Former Westlife member to perform on 'Voice PH' finale
MANILA -- Shane Filan, one-fifth the wildly popular Westlife, is in the Philippines to promote a new sound entirely separate from the Irish boyband that made waves in the late '90s.
The 34-year-old singer recently released his first-ever single as a solo artist, "Everything to Me," which is also the title of his Southeast Asian tour promoting the song.
Shortly after a press conference held Friday for Filan's fifth visit in Manila, ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe got to chat with the heartthrob singer on his upcoming guest appearance on "The Voice of the Philippines," his influences in coming up with a new album, and whether there is a Westlife reunion in sight.
Find out below:
How many times have you been to the Philippines?
I've been here five times, so it's pretty incredible, the support we've got in Manila, in the Philippines in general has always been amazing. But this is my first solo trip, and I didn't expect anything like this at all. I was shocked when I came here and in the airport yesterday. But you know what? It's great. It's given me a little of confidence -- probably something that I needed earlier in my career.
What were you looking forward to coming here?
I guess, you know, I wanted people to hear my name, Shane Filan. I want people to hear my music, and I think it's very important to travel to countries. I think it's very important to meet the people, do the interviews and get to see your fans, because it's important to them, you know. It's not just about doing phone calls. I think it's good to go and see places.
And you know, for me, this is my... I'm only two months into my solo career, so it's very, very early. But to do a Southeast Asian trip -- the record company asked me if I wanted to -- I said I'd love to. So Jakarta and Manila are the first two cities this time, but I hope to see more before Christmas and maybe after Christmas as well.
This Sunday, we're looking forward to you performing on 'The Voice of the Philippines.'
It's huge, I heard. It's crazy! Look, I'm honored to be asked to be on 'The Voice.' It's a big show, obviously, all over the world, but to have this side of an audience in a country is massive. I'm going to be singing with the contestants, too, a little Westlife medley. And I'm going to do an interview and they'll hear some of music and maybe my video and stuff. So I'm thrilled to be on it. It's one of those big shows when I heard [about], 'Wow, good.'
Are you aware that Filipinos are big fans of Westlife music?
I know that, yeah. It's one of those things that you know... It's so far away from home, and you realize when you come to a country, you just get so much attention and so much love and support it's like... It's quite overwhelming, you know, but you leave smiling. So it's always like, you think, 'I can't wait to come back to do a concert.'
So Westlife did a lot of concerts here and we were very successful, obviously, but you know, this is my new thing. It's early days but I hope someday I can come back and do a concert. Probably next year if it's going good.
How's Westlife? Are you guys still friends? Are you guys still in touch with each other?
We're very much friends, and we're still in touch with each other all the time. We don't see each other a lot because I suppose we're all carving out our individual paths in life right now. And it takes time, you know. And we all said, 'We probably won't see each other for a while when we end the band, but we'll meet up a few years and we'll go for some beers and we'll talk about everything that we're doing.' And I think that's something that will happen.
But, you know, I miss the guys, obviously. We had great fun on the road. Even when I'm here now, I remember certain things, and you kind of think, 'I used to do that with the boys, I used to do this.' But this is my life now and we're all individually doing our own thing, and it's something that you just have to get used to. But I have amazing memories of Westlife.
People got the impression that you were the leader of the band.
Oh, no. There was never really. I think people might have thought that, you know, because I sang a lot. But I didn't have that feeling when I was in the band. I used to love singing, and myself and Mark (Feehily) did a lot of the lead vocals and maybe Brian (McFadden) as well. But the five of us were a unit, the four of us -- when we were just four -- we were a unit, we were very equal. And we always treated each other with that kind of equal respect, and I think that's why we lasted so long.
Are we looking forward to a reunion?
There's no talk, there's no plans at all, if I'm being honest. When we ended the band, we said, 'You know what, this something that we took probably two to three years to decide.' And we didn't want to be one of those bands that, you know, pretending and lying to our fans that, 'Yeah, we're splitting up,' but then we get back together two years later. It's not something like that.
But you know, in the future, who knows? We all still get on, I love the boys, so there's no reason why someday it might not happen. But I think it would be a long time down the road. But, again, it might not happen either. I don't know.
What's your new sound?
It's pop music, but it's country folk-pop music with a touch of soul. Some of the songs are a bit more soulful. I went to Nashville to write a lot of the songs, and I felt when I came back from there -- I brought a few songs back -- I brought more of a new sound in my head, of stuff that I love. I love folk music, I love Irish music. It's just the type of music that I love. I think there are some great melodies there. It's quite upbeat. Probably more upbeat than Westlife, not as many ballads, but still enough ballads for people to hear their love songs.
I think it's a little more American, maybe, than Westlife. It's not something that I was thinking of. It's just more of the sound that I went for. It's the sound... I didn't want to be like anybody else, I didn't want to sound like Michael Buble or Bruno Mars. I didn't want to be them. I wanted to be Shane Filan, and I want to find my sound. And it's got to start somewhere, and you've got to build that up and it takes time. So hopefully, you know, in two or three years time, somebody will try not to be like me and try to be, you know, and try to be their new sound.
It's something that you kind of have to work hard [for]. I don't think there's anybody right now in the world that's similar to me, and I think I've tried to avoid all that. It try to keep that sound, so hopefully... But it's still pop music.