Nicky: It is going to be scary, but we all know Westlife is over

18/01/2012 18:18

Byrne just doesn’t know what the next step is after calling it a day

POP AND ROCK GOSSIP with Eddie Rowley

IT’S been a dramatic few weeks in the world of Westlife – and that’s before they face into the emotional rollercoaster of their final shows this summer. Towering Mark Feehily recently announced his shock split with longtime English boyfriend, Kevin McDaid, a boyband-star-turned photographer. And The Voice of Ireland mentor, Kian Egan, got the best Christmas present ever when he and his gorgeous wife, Jodi, became first time parents to baby son, Koa.

Shuffle caught up with Nicky Byrne and Shane Filan to find out how they will cope with the traumatic months ahead as they close the Westlife chapter after 14 years at the top of the charts. The boys admit that all the Westlife lads are “scared” of what lies ahead.

“It’s not like taking a break,” Nicky Byrne points out.”When we took a year off after Croke Park in 2008, I thought, ‘I’ll enjoy my life; I’ll holiday, I’ll do a little bit of work.’ This is different: we’re making a career decision that is final and that’s going to be scary.

“How we are going to face our final show I don’t really know. It’s easy to predict that we’re all going to be sad and that we’ll cry and hug each other. But it’s the aftermath that scares us because we just don’t know what lies ahead.

“Waking up the day after our last show is going to be a really weird feeling. It’s going to be like, ‘OK, what are we going to do now?’ None of us want to sit at home shining our golf clubs.”

Singer Shane Filan, sitting on the edge of a couch in a plush hotel room, nods in agreement. “It is going to be scary and it scares all of us, but we also know that Westlife has to come to an end,” he says.

“We’re together 14 years as a pop group, which is bananas.We’re wondering what else is out there in life, having spent half of our lives in a band. It’s been amazing, but we also know there are other things in life that we’ll never get to do unless we make the break and give it a go.”

Shane reveals that all four members of Westlife want to remain in showbusiness – and he will be the first member to launch a solo singing career. Louis Walsh has already agreed to be his manager. “Shane is going to be huge as a solo singer,” Louis tells Shuffle.

Shane admits: “I know it’s a tough world out there and we are all going to have to prove ourselves outside Westlife.There will be a lot of pressure on us because we’ll all be under a microscope no matter what we do.”

Despite their apprehension about the future, the Westlife lads say they are also facing into the unknown with a sense of excitement. “We feel nervously excited that we have a challenge again because Westlife had stopped being a challenge,” Shane admits.

“In the last few years it was nearly like auto pilot. And while we loved doing the live concerts, the business side of running Westlife was draining the joy out of it for us.The business side is stressful.”

Filan and Byrne laugh at the reaction they got from some media people following the announcement of their split. “It’s like when someone dies, suddenly we were great,” Nicky laughs.

“I remember reading stuff through the years – and you only remember the bad things – about us being a karaoke band or whatever. And, do you know, probably some of them were right.

“But as soon as we said we were quitting, there was nostalgia for the group and loads of journalists and radio people were saying nice things about us. If we’d known they felt that way about us we might have stayed on.”

WESTLIFE’S last Irish concerts will be at Croke Park on June 22 and 23.