Girlfriend magazine (New Zealand)
Westlife is back on the pop scene with a hot new album and is ready to dominate the world stage again.
Westlife has been one of the world’s biggest selling bands for the past eight years, shifting millions of records with numerous number one hits. The Irish superstars recently released its seventh album Face to Face. Shane Filan took time out of the group’s sell out European tour schedule to have an exclusive chat with Girlfriend about all things Westlife – including the departure of Brian McFadden.
For those who might have been living under a rock over the past few years, how did Westlife get started?
Westlife started out nearly eight years ago. We started off in the north west of Ireland – where we are from – and we started doing gigs and different musicals. We met through school and got the record deal and started making our first album seven years ago. Our first album did really well in New Zealand, and seven years later we are back with our seventh album, Face to Face.
What is the biggest obstacle Westlife has encountered since you started?
When Brian McFadden left the band a couple of years ago. That was really the only major hurdle we had to cross – it was a very weird time for us. We were about to start a tour and we left three weeks after Brian departed. That was the only thing that helped us get through because we didn’t really have time to think about it too much. We had to get on with the show, we had routines to learn and places to go. Other than that, we have been really lucky and it’s been plain sailing for us.
When Brian left the band, was there ever any thoughts of quitting?
No, not at all. At the time, the four of us were very excited about being in the band. Brian obviously wasn’t happy in the band and he had problems in his personal life as well. But the four of us were very happy so that was one thing that never really entered our minds. Looking back, I thank God we stayed together because this year has been the best year for Westlife so far success wise and happiness wise.
What has contributed to the staying power of Westlife?
As people, the four of us are really good friends. We have dealt with the fame and success and we have been true to ourselves. It is a job at the end of the day, so we don’t take too much notice of the hype. It’s great that we have it but we want to keep it rather than throw it away. We plan to go on for a long time yet and we have no plans to call it quits.
What advice do you have for up and coming musicians?
You have to work hard and take everything you can get. A lot of great bands have fallen out because of arguments within the band or someone wanting to go solo, so that can really kill off a band very quickly. Be true to each other and have a laugh while you’re doing it – every year is a bonus for every band, so just enjoy it.
Westlife has done songs with some pretty big artists such as Mariah Carey and Diana Ross – what was this like?
Diana Ross was great because she is such a legend! We spent the day with her making the video and that’s really the only time we saw her because we recorded the song separately. Mariah was very nice too. We got to do a few different performances with Mariah.
What do you have to say to your New Zealand fans?
Well, we haven’t been back to New Zealand in a long time. We hope you like the new album! It’s a pure pop album for all our fans. New Zealand is actually the first place we had an international number one with “Swear it Again.” We also did the launch of our first album there, so it’s hard to forget New Zealand when it comes to the history of Westlife. We are looking forward to getting back down there – we are heading to Australia in September and there’s talk of us doing a concert in Auckland, so if we could do that it would be great! If not, we will definitely have a new album out before Christmas and our plan is to come to your part of the world for promotion around November. We have a lot of fans there and would love to get back and say hello to everybody!
What goals do you guys have left as a band?
I think just being successful and sustaining our success is what we want to do. Getting back to Australia and New Zealand this year is great. They are two big countries and there are a lot of sales there for Westlife and it will be great to go back and tour. We are looking forward to it.