Shane interview - Sunday World Magazine 2007Published: November 2007
Typed up by: Ciara
By Eddy Rowley
"Shane Filan tells Eddie Rowley that Westlife have plenty of years left in them and how he wants his little girl to see him on stage"
Doting dad Shane Filan of Westlife relaxes in his palatial Irish home, watching his daughter playing with cuddly toys. Becoming a father, he tells SWM (Sunday World Mag) has given him a new outlook on life and work. And rather than drop out of the jet-set lifestyle that comes with pop stardom,28 year old Filan is embracing it all the more. Little Nicole who was 2 years old last July, is one of the reasons why lead singer Shane from Sligo wants the super group to flourish for at least another decade. "It's all about family now," he says of his life. "I think one of the main reasons we all want to keep this going is for our families, so that our children will get to experience it. I want Nicole to be old enough to realise what we are doing when she's looking up at me on stage. I want her to be 6 or 7 years old and really enjoying it, and the same for the other kids that, hopefully, will come in the future. I want them to all know what daddy does.”
"I think that's why the Spice Girls, Take That and Boyzone are all coming back. It's because their kids are going to see them on stage and totally understand what they are doing. They never experienced that before."
His stunning house on the outskirts of Sligo wouldn't be out of place on celebrity row in Hollywood. It was designed by Shane, who runs a sideline business as a property developer with his brother. The pop heart-throb and his striking wife Gillian, whom he married nearly 4 years ago, also have a home in London. "I love Sligo more than any other place in the world”, Shane stresses. "No matter how big we get, I still get treated the same by all my neighbours. They treat me as Shane from Sligo and they allow me to be me when I'm away from Westlife." "I can have a normal life here. It's the one thing I'm glad about. We never played the paparazzi game or the media game, only for Westlife stuff. We haven’t done Heat Magazine and all that crap. It's not our scene. I think that’s the reason we have such a brilliant life outside Westlife; just a normal everyday life. And I think that's the reason we are still together. That’s why we are settled and have families.” "Of course, there's the odd time Westlife fans turn up and ring the door. But you expect that too, and it's not the worst thing in the world."
Westlife had a long lay-off this summer to give Nicky Byrne time to bond with his twin sons Jay and Rocco. "Its the longest time we've had off, about 3 months and to be honest we were dying to get back at the end of it," Shane admits.
"Next year we're planning on taking 9 or 10 months off. Mind you, we will probably be going off our heads after 4 or 5 months. It's not that we want time off from Westlife, but we need to spend time searching for good songs. Our latest album is mostly original material, and we feel that's the way forward for us. We want to make better albums and take more time to make them." "We've done 9 albums in 9 years and I don't know any other group that has done that. We want the group to last we don't want to burn out. We see Westlife going for the next 5 to 10 years, but we have to pace ourselves."
Shane reveals that Take That's triumphant return has reinforced the view that Westlife can continue indefinably. "Take That coming back is the best thing that ever happened to us confidence wise. We now see that we can have a long furure. They are 10/11 years older than us so it shows that fans do still want you, no matter how old you are, if the music is good enough, and that’s why we don't want to be making cover albums just to have on the shelves."It can't be about that for us anymore. It has to be about great music and what we were famous for a few years ago with songs like Flying Without Wings, My Love, World Of Our Own and Swear it again..... big massive original songs.”
"Gary Barlow is someone I have looked up to for a long time. I think he's an amazing singer and songwriter aswell. We aren"t song writers ourselves, so we've had to go out and get them through other people" X-Factor music mogul Simon Cowell is the man who picks all of Westlife's singles and despite his personal success through TV in Britain and America, Cowell still has a hands on role with the group.
"Simon has never taken his hands off Westlife," Shane reveals "him and Louis are always the ones who pick the songs and come up with the ideas for singles. It's always down to him, he has the final say. He's the person who wanted us to do Home, our new single. He thought it was a great song and it was under achieved, it was never a big massive hit and he said why don't you try it?... and it turned out to be a brilliant version of the song.”
"I think the reason Simon is still so close to Westlife is that we were his most successful music act by a mile. He knows that and I think that"s why he loves the fact that he picked the hit singles.""To a certain degree it's about Simon and it's like he is proud of Simon. Louis should have at least half the credit, but Simon will take 90% of the credit. It"s not in a bad way it"s just the way that he is, and he laughs at himself too. But he sees his stamp all over Westlife. He says he found us-even though Louis found us, and he signed us...and he still loves that.”
"No matter how much money he makes - and I think Westlife to him money wise is just pocket change at this stage compared to his other earnings-he still wants to take control of the music we make....and he loves us getting number ones. Everytime we get a no.1 he's delighted. 'I was right again kiddo!' he'll say. He loves all that."
"Simon is a workaholic and he believes 100% in what he does. He has a passion for what he does and he pushes himself to the limit, he wants to be the best and that rubs off on us too."
"He's brilliant on TV and everyone loves his personality, he is a superstar and deserves every penny he gets."
Westlife's relationship with their manager Louis Walsh is also stronger then ever. "When I was growing up, Boyzone were big and Louis Walsh was the man to make all your dreams come true in terms of being a popstar" he recalls. "When we got him to be our manager that was an amazing feeling. Since then, he has gone into X-Factor. It's not because he wants to be a TV star. but it gives him an awful lot more power in the music industry." "He's got a million more contacts than he had 4 years ago. It has broadened his power off the board, and that can only be good for his acts including us!"