‘Going solo is fresh and different to Westlife’

Shane Filan
Shane Filan
David Cassidy pictured in 2008. Picture: PA

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As a member of Westlife, Shane Filan notched up 14 number one hit singles, such as Flying Without Wings and You Raise Me Up, and sold more than 40m albums.

But there are other big numbers in Shane’s life which tell a darker story – days after Westlife played their last ever show in 2012 he was declared bankrupt with debts of £18m.

In a bid to set himself up for life post-Westlife, Shane had invested heavily in the property market, and paid the price when the market crashed.

However, he has bounced back, with his debut solo album, You and Me, which was released last year, and his new tour kicks off at Portsmouth Guildhall on Wednesday, October 23.

His autobiography, My Side of Life, was also released earlier this month, in which he talks frankly about the end of the boyband and his financial troubles.

As Shane told The Guide, it seems writing the book was a cathartic experience for him: ‘It’s something I felt I had to do, to draw a line in the sand and move on with my life.

‘I wanted to tell the truth. Westlife was amazing, but like all good things it comes to an end, we just got to a stage where it wasn’t as special any more. We all felt the same.

‘It wasn’t best for me financially, but we had to do what was best for the band.’

As a result of being declared bankrupt, he lost his home and many of the trappings that fame had bought him.

‘Sometimes it’s hard to work it out,’ he says. ‘Luckily I have an amazing wife, who stuck beside me 100 per cent - for richer or poorer, you know, that couldn’t be more true. It was a very tough time.

‘People might think it was greed, but it was the opposite of greed – I was in a boyband, and it could have ended tomorrow, I had money I had made, and I wanted to invest, and property seemed like the thing to invest in at the time.

‘It was going very well for a year, but then it all started to go wrong.’

Now that he is putting that behind him, Shane is building a career without the safety net of his band members.

‘Going solo – it’s new fresh, it is different to Westlife, in a way you do work harder, but this is my life, this is my job. It’s not the boyhood dream of being in a boyband, it’s a lot more serious, you’ve got to put yourself out there as best you can. You’ve got a family, your children, this is serious stuff.’

Tickets cost £28.60-£33 and doors open at 7pm. Go to portsmouthguildhall.org.uk