The former frontman of disbanded boyband Westlife may have gone through tough financial challenges—such as his declared bankruptcy—in the last few years, but you’d never guess it from Shane Filan’s first solo album.

Next to the mellow, blue singles of Westlife such as their cover of Barry Manilow’s “Mandy”, “I Wanna Grow Old with You”, and “Last Mile of The Way”, songs in You and Me have more than a hint of positivity. “I had to write about happy times because that brought me to my happy place, so the album actually was a form of therapy, probably,” says Shane in a press conference held at PARKROYAL on Pickering.

Shane pleased fans with a showcase of 5 songs at Zouk on Nov 10, including Westlife’s cover of Daughtry’s “What About Now”. The 34-year-old Irish singer of “Everything to Me” who was clad in an all-denim outfit barely looks a day older than when he started singing in 1998.

Shane, who’s still in close contact with the rest of Westlife, also mentioned that going solo was never an option before. “I loved being in Westlife. Westlife was an amazing band, and people said to me, ‘Why don’t you do a solo album?’ I’m like, ’Cause I’m in Westlife. Why would I want to do a solo album?’ …We got to do 12 albums in 14 years, and we enjoyed every bit of it.”

The father of 2 adds that despite the extensive amount of traveling he’s done over his career he’s still having trouble adjusting to jetlag. “It’s probably the only downside to touring,” Shane explains, although he admits doing this without Westlife has been different. “You get the best room in the hotel, you don’t have to fight over it; you get to pick the best clothes off the rail, and all that, so it’s nice. It’s nice touring on your own… a bit quieter, but it’s nice.”

On how he felt about big bands like The Wanted and One Direction following Westlife’s path of success, Shane comments, “It shows you: good songs, hard work, right place, right time. They have it all; they work very, very hard.”

“Pop music is very much alive, probably more than it has ever been, and it shows no matter what year it is, what decade it is, there’s always room for boy bands, because there’re always girls who scream,” jokes Shane.

Photos courtesy of Denise Kang