Published by Press Association
Westlife have hung up their mics for the final time after 14 years as one of the biggest boybands in the world. Here Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Kian Egan discuss their break-up, legacy, and future careers.
VIDEO: Westlife — My Love (2000 BMG Entertainment International UK & Ireland Ltd)
SO WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO CALL IT A DAY?
NB: There are many reasons, but 14 years is a long, long time. You’ve got to remember that we started when we were kids, did everything we were told, and then what happens when you grow up is you develop your own opinions, and that changes things.
KE: We were sitting here discussing a new record deal and we just got around to thinking: “you know what? Don’t we all think this is kind of time?” Everybody felt it, everybody knew it, everybody could see why.
YOU'VE HAD SO MANY CAREER HIGHLIGHTS.
SF: Such amazing experiences that we’ll always remember. Getting our first award, performing for the Pope and Barack Obama, dueting with Mariah Carey… money can’t buy stuff like that.
MF: For me, as someone who used to have posters of her all over his bedroom, working with Mariah Carey was a massive moment for me.
YOU MUST FEEL LIKE YOU'RE LEAVING BEHIND A BOYBAND LEGACY.
SF: I think we’ve become part of a pop history. We’ve achieved an awful lot, and by ending it on such a high we’re protecting our legacy.
MF: We’re not deluded – we know we haven’t changed the face of music or anything like that. But in our world, with our fans, we’ve left something behind.
VIDEO: Westlife — Unbreakable (2002 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited)
LOUIS WALSH HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE BOYBAND SCENE IN THE UK AND IRELAND. WHAT'S HE LIKE?
NB: What Louis knows is how to put five good-looking lads together and make them work!
KE: Louis is actually more of a music man than anything else. He knows a hit song when he hears it. And he has a natural knack for looking at a person and thinking: “that person’s got something”.
WHAT BECOMES OF YOUR LIVES AFTER WESTLIFE?
MF: A solo record is at the top of my list, without the shadow of a doubt.
KE: Just normal living stuff, I suppose. I’m not chasing a professional direction. I kind of feel like after 14 years of Westlife being hugely successful, we all deserve a little break.
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IT?
NB: I’ve always known I’ll be in Westlife and give it my utmost 'til the very end, and when it ends, for whatever reason, it’ll be time to get on with my own thing.
MF: I’m not nervous because at the end of the day I know all I can do is my best. Whatever I do or don’t do for the rest of my life, nobody can ever say I didn’t make something of myself. No matter what happens, I’ve done something really big with my life.
WOULD YOU CONSIDER BECOMING TALENT SHOW JUDGES?
MF: To be honest, I’d consider anything that I can make a difference in. I don’t want to do something just for the sake of it, or just for money or fame.
KE: I enjoyed doing The Voice Ireland. The Voice UK was brilliant - up until the live shows, then it kind of fell apart. The coaches were all over the place. They were jumping on their chairs, dancing around... it’s not about them, it’s about the singers.
HOW ABOUT ACTING?
SF: Maybe someday, but singing is my number one choice of what I’d like to do. I did a lot of acting when I was younger.
NB: That’s definitely something I’d consider. I did an acting course in New York about five years ago and I made a decision that one day I’d go to the States and try to get an agent. But times change. Now I’m married, with twin boys…
SAY YOU COULD STAR IN A WEST END SHOW OF YOUR CHOICE. WHICH ONE WOULD IT BE?
NB: Probably something like Grease, that’d be pretty cool. The songs and characters are so well-known.
MF: I’d try to go for something a little indie, a little edgy. Something like Spring Awakening.
VIDEO: Westlife — Us against the World (2008 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited)
WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE YOUR KIDS TO BECOME POP STARS?
SF: Not just yet. My daughter Nicole is a good singer, she likes doing Irish dancing, but I don’t know if she’ll be doing pop star stuff!
KE: I would encourage my son to pursue a career in whatever it is that he really wants to do. If it was music, I’d obviously be able to guide him that little bit more, but I’d be more interested in just letting him be what he wanted to be.
WILL YOU GUYS REMAIN GOOD FRIENDS NOW IT'S ALL OVER?
NB: I share a serious bond with the lads, and we’ll never lose that bond. I like to think we’ll be able to keep in touch and pick up the phone at any point.
MF: There’s certainly no reason why we wouldn’t continue to be friends. We all come from the same town in Ireland.
TAKE THAT AND BOYZONE HAVE GOT BACK TOGETHER IN RECENT YEARS. WOULD YOU RULE OUT A REUNION IN THE FUTURE?
SF: I don’t think anyone should ever close the door to Westlife, but a reunion is not worth thinking about at the moment.
KE: No, I really don’t see that happening. I feel like - because we ended on a high note – it could damage it coming back and trying to do it all again. I like to think we can get back on stage together sometime, but come back and do albums, tours, etc - all of that is ridiculous.
IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO FORM A SUPER-GROUP, WHO WOULD BE IN IT?
MF: I’d like to sing with girls for a change. Beyonce, Azealia Banks, Rihanna, Robyn. And I’ll randomly put Celine Dion on the end.
KE: I’d just be replacing Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters and putting him on lead guitar!
HAVE YOU ONE FINAL MESSAGE FOR YOUR FANS?
NB: I can’t, no many how long you have, or how many words you can think of, be able to come up with the right sentence to capture this past 14 years. You’ve given me a million memories that I’ll take to my grave.
KE: Just the biggest thank you, and the biggest respect for each and every one of them for making what happened, happen. I don’t think you can say much more than that. You can go round the blocks about it a million times over, but it is just that feeling, you know?
Westlife’s The Farewell Tour is out on DVD now