Kian Egan: In a world of his own
The Westlife star goes solo
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Kian Egan was one-fifth (then one-quarter) of one of the most successful boy bands ever. After Westlife split-up in 2012 Kian thought perhaps his musical career was over. But now, after winning ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ the King of the Jungle is roaring back onto the scene as a solo artist with a new sound and new album. He spoke with GT about the release of ‘Home’
Tell us about your new album. Do you think it’s different to what people would be expecting?
Yeah. Well, ’what do people expect?’ is the big question. For me it was very much "Okay, so I suppose I’ll come out with a big slushy ballad" but, no. I think this is a bit more me; a bit more who I am.
The debut single 'Home' sounds a little bit country, a little bit rock. Can we expect more of that?
Well, as much as it is a little bit different from Westlife, I tried not to steer a gazillion miles away from that. I went for that epic power sound. I’m all about guitars, I’m all about all the rock. It’s a bit more Bryan Adams meets Bon Jovi; more big guitars and big strings. It’s not heavy rock, it's soft pop-rock. Every song is meant to try and hit you inside but I just went for the ones that got me, you know?
Is it tough putting your own stamp on a record, as you must have an audience that expects a ballad where you stand up from your stool on the key change...
[Laughs] Yeah, I think it’s a difficult one. When it comes to doing this, it’s something I never really expected to do in my life. I never really expected to end up with a solo album and with all this opportunity coming my way. I suppose when it did come my way I felt like I never had a lot to lose, so I wanted to do it my way. Something that’s passionate and true to me rather than something the record label wants me to do... Irish songs for your mother, things like that. That’s not really who I am and that’s not really what I would normally.
You’ve teamed up with your wife Jodi Albert [From Girl Thing] on the single ‘I Run to You’, how did that come about?
Yeah, that was a bit random. When it was mentioned I said: "No we won’t be doing that, as that sounds like a big ball of cheese!" I thought we would come across as the cheesiest couple in the world. But as time went on and the record label got really serious about it and said, “this could be really good, you should really do this.” I was like, “you haven’t even heard Jodi sing!” But the guy at the record label knew that she was a good singer and insisted we should do this together. I finally said, “Okay, we’ll give it a try and if it’s awful we won’t use it and if it’s good we'll use it.” And it’s probably one of the best songs on the album!
Were you in the studio looking into each others eyes as you sang?
[Laughs] No, no, no! We didn’t get that cheesy, trust me. I was curious about how it would sound but it sounds amazing. I said to her, "Don’t go in there showing me up now. Don't go all Beyoncé on my ass, because that ain’t gonna work here, babes!” [laughs].
You’ve been with Westlife for so long now, is this more nerve-wracking without the four others along for the ride?
You know, parts of it are and parts of it aren’t. It’s definitely different doing it on your own, running around the country by yourself. It’s not as much fun, that’s the reality of it, it’s nowhere near as much fun. It’s something different in the sense that I don’t really feel the pressure of it, as I never expected this opportunity to come. It's not really about record sales. It’s not about being hugely successful, it’s just about being able to do it.
You've been in this business called show for over 15 years and you're only 33. You must have seen and learned so much...
Well, the scary thing about it is I was chatting to my management the other day and I was like, “why is it everybody that works for me are all younger?” From management company to record labels to marketing managers I’m like “how do all these people have these jobs when they’re younger than me? It’s not fair!” It makes you feel really old. I’ve been doing this for so long now I never really expected to still be doing it and I’m very grateful for that. I think I’m still doing it at this age just to have fun. Why is someone like Elton John still doing it? Because it’s what he loves; it’s his passion.
Moving on, let's get political! Equal marriage is a big topic in Ireland right now, what are your thoughts on it?
I think it is coming. I think it’ll happen. I think we’re just a few years behind. I remember 10 years ago you wouldn’t have someone in Ireland really saying they were gay, as it was a bit more backwards then. We weren’t getting caught up. I remember coming over to England and being quite taken aback by how open the gay world was over here. I think if you go back to Ireland now it’s as open there as it is in England. But I think it’s a case of society realising that and catching up with that and the government saying, “okay, it makes sense – let’s do it”, you know? I don’t think it’s too far away. By the time England, Scotland and Wales have it, then it’ll be Ireland. We'll get there.
So, you clearly love us gayers. Can we can expect you traipsing around the streets of Soho to promote your solo stuff then?
[Laughs] I’ve been out with Mark hundreds of times in tons of the gay bars and clubs. It’s always great fun. I’m sure I’ll do plenty of the gay scene as the years go on if I’m lucky enough.
‘Home’ is out now, and is available for pre-order on iTunes right now.
Here’s the video for the excellent title-track of the album, ‘Home’.
Image: Ray Burmiston