A new season for Shane Filan
Irish boy band Westlife called it quits in 2012. But vocalist Shane Filan didn't want to hang up his boots yet. Ten months later, the 34-year-old released his debut solo EP with plans for an album in November. In a chat with Ruchika Kher, he opens up about flying solo
This is a new phase in your life; are you nervous?
Of course, it’s only natural to feel nervous. There is no Westlife, so it’s a brand new start for me. So far, it’s going good.
You were with a band for 14 years, doing everything together. Is it tough now, to make music on your own?
It’s not easy or difficult; it’s different. It’s all about getting used to it. Also, now, I’ve the opportunity to sing songs that I wrote, songs that are close to me, which I’ve found liberating.
Your first single, Everything To Me, has a Country-meets Folk vibe, a departure from ballads that Westlife was famous for. Was it a conscious decision to try out a new sound?A new season for Shane Filan
It would have been easy to make a solo Westlife album -- I didn’t want to do that. Obviously, I wanted the Westlife fans to like my music, but I also wanted to get new fans. So, it was a conscious decision to be slightly different but not too far.
Why did you decide to launch your debut solo EP in India?
India is an important market and Westlife didn’t come here enough. We were very successful here, but we didn’t even do a concert here. So, I decided to release my debut EP in India for my fans. I want to return for a show and I’m already in talks to be back in January, 2014.
Do you ever regret the disbanding of Westlife?
Not at all. It was a collective decision. It took us a long time to arrive at it because you don’t want to walk away from something so big, but we had done it for 14 years. We felt that we have achieved everything that we could achieve. So, we wanted to do different stuff in our lives.
You spoke about your financial crisis at the time of your farewell tour last year. Was that another factor in deciding to go solo?
If I wanted to earn money then Westlife was the thing to stay in. So, money wasn’t the reason I started on a solo thing. I didn’t even tell the boys about my troubles, until the end of the concerts because it was a very personal problem, something that I was trying to fix myself. I lost all my money but I had my wife, my children, my health and my voice. So, I restarted, and that’s what my first song is about, the fact that I don’t need anything else but just my family to be happy. It’s how I look at life now. Obviously, you want to earn money to live and to look after your family but those factors apart, I don’t care about money a lot anymore.
Was it tough for you to focus on your solo music career because of the financial stress?
Music gave me relief that time. By the time I began work on my solo album, the worst had already happened. So, by then, I was in the process of healing and I was able to talk about what is important in my life. That’s why the songs in my album are honest and truthful.
-- Shane Filan: Everything To Me, Shane Filan, Universal Music, Rs 150. Available at leading music stores.