Amanda's interview with Kian Egan from Westlife
When invited to interview Kian Egan from Westlife, there was really no question who in the ExpatWoman office would be the right girl for the job. Amanda McKeown has seen the band in concert FIVE times and bought tickets for the imminent Westlife show in Dubai within a nanno-second of them going on sale...
Amanda caught up with Kian, hiding behind a pseudonym in a hotel in Sheffield and talked to him about the impending visit to Dubai, the brand new album Gravity, as well as kiss0grams, his tattoos, Matt Damon and meeting for a pint at the IV!
Hello Kian; how are you doing? Where are you at the moment?
In a hotel room in Sheffield, we are currently on tour so we will be performing tonight.
I was told that someone was sleeping in the other room? Who is having a ‘Nana nap’?
Oh!..that’s Shane, I was in there before and we were chilling out but then I turned my back and he was gone!! I might need to grab a few winks before tonight’s performance! We aren’t as young as we used to be! It’s a hard life!! (laughs)
How’s the weather?
Not too bad actually, it’s brightened up in the UK in the last few weeks. I’ve just taken me wee dog out for a walk before speaking to you and the sun is shining. The clocks have gone back so it’s officially Spring!
So, we are all very excited about seeing you perform in Dubai, have you been here before?
Yes we’ve played in Dubai six or seven times now, I love the place. I remember performing at the tennis stadium once? Do you know where I mean? It’s an open air venue.
Yes I know it well, next to the Irish village. Will you be visiting the IV for a pint or two on your visit to make you feel at home?
Of course! This trip will be like a wee holiday for us, with a few concerts at the end of it! Can’t wait to get some sunshine. Come join us for a wee jar!!
Just you try and stop me!!...
So what do you have in store for us on the 14th April? Some golden oldies I hope?
Of course, as the years go on we have to consider the line up very carefully, especially when playing to our UK fans. You have to be careful not to give them the same stuff year after year or they’ll just get bored. On the other hand; there are of course songs we never drop; because people expect them and that’s why they come to see us. Songs like ‘Uptown Girl’, ‘Flying Without Wings’ and ‘You Raise Me Up’. We like to bring back some old songs like ‘Seasons in the Sun’; we are singing it in this tour but we haven’t sung that song since our first tour and people go mental for it!...... It’s fantastic! You also have to consider the tempo and flow of the song list, you know; people expect Westlife to be boring, sitting on stools and only standing up at the chorus!! (laughs)... so we’ve got a few ‘jumping about like crazy’ tracks in the middle to keep the party going.
So It’s been 12 years?...Wow! I feel old..! The current album ‘Gravity’, is the 11th - that’s a lot of songs to choose from and remember!!... do you have a personal favourite?
It’s strange you know, as the years pass you go through phases. Right now my favourite song is from the new album ‘Gravity’ - it’s called ‘Beautiful Tonight’ but over the years you know.. it changes as you grow up with it. I’ve been singing some songs since I was 10!! And they just stick with you. I never tire of singing the old classics and watching the crowd go wild!
So who’s on your ipod?
I love a bit of everything to be honest. I’m really into Rock music at the moment. I also love bands like The Kings of Leon. I try to keep up to speed with everything that’s going on in the music business and listen to a wide variety of genre so I keep my Ipod up to date. I like to keep my finger on the pulse, you know!
You are currently managing your wife, Jodi’s band ‘Wonderland’ who are touring with you. How are they doing? And will they be coming to Dubai too?
Yeah it’s great. I’m really enjoying it. But they won’t be coming to Dubai as they will be in LA shooting their second music video which is a shame as I know the girls would have loved to have been there. They are doing really well. It’s all happening you know... It’s been in the pipeline for the last two years, they have been recording and doing a little bit of promotional work here and there and their first album comes out on June 6th. It’s very exciting for me... Its hard work you know; when you put your heart and soul into something you really believe in and you just want to see it work.
I’ve been looking at some of the earlier photographs of the band. There were some interesting wardrobe choices over the years. Any regrets?
Yes loads; although I actually got to avoid some of the really dodgy stuff. I remember a few of the boys wearing leather trousers but I wouldn’t go near them. I’m not saying I was sensible or nothing but you know, I’m glad I didn’t give in that day!! (smuggly sniggers!!) Fashion changes so often, I’ve always tried to keep it simple and classic and move with the times rather than set crazy trends. I have certainly had a few random haircuts, that’s for sure!
Would you mind if I asked you a few personal questions? Nothing too personal; I promise!!
Of course!! Bring it on!
Is it true you used to work as a kiss-o-gram before joining Westlife?
That is true!! (laughs); you know I was making more money then, than most of my mates who were working 9-5! I loved it. I didn’t care, I was just going for it!! Whatever works for them!
I’m sure there will be a few people out there with some incriminating video footage of you back in the day?
Probably actually, but they haven’t come out of the woodwork yet! So I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that one! (laughs)
Is it true you have a tattoo on your left ankle? A Chinese symbol?
I actually have more than that; I have both bottom half legs covered in tattoos.
You hide them well?
I don’t try to, it’s just you only get to see them when I’m wearing shorts. I can’t really see Westlife live on stage in Bermuda’s!
That leads on to my next question... you’re coming to a hotter climate and will be basking in the Dubai sunshine... Are you a speedos or a shorts kinda guy?
Shorts all the way..board shorts! I’m a surfer remember!
Ok, silly questions now.. .. if you were an animal what would you be?
Oooh thats a good question, probably something like an eagle, something free you know where I could do my own thing. Or a dolphin..yeah I’d really like to be a dolphin, living a peaceful quiet life.
Who would play you in a movie?
Brad Pitt (laughs) ...I’m only joking!.. Lots of people say I’m like Matt Damon?
Matt Damon? I don’t see it myself!
No me neither!! (laughs)
What’s your favourite type of food?
I love spicy food; really, really spicy food. But I also love steak & chips!!
Any bad habits?
I bite my nails; I’ve tried to stop but it’s just too hard, you know I have a stressful life (chuckles!!)... I’m also far too opinionated. That’s a bad habit I know just gets worse as I get older.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Lots of people in the music business give you advice over the years; you know like ‘always be nice to people on the way up, cause you’ll be sure to meet them on the way down’ and that’s something that’s always stuck with me. But you know I have always tried to be around people who support me and tell me to focus on living a happy life and to follow my heart.
I have just a few minutes left Kian, and I just can’t pass up this opportunity..., given that I am actually a HUGE Westlife fan.....will you sing for me? I get nicknamed ‘Mandy’ and often get a ‘miss you’ call from my Mum singing the song down the phone...will you sing it for me??!
(laughs)..What you want me to sing it to you right now?
Go on..you know you want to...!
(sings)..Oh Mandy...you came and you gave without taking, but I sent you away...ooooohhh Mandy!..you kissed me and stopped me from shaking..but I need you today...oooohhh Mandy!! (Spoken) There you go!!..
Wow! You have just made my day! Thank you!
You’re welcome..but I’m afraid I have some bad news for you; we won’t be singing Mandy in our show, we don’t do it this year... sorry!
Oh no! That’s deeply upsetting!!
Well I’ll give you a wee shout out instead? Deal?
Nice talking to you too Mandy!! Take care of yourself.. X X X X X X ( ok...so there were no kisses; but a girl can dream!!)
Deal!... It was a pleasure speaking to you tonight Kian. Thanks for your time, you have been a good sport. I look forward to seeing you perform in Dubai!
Westlife performed at Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa Centre of Excellence on 14th April 2011.