As his former Westlife bandmates gear up for their 20th anniversary reunion tour, Brian McFadden has no time to feel left out. He’s embarking on a special tour of his own, one to support his upcoming tribute album, Otis. Kicking off the international leg on November 15 at the Irish Village in Dubai, he tells Gulf News tabloid! what his latest passion project means to him, and how he really feels about his one-time bandmates re-joining forces.
Firstly, you’re returning to Dubai. What do you have planned for your show this time around?
I’m just about to release my single for this new album Otis, which is a collection of Otis Redding songs that I recorded with a full soul band. Our first international stop is going to be Dubai. It’s exciting. I’ll be doing songs off the new album, some of my own solo material and some Westlife songs, as well.
Why did you want to make this album now?
I’ve wanted to do a soul album for a long time, ever since I saw The Commitments [a musical about Irish youths who start a soul band] when I was a teenager. That got me interested in the likes of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett. The album comes out in January.
You recently posted a good luck message to the Westlife boys for their 20th anniversary tour. Does it feel strange to be celebrating a milestone but also be outside of it?
Not really, no. I haven’t been in Westlife in a long time. I think it would have been more strange if I had been involved. The boys were together up until 2012 [from 1998], so they were around a long time as a band. I’m excited for the boys. I think it’s brilliant that they’re getting back together, especially for the Westlife fans [who] want to see Westlife go on forever. But obviously for me, it was a different time of my life and a different era.
You went solo in 2004. Looking back, why was it the right time for you?
It just felt like the right time. I wouldn’t change anything. I wouldn’t change any kind of path I’ve made in my career. I’m pretty happy where I am.
What was the biggest learning curve, going solo?
When you’re in a band you’ve got five people that can rely on each other to do all the work and make the decisions, but when you’re on your own, everything kind of falls on your shoulders. It’s a lot more pressure.
You also perform as Boyzlife with Boyzone’s Keith Duffy. How did that come about?
Originally, the idea was Keith’s. He was going to do a one-man talking show where he would tell stories about his career and his life. He came to see me perform … [and] we decided we should do it together. Our careers are quite similar. We were both in similar bands and we grew up very close to each other in Dublin. We ended up doing this show where we would tell stories and sing songs [from] Westlife and Boyzone.
Finally, any resolutions for 2019?
To try and get a little bit fitter. Whenever I tour, it’s hard to keep in shape and eat well because you’re constantly on the road eating at service stations. So, maybe my New Year’s resolution is to get a little bit healthier.
Don’t miss it!
Tickets to see Brian McFadden in Dubai are available online and cost Dh175. The concert is 21+ only.