Whether you loved them or hated them or fell somewhere in the middle, there’s no doubt that Westlife dominated the pop scene at the turn of the century. With their boyish good looks, solid harmonies and Ronan Keating acting as their manager (although I’m not sure how much managing he actually did) they were destined for success. With hit following hit the boys became a household name and its individual members became known to girls, gays and mums across the country: you’ve got the main singer, the less pretty singer, the gay singer, the pretty ex-footballer and… the other one.
However, since his triumphant emergence from the jungle in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, the other one has become known now as Kian Egan (that’s his actual name, just in case I was confusing anyone) and has released his own solo material for the first time ever. He may not have said much whilst he was in Westlife but he had the best body and he married a pop singer who was in Hollyoaks; I think it’s time we heard what he had to say.
How are you feeling with the upcoming release of the album and the single?
Yeah I’m feeling good, I’m excited. It’s nerve wrecking but exciting. But I’m just kinda going with the flow and hopefully it’s gonna do ok.
Tell me about the album, what sort of sound can we expect from you?
Well to be honest I don’t feel it’s a million miles away from what we used to do in Westlife, I feel like it’s still kind of balladry but it’s not too balladry y’know. It’s got a lot more guitar in it, a bit more of a rock beat, got a bit more of a drive in it.
Did you have a specific direction in mind when you started putting the album together?
Well for me it was about music that I love. I think making an album like this as a solo artist, coming out of a band like Westlife, it’s not about selling millions of records and doing the big thing all over again. I can’t imagine that’ll ever happen. So it was just about doing something that I was really passionate about, and that’s why the album sounds the way it sounds, the songs that I picked are the songs that I love, that I would personally listen to. So that’s the way I went about it and I just think it’s so important that when you’re making something on your own as an individual that it’s passion-filled. That it’s just raw passionate emotion and that’s what I’m trying to do with this album. I’ve definitely poured my heart into this album so fingers crossed that people hear that when they listen to it y’know?
Why did you choose Daughtry’s song for your first single?
Again it’s just that that’s the type of music that I love, that type of rock power ballad, emotional song, and all the boxes that needed to be ticked are ticked in that song. It’s not your typical slushy ballad it’s more of a kind of a drivey pushy rock ballad and that’s the type of music that I love. And for me Daughtry are the modern day ballad rock group. I think I rocked it a tiny bit it’s not as heavy as Daughtry did if you listen to Daughtry’s version compared to my version the guitars aren’t as loud and things like that. I’ve put piano on it and I’ve got strings on mine whereas theirs is a down and out rock band. I feel the rock element is there but at the same time not alienating anybody by making it too rocky.
What was the process of recording the album?
It all happened very quickly to be honest, I started recording in January. I got offered this record deal after doing the TV show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, and when I won that show I came out of the jungle, came back to the UK and got offered a record deal and before I knew it I was in the studio recording an album. And now here I am about to release it so it’s been fairly manic it’s been fairly full on.
Who’ve you had the chance to work with?
Y’know I made the whole album with a guy called Brian Rawling who’s a very famous record producer he’s made massive amounts of albums throughout his career and sold millions and millions of records. So when his name was mentioned I knew exactly who he was. I knew the music that he’d made and I think it’s important that between the artist and producer that you can talk together, that you can express each others’ feelings. Because it is a collaboration when it comes to making an album with a producer; he understood me very well and I understood him very well and I think we got a very good balance on the album, of the sound of the album between what he likes and what I like.
Was it hard choosing songs for the album?
We kind of just did it song by song, we weren’t sitting there saying we’ve got our song list let’s go. It was like we definitely want to record this song so let’s record it and see how it turns out. We recorded quite a few songs that didn’t end up on the album, some songs that just didn’t turn out as strong as the others. They didn’t necessarily fit the sound of the whole album so things like that were starting to happen here and there. This is the type of album that I wanna make and this song doesn’t necessarily fit this sound and that was kind of how it worked. We just did it song by song, I definitely wanted to record this one, then definitely wanted to record that one, so I went into the studio and recorded them all, so y’know we put them together and then all of a sudden we had ten songs and an album that we thought was the right album.
Have you chosen the singles you want to release?
I’m gonna play it by ear I think is the best thing to do, this is the first single and y’know after that we’re just gonna have to see what the reactions like to the album and see what everybody likes. So it’s a bit early to be jumping on that bandwagon so we’re just gonna wait and see.
Are you nervous about being by yourself for this album?
Well y’know it’s definitely nerve wrecking having done it the other way with four other people but at the same time there’s a lot less pressure for me personally. I think in my life I never expected this opportunity to come my way, so for me I was kind of like yeah, that’ll never happen, so when the offer came in I was like wow. It’s not about selling millions of albums like I said, it’s more about the opportunity to do it and I’ve got to do it. That’s what’s special to me, being able to do it on your own and not necessarily y’know, coming away from such a huge machine that was Westlife. It can be quite weird, but I’m just really enjoying it and just kind of like taking every day as it comes.
What are you looking forward to doing differently now that it’s just you?
When it comes to the music and it comes to the videos it’s not that I would do anything differently it’s just it’s all my ideas rather than four people’s blend of ideas y’know? So from that perspective I’m kind of like y’know what I wanna have is the guitar around my neck in the video and I wanna be rocking out with my band, I want to feel like the front man of a rock band rather than just me out there on my own. I want it to have that feel and that’s what I really like about it because it is that feel to me so I suppose that’s one thing that I’m definitely doing different. But I don’t think it’s too different y’know, I don’t think it’s dramatically different. The video is as bright and shiny as the videos that I did in Westlife but just a bit more raw, just a bit more me I suppose.
What’s been the reaction you’ve received from your fans, especially the gay fans?
Y’know I’ve had a lovely reaction to be honest I’ve had loads of lovely support from everybody in the gay community but I don’t see it as any different to anything else. They’re just people that are being really nice to me about what I’m doing and that supported me this far whether it be Westlife or coming out of the jungle or doing this solo project y’know? I’ve just had fantastic support from everybody. I don’t really pay attention to whether they’re gay or straight but y’know I’d love to get into G-A-Y and play there at some point.
Have you been in touch with the other guys to get advice about launching a solo career?
No. There’s nothing like that with the boys, we’re all just doing our own thing as individuals, I think if we were all to sit around and give each other advice then we might as well be back in a band together. I mean that’s the whole point, we’re all leaving each other to our own devices. We all sing differently and think differently and that’s what makes the world go round in general doesn’t it? From that perspective I think it’s best that we just let each other do things our own way.
Do you have time for normal things? Do you get to go for a coffee or go to the gym?
The gym hasn’t kicked my ass in a very long time, I lost loads of weight in the jungle came out f***ing skinnier than I’ve ever looked in my life which was fabulous but now I’m back to where I was before I reckon. It’s kind of like all gone downhill. But once the summer kicks in I’ll start getting back into it, start getting back into shape, getting to the gym a bit. To be honest right now any time I have off I just wanna get home and chill out with my wife and my little boy.
Well if you wanna get back into G-A-Y you’re gonna have to get back into the gym that’s all I’m saying.
I know I know.
So how are things going on The Voice, have you come across anyone yet that
Y’know this is year three of The Voice for me, this is the third season that we’ve done in Ireland. To be honest with ya it’s a bit early to call it yet at this time of year. I mean yeah I’ve met lots of people throughout the years but I don’t think we’ve met that superstar yet. It could be that they’ve not stood out enough yet because we haven’t seen them enough, but right now I don’t think we’ve found the superstar that we’re all looking for.
This interview was taken from Issue 3
Travel is such a huge part of modern life, and having grown up overseas and lived as a digital nomad no one gets that more than me.
As the world gets smaller we’re constantly looking for new and exciting places to visit that are safe and welcoming to the LGBT+ community.