Kian Egan: “I never want to lose my Westlife title, that’s who I am…”

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Kian Egan talks to U magazine on life after Westlife and his search for the next big superstar

He became a household name as a member of the hugely successful band Westlife but now Kian Egan is a star in his own right. He won the hearts of the nation when he appeared on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here and went on to be crowned King of the Jungle. And life has just become hectic again for the Sligo native…Kian told U magazine: “I had about two and a half weeks for Christmas where I was totally relaxed, put my feet up and went into a bit of a holiday mode. We went back to Sligo and me, Jodi (his wife) and Koa had a quiet Christmas in the house on our own and just chilled out, watched loads of movies and ate lots of food. It was like being on holidays without the sun! It was lovely. But I’m firmly back at it now… there’s manic times ahead, all very good,” he added.

Kian was fearless in the jungle and got down and dirty for all the tasks assigned to him, much to the delight of the viewers who voted for him to win the show. Kian explained: “The winning of it was never in my brain, it was never something I was heading in there with a vision of ‘I want to win this show’. I was more doing it because I love the show first of all and I always watched it thinking ‘I could do that’. With the idea of Westlife being over and not much else happening apart from The Voice and a few other small bits and pieces in the UK, TV wise, I thought ‘why not, it’s fun’. “It’s an amazing experience to go into the jungle for three and a half weeks in Australia and even though it was being filmed and put on TV, for me it was more about the experience. So all that aside, the winning of it all was a complete and utter shock. It was becoming a shock to me daily when it got down to the last five and when Joey (Essex) went out I thought ‘what is going on here?’ because the camp mates were all in there thinking Joey was going to win it. So from that perspective it was a massive moment. To think the audience had voted for me to win it was pretty spectacular,” he added.

By winning the show Kian has stepped out of the shadow of Westlife, but this wasn’t intentional as he’s very proud of all he achieved alongside Shane Filan, Mark Feehily and Nicky Byrne. “I was always the blonde guy from Westlife. Across the board it was ‘the two blonde guys, which one is Kian?’… there was that kind of comparison and it was ‘there’s the blonde guy from Westlife’, ‘there’s your man from Westlife’ and I suppose now that’s changed definitely. “But it wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t something I was actively seeking out, but it definitely has changed. People are saying ‘there’s Kian’ or ‘there’s your man Kian Egan’, ‘or there’s your man Kian from Westlife’. I never want to lose my Westlife title, that’s who I am, that’s where I come from, that’s why I’m here talking to you,” he told U magazine.

Westlife said goodbye to their fans at a farewell tour in the summer of 2012 and Kian said he misses the company of the other lads as he embarks on his solo career. “You miss the company. I’ve been doing an awful lot of promo work –  TV shows, magazines, photoshoots – since coming out of the jungle… just the travelling on your own, the getting into the car on your own, the arriving at a TV studio and you’re on your own. That’s been the strangest thing about it all for me, it’s like being solo rather than being with three other people who are doing the same thing as you. We always had people who work with us, I don’t necessarily have anyone who travels with me. Since I started doing things on my own I’m always pretty much on my own. I don’t have a tour manager or a minder or any of that kind of craic, I do it all by myself. The loneliness of it is probably the weirdest thing, and missing performing on stage is a big thing for me as well. “The way I always look at the end of Westlife was that it was a very happy one. There was nothing negative about it whatsoever. We were all very, very close friends and we were all very tight as friends and we all loved each other. It was almost like, how would I describe it, it was almost like the perfect ending to the perfect story. You know in a movie at the end something bad goes wrong… it was like everything went right, nothing bad went wrong at the end of the movie, and that’s the way I think the end of Westlife was for me. Even though it was highly emotional, it was highly emotional for all positive reasons. “Coming away from Westlife I always had the attitude of ‘if I do nothing else in my life look at what I’ve done with Westlife’ and I’m so thankful and gracious for that that really I can’t even ask for more. Everything that’s happened since has just been luck of the draw again. I just feel like a lucky person that I’m having a second shot at it all, in a different way of course, being more down the TV road and doing TV shows and it having gone so well, it’s very strange,” he added.

But Kian hasn’t left his music days behind. He’s one of four coaches of The Voice of Ireland and is using all his expertise to find the next superstar. He explained: “Music is a passion, it’s the number one passion in my life still. I can’t go a day without listening to at least three or four songs. I suppose there are a lot of people in the world that are like that, I’m one of them, it’s a passion for me. “With The Voice it’s lovely to still be around music, still listening to music, still talking about music in a serious way I suppose; picking songs for artists, giving my opinion on music, all that type of stuff. It’s lovely to be able to do that as well as having fun on a TV show at the same time,” he added. And he insisted he doesn’t have a game plan to try to win the show this year. “Absolutely not. I think with The Voice it’s all about the singers. I’m really, desperately trying this year to stop all the arguments with the coaches and all the drama with the coaches, and let’s focus on what the real thing here which is the singers, and let’s really try and find that one. I don’t believe we’ve found the superstar yet from the show. I feel like there’s probably one or two quite potentially strong people in the show this year that could come out and have a real singing career, and I think that’s what we should be focusing on. “We should stop focusing on the drama and the silliness that goes on behind the scenes and between the judges (last year there were many reports about Kian and Bressie’s on screen arguments)… come on, this is boring! We’ve had this two seasons in a row. Can we please stop talking about this and start talking about that (the singers),” he said.

So what’s next for Kian? “TV feels quite natural for me. I really enjoyed doing I’m A Celeb, I really enjoy doing The Voice, I really enjoyed doing the TV presenting I was doing before The Voice. I’ve got loads of TV presenting gigs coming up in the next few weeks, you’ll see me and Jodi doing stuff together which is really nice and then there’s other things looming around which are the things I can’t talk about!”