Just a few months have passed since Westlife sung their final key change and ditched the infamous bar stools for good.
And so we were expecting Kian Egan to be in a reflective mood, maybe even in mourning for his 14-year music career. After 50 million album sales, surely it must be tricky adjusting to life after one of the most successful boy bands of all time?
Apparently not. Arriving at the Fabulous shoot, straight from his new presenting slot on This Morning, Kian, 32, is buzzing with excitement about the future. Despite being dismissed as little more than a backing singer to lead vocalists Shane Filan, 33, and Mark Feehily, 32, it’s Kian who’s hit the ground running when it comes to solo success.
So, Westlife are no more! Why did the band decide to split this year?
We’d been going for so long that it had all become normal for us, and when that happens, the buzz and passion leave and it stops being as good as it used to be.
Did things get tricky for you guys towards the end?
The last few years in Westlife were really stressful. The music industry is fickle and had changed so much since we started. Keeping the music to the same standard, putting a tour together that would be as successful as the last one, being scrutinised by the media… it’s hard.
You joined the band as a teenager – that’s a huge part of your life devoted to the band.
None of us had ever done anything else with our lives. We left school, joined Westlife and fell on our feet. The band became so big, so fast, and we did so much, but for our sanity we needed to get away from it and do something different.
Is it true that tensions in the band led to the split?
That wasn’t the case at all. The only arguments we ever had – and they were more debates than arguments – were about music. What was the best song on an album? What should be the next single? That sort of thing. We never fought about petty things.
Have you any regrets about calling it a day when you did?
No, we made the right decision. If we’d tried to keep it going for another couple of years, it could have gone bad. With four people wanting different things, we might have fallen out. We were grown-up about it and it was better to end on a high than let things deteriorate the way some bands do. Who else closed the curtain the way we did, performing to 80,000 people two nights in a row?!
How did you feel the morning after your last gig at Dublin’s Croke Park?
After partying until the wee hours, I can hardly remember that morning! That night the four of us, our partners and oldest friends went to a pub and spent the night drinking and reminiscing.
The news broke about Shane’s bankruptcy during that final tour. What was your reaction when you found out about his problems?
We were all devastated for him. He was one of those people who got hit really badly by the recession. I hope he’s going to have an amazing solo career.
I feel a sense of relief if I’m being really honest. For the first time in 14 years, I can make a decision without having to consult with three other people. I don’t have to worry about leaving Jodi and Koa at home for months on end while I’m touring. I can have a normal life.
How is fatherhood?
It’s amazing. It’s changed my world. It’s not as tough as I thought it would be because Koa’s a really easy baby. I go into his room in the morning and he’s standing up in his cot singing. We have great help from both sides of the family, so Jodi and I still get time for each other.
As well as This Morning, you’ve signed as a judge on Ireland’s The Voice. Is TV where you want to be?
TV definitely feels very natural to me. Music was always my first passion in life, and I still love listening to it and playing my guitar, but TV is a new challenge and it’s exciting. I know I have to start at the bottom and work my way up, which I’m prepared to do, and I can’t believe the roles I’ve been given already. It’s amazing.
You’re joining Holly Willoughby on the new series of Surprise Surprise, too. What’s it like being part of such an iconic show?
Nerve-racking! I watched it growing up, – it was a Saturday-night tradition in my house – so to be part of it now is surreal. Even Holly confessed she was nervous about filling Cilla Black’s shoes.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
I’m a rock fan at heart. I grew up listening to rock and heavy metal like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica. Then my tastes broadened and I started listening to pop. I’m a fan of the Foo Fighters, and have seen them play twice this year. I’m also loving Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix.
Very diverse! Should Westlife’s manager Louis Walsh still be on the X Factor panel? Isn’t it time for a new judge?
No way! The man knows what he’s talking about, and Simon knows it. When it comes to talent, he’s the one to listen to. All Gary ever says is: “Oh I think you’re great” or: “Oh I don’t think you’re good”, and Tulisa sits back as if she’s half paying attention. I think Nicole is good – she’s really passionate. But without Louis the panel would fall to pieces.
Who are you backing this year?
Ella is an amazing talent. She could be the next Leona Lewis.
I think Shane and Mark will always be singers. Nicky [Byrne, 34] is on Strictly now, and I think he’s interested in TV.
Finally, will Westlife ever reunite?
It’s not on the cards. We didn’t split with a view to getting back together in five years. If we were to reunite, it would be as a one-off and that would be it.
● Kian is presenting Surprise Surprise on ITV1, Sundays, 7pm.
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