BRIAN MCFADDEN, a founder member of Westlife, saw 11 of their first 10 singles go to No.1 before he left to go solo.
He lived in Australia, where he was a judge on Australia’s Got Talent, before moving back to Britain.
Now he’s starring on ITV in the new series of Dancing On Ice, and his new album, Otis, a tribute to Otis Redding, is out this week.
Why Otis Redding?
I’ve always loved his music, and Mustang Sally is my karaoke song. I jump up and sing it at weddings.
Isn’t it a tall order covering a legend’s songs?
It’s one of the bravest things I’ve ever done. I’ve coasted in the past so now it’s time to surprise people. I’m 38, with a lot of experience to show.
Why did you “coast” before?
Everyone around me was saying I was great, so I didn’t listen to well-meaning criticism. It sounds lazy and safe, but I didn’t challenge myself. I’m not proud of it. With this album I had people who made me try harder.
You’re going to tour the album. Expensive?
Yes, but I’m not in this to make money. I’ll have a minimum of nine guys on stage with me, the same guys as on the album, and we’ll show people I’m more than just some old pop hits.
Do you still tour as Boyzlife with Keith Duffy?
Yes, we do the Westlife and Boyzone hits at corporate gigs, like the Singapore Grand Prix. It subsidises projects like this.
Are you good with money?
No. No way! I have a share in a chicken wing restaurant in Dublin, and that’s about it. I never had money, so when I eventually made it, I just spent it. My partner’s a school teacher and we live a simple life.
Which artist would you love to meet?
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. I went backstage at his gig, and me, Paul McCartney, Matt Lucas and others sat for 45 minutes chatting and waiting for him. Eventually his PA came and just said: “He’s gone back to his hotel.” None of us got to meet him.
Why are you doing Dancing On Ice?
To challenge myself and get fit. I joined two gyms last year and visited them both just once. Also, my youngest is a big Phillip Schofield fan.
Are you sad not to be part of the Westlife reunion?
Couldn’t care less. Means nothing to me. I haven’t spoken to any of them in about six years, and I have no relationship with them. They made seven albums after I left so I’d only be a backing singer on those songs anyway.
You have 24 hours left to live. How do you spend it?
I would sell everything, hire a private jet and take my mates to Vegas to play golf. Then I’d do the casinos and party myself away. I’d call the devil’s bluff.