Shane Filan fine ahead of Osborne Summer Concert

26/07/2014 15:47


Published yesterday in Music Interviews. AS HE heads to the Isle of Wight to perform at the Osborne Summer Concerts, Shane Filan said he never wants to stop singing: “it’s like breathing”, to me he said.

“I can’t wait to perform. It will be my first gig on the Isle of Wight”, he said, even though the touring has been fairly relentless, starting in February and ending in December, it includes 11 dates in China and Hong Kong – his third visit to Asia this year!

The live solo career actually started on the beach at the Bournemouth Airshow last August. Few there would have realised what a big step that was and the Irish heart-throb now says: “That was a huge moment for me and my career.”

He had been part of the world’s biggest boy band, sold 50 million records, had 14 number one singles and earned millions – Westlife were on the Irish Times Rich List.

He had led an extraordinarily lavish lifestyle owning his own helicopter, a Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin DB5.

When Westlife played their final sell-out tour in 2012, however, Shane, married with three young children, was penniless.

“It’s been a very difficult few years. The band ending was a massive blow to my life. It wasn’t the best news or timing. I didn’t tell anyone about my financial situation until after the split had happened. I had small kids and it was very worrying.

“It makes you work 150 per cent harder and it’s made me more determined to succeed and I appreciate every success.

“Doing arena tours and selling out in five minutes is not normal, as I did with Westlife, but to be doing this now as a solo performer, it’s a very proud feeling and it’s making me work harder.”

Shane is philosophical about it all. He had joined Westlife as a teenager, but now feels older and wiser.

“What happened to me is my life, my story and now everything you get and achieve is more satisfying, especially finding my album at number one.

“I need to keep writing and raising my game and I must compete with the best and focus on being better and better. I think I still have to produce that one amazing song. With the first album, You and Me, I was finding my feet, but I now want to find that killer ballad. I’m looking for that one amazing song and I’m determined to find it and put it on my next album, but I must be patient because I’m only ten-months in!

Shane is grateful to his manager, X Factor judge, Louis Walsh, who has continued to manage him.

“Louis Walsh believes in me more now than anything else and you need someone like that who you trust and you know believes in you.

“We both want success and great songs and it’s a great relationship. I need someone to tell me when I’m wrong and he does that.”

Looking back is there anything Shane wishes he had done differently?

“Of course, looking back if you’d had a crystal ball there’s loads of situations you would have changed, but that’s life – and it’s your life. Money doesn’t make you happy and it’s very dangerous when you are quite young. It’s best to think I can’t change the past but I can change the future. If I can make a living from singing I will. Singing is what I love to do. Singing is like breathing to me: I’m very comfortable with it. Writing songs is what I want to do too, but if I can get an amazing song written for me by someone else I will do it, but I want to continue to learn.

I enjoyed writing the first album – it was quite therapeutic.”

Much of the album was inspired by his wife and childhood sweetheart, Gillian, who he says has been “incredible”.

“You need someone in your life who will be your rock and she was someone I could talk to about it all. It was a very difficult time as a family but we have come out the other side.

“I didn’t want to tell the band about the money problems as it wasn’t the band’s problem and it was my job to fix it. We always kept our private lives separate.

“Everyone asks me the secret of why the band lasted so long. It was down to good music, the people around us and honesty and we all got on very well.”

So is there a chance of a Westlife reunion?

“We have no plans to do it, but I can’t tell the future. We were together for a very long time and I think we will have to be apart for a very long time before that might happen.

“I’ve only seen the guys individually probably once in two years: we’ve never been in one room together since. I probably speak to Mark or send a random text about once every five months. We had a great run but I don’t have any feelings either way about a reunion.

“At the moment it’s not going to happen. In five years we might miss each other but we are all happy in our lives.”

So what is Shane’s future ambition?

“If I can continue singing and making good albums that’s all I want. I got to do it at the highest level and now I just want it continue.”

• Shane Filan plays Osborne Summer Concert tonight, Saturday, at 7.30pm.