We were as surprised as anyone when Kian Egan announced that he was releasing a solo album. The former Westlife singer even admits that he hadn't seriously considered a solo career until he was approached by a label after winning I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!
His debut solo album Home
features songs that the singer holds close to his heart, including a duet with wife Jodi Albert (currently appearing on The Big Reunion
with Girl Thing).
I caught up with Kian recently to talk about the record, his career as a TV presenter, and whether he sees himself working with Westlife again in the future. He even gives his verdict on Britney's Las Vegas show after seeing the Toxic
singer in action last month.
Hi Kian, tell us a bit about how you came to record a solo album. What was it like working on your own record?
It came about very soon after I came out of the jungle, and I got a phone call from [record label] Warners asking if I would be interested in making a solo album. At first I was like ‘oh, OK’, but as the weeks went on and we continued to talk about the idea I really wanted to do it. I’d never really comprehended the idea of doing a solo album, as I was never one of the lead singers in Westlife. I thought it was an amazing opportunity, though, so I got into the studio and started working on it. I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait for people to hear it. I think people have always seen me as more of a backing vocalist.
We’ve been listening to some of the previews from Home and it really surprised us. This album shows a very different side to your voice. Do you think this style of music suits you more?
Yeah, I think it does and that’s really what I was trying to do. I was finding songs that I really love and that I’m passionate about and trying to bring that across in my music. There are some really great songs on this album and I was really excited to record them.
Home has been described as featuring songs from your “personal playlist”. Which songs on the album are particularly special to you?
Well, I’m Ready
is my wedding song and there's a song called I’ll Be
, which I absolutely love. When I pulled that one out of the bag, everyone was like ‘oh that’s quite different’. I said, ‘I know but it’s one of my favourite songs’. I did a duet with Jodie on a song called I Run To You
and I’m really excited about that one. That is a fantastic song and Jodie’s voice sounds amazing on it. I don’t think the songs on the album are that well-known and I think if people listen to it they’ll be quite surprised even though it is a covers album.
You’ve mentioned your duet with Jodie on I Run To You - what was it like to work with your wife in the recording studio?
Well, to be honest we didn’t record it together. Jodie’s vocals were one of the last things recorded for the album, because she was busy with The Big Reunion
when I was recording. The day we got Jodie into the studio I was busy doing some promo work. It’s a shame because I would have loved to have been there.
I was down at the opening night of Shane’s solo tour last month. Are there any plans for you to head out on your own tour?
I’d love to, but this has all happened so quickly. Obviously, getting on stage and doing it live is what it’s all about really. But I haven’t had chance to get my head around doing the album yet never mind putting together a live show!
Are you still in touch with the other Westlife guys?
Yeah, I am, but everyone is doing their own thing now and living their own lives. We still text and tweet each other and congratulate each other on the things that we’re all doing.
Shane included a lot of Westlife songs in the set list for his tour: What Makes A Man, My Love, Mandy. Do you think you’d include Westlife songs in your live shows, and which would you pick?
It’s funny, because I’d probably pick all the other ones. I’d go down the road of What About Now
, When You’re Looking Like That
and probably What Makes A Man
as well actually. I’d probably do a medley of a few of the big songs like You Raise Me Up
and World Of Our Own
. There’s so many to pick from so it’s hard.
Jodie is on The Big Reunion this year with Girl Thing. Do you think there’s any chance that we’ll see Westlife on there in years to come?
I don’t think so. I think Westlife are at a point where we’re doing our own thing and enjoying life. We were together for so long so The Big Reunion
is definitely not on the cards. I’d love to work with Westlife again, because we had an amazing time, but I think it’ll be a long time before any of us think ‘let’s do Westlife again’. We were different to a lot of other bands in that we were together for so long. When you look at Take That, they were only together for a few years, whereas Westlife were together for 15 years nearly. It’s all we’ve ever done so I think it’s really important for us as individuals to go out there and do our own thing. I think a lot of the groups that go on The Big Reunion
never got the chance for a good ending, whereas Westlife had an amazing ending.
There’s a lot of conversation in Ireland about equal marriage and next year’s referendum. Do you think there’s a lot of support for gay marriage, and what are your thoughts on it?
I think it would be an absolute disaster if it didn’t happen next year. I remember talking to Mark [Feehily, former Westlife bandmate] about it and when he told me what the actual laws around it are, I was really shocked. I just think it needs to happen in every country in the world. It’s as simple as that.
You were at the Brit Awards last month. Who really impressed you?
I think Bruno Mars is the new Michael Jackson and I don’t even know if he gets the recognition that he deserves. I think we’ll be listening to Bruno Mars for the next 20 years. I thought Ellie Goulding, Bastille and Lorde were all very good. There’s a lot of new talent coming up at the moment so it’s really interesting to watch. The problem with that world, though, is that there’s a lot of snobbery and if you’re not cool then you’re not welcome.
Did you ever find that there was snobbery towards your work with Westlife, and even now as a solo artist?
I think when Westlife were together there was definitely some snobbery. Some people were like ‘come on, when are you guys going to go away?’ That was definitely true within the industry. However, sometimes I get the impression that it was more paranoia on our parts.
I saw that you and Jodie were in Las Vegas recently. Did you go and see any of the shows while you were there?
We went to see Britney and the show was amazing, but poor old Britney wasn’t really there. She has such amazing songs and she’s such an amazing artist, but there didn’t feel like there was much energy on stage. She was just going through the motions and I felt like she could have put a bit more attitude into it. There was no engagement with the audience. She actually shied away from them.
You’ve been a coach on The Voice of Ireland for three years now - are you still enjoying that? What do you think of the new coaches on the UK version?
I love being part of The Voice of Ireland
. It’s a really great show, but I’d like to do something on this side of the pond as well. I’d love to be on a judging panel over here or be involved in some way. I saw the first episode of the UK series this year and I thought it was great. The coaches are all very strong on there this year.
Obviously you’ve been doing a bit of TV work since coming out of I’m A Celebrity. Simon Cowell recently gave you the thumbs up for a career in television. Is that something that you want to pursue as well as a solo career?
I think TV was always something I wanted to do after Westlife. My agent started working on getting me TV work and I got a few things here and there. It’s been quite nice that I’ve got a few different things as time has gone on. I think my presenting has got stronger and stronger. For someone like Simon Cowell to say that I’m good at it is obviously really great.
Kian will release Home on March 17.
> Click here to read our recent interview with Shane Filan from Westlife
Watch the music video for the album's title track below:
[youtube height="315" width="560"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HyrFfO6AI6E[/youtube]