Shane Filan talks going solo: 'I don't want to be Bublé'22/08/2013 00:02
We'll admit that since Westlife announced their split in 2011, a Shane Filan solo career was something we saw coming a mile off.
What we didn't expect, however, was the musical shift from the group's covers and ballads to the folk-flecked country pop of his new single and EP 'Everything To Me'.
Digital Spy sat down with Shane to talk about going solo, having Louis Walsh for a manager and whether he'll be involved in the next series of X Factor.
Your new single is out next week; what's the reaction to the song been like?
"It's been surprisingly good! Obviously with Westlife we struggled to get on the radio, but this song seems to be getting on a lot of stations, which is promising. Getting Magic and Heart on board is pretty big for me. It's great that the fans are behind it 1,000%."
Given it's your first solo outing, will you be disappointed if it's not a chart success?
"I'm not getting any hopes up at all. Obviously I'd love it to be a hit and get into the top ten - I'd be chuffed with that. The single charts are insane at the moment... you're definitely up against it."
You previously said you weren't keen on a solo career; what happened?
"I wasn't keen on it. If I'm honest, I thought Westlife would keep going for longer than it did - we all did - but it sort of came to a natural end. When we decided we were going to split, I thought, if I'm going to sing, I'm going to have to do it solo. Also financially I was broke, so the decision was ultimately made for me."
Louis is still your manager. Is he a different person off-screen compared to his X Factor persona?
"Without a doubt. He's an absolutely amazing and shrewd businessman. He only ever works with one or two bands at a time, but then his TV persona is funny and everyone slags him off. He is quite a funny person though, he comes out with some of the mad things he says on the show. I like that he's my biggest fan - he believes so much that I can be successful. So when I decided to go solo, it had to be Louis."
You were mostly the lead vocalist in Westlife; were you keen to avoid becoming a one-man version of the band?
"Very much so. I also didn't want to do a Michael Bublé album like some people are saying. People making that comparison is Louis' fault! I didn't want to be a solo Westlife - covers and ballads - and the reason I signed with Capitol Records was because they wanted me to write songs myself. It was pretty scary, but they put me in a studio in Nashville with some new songwriters and the results were pretty good."
We've heard a selection of your new songs and we were surprised at how stripped-back and Nashville-inspired they are. Is that a sound you've always been fond of?
"People have mentioned that it's a bit like The Lumineers, Train or Mumford & Sons. They're definitely bands I love. It's just the way the music turned out - it's energetic, positive folk-pop. I tried to keep it upbeat after all the negative financial stuff going on in my life. Getting a great melody was the most important thing to me."
So we're guessing the rest of the album is much the same?
"'Everything to me is just a splash in the pan. Some of the songs on the album are way better. My next single is a ballad called 'All You Need To Know' and it's a really, really good song. At least that's what people are telling me!"
What do the other Westlife guys make of your music?
"They've heard a few songs and their reaction has been positive. It's nice to have their approval and pat on the back. After you've spent half your life singing with a group of guys and you go it alone, it's nice to know they're on board."
You've been in the music industry for 15 years; what has been the ultimate highlight?
"I haven't started looking back until recently. It's amazing how lucky Westlife were and what we achieved. It's very rare to have seven number ones in a row. Ridiculous in fact. What I'd give now for a top ten single! You don't realise how amazing it is until you look back on it. We're all very proud of it and I'm glad we ended on a massive high in front of 80,000 people in Dublin."
Do you think you'll be helping out Louis on his final X Factor series?
"I hope so! Obviously we'd love to but it's up to the producers of the show, not him. If I'm asked I will 100% be there. When I did it last we picked JLS, and they became a massive band. It's great to have a hand in changing someone's life. If they asked me to perform on the show? 1,000% yes! If anyone is going to get me on there, Louis will. That said, it's going to be difficult to get a slot when I'm just starting out."
Shane Filan releases 'Everything To Me' on August 25.