love them too.
“I think a third of the show will be Westlife songs and I'll mix them up through the show with my solo stuff and a couple of covers too just to surprise people.
“I have great memories of Westlife, it was such a huge part of my history and the reason I am on that stage. If I didn't do them I think it wouldn't be a good show because fans come to hear part of your history and you have to give them what they want."
Shane Filan will be performing at Venue Cymru on Wednesday March 23. For more information or to book tickets visit the Venue Cymru website.
Source: Daily Post