Ronan Keating is back with a new album. In an interview, he reveals why a duet with Robbie Williams brings him to tears.
Ronan Keating (43, "Little Thing Called Love") started a successful solo career 20 years ago. After his time in the band Boyzone, he hit the charts with hits like "When You Say Nothing At All" (1999). The Irish songwriter is back on Friday (July 24th) with the album "Twenty Twenty". There is a mixture of new editions of his biggest hits like "Life Is a Rollercoaster" (2000) or "Lovin 'Each Day" (2001) and new songs.
For this he got top-class support: In addition to a duet with Emeli Sandé (33, "Next To Me") and Shania Twain (54, "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!"), The 43-year-old sings with Robbie Williams (46 , "Angels") a very emotional and personal song. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, Keating explains the tragic story behind the track, why Ed Sheeran (29, "Shape of You") accompanies him with the guitar and how he feels like a new father.
Her album is called "Twenty Twenty", like the current year. How has 2020 been for you so far?
Ronan Keating: It's been a turbulent year – I think we all agree. We are dealing with a unique situation that we have never experienced before. It's really tough. But I can count myself lucky. I have a house and a large garden. I was able to spend time with my family and see the birth of my little daughter. I try to see the positive things in the crisis. Being with my daughter in the past three months was a real pleasure. I really enjoyed spending time with my family.
Does that sound like you are going to weather the Corona crisis well?
Keating: We all have to live with the corona crisis. I'm just trying to make the best of it. And I'm happy with my situation. After all, there are people who are hit much harder than me. That's why I don't complain or whine.
You have been solo for 20 years now. Do you ever think back to your time at Boyzone?
Keating: Yes, absolutely. That was a magical time in the 90s. It was a great time for pop music. There was a lot of movement in the music industry – a lot of boy and girl bands appeared and it was just fun. I like to think back and have great memories of that time.
Big hits like "Life Is A Rollercoaster" are represented on the new album. What was it like to sing the songs again?
Keating: It was strange. Especially "Life Is A Rollercoaster" was the most difficult. Because I felt like I was singing a karaoke version of my own song. It just didn't work. I sang it over and over again, but it just didn't get any better. My son Jack finally helped me. I accepted a few of his suggestions regarding the DJs and the sound he likes. And so it happened that it sounds a little bit like the band Daft Punk. But it really wasn't easy – it took seven mix attempts to get it.
How has your life changed since the big hits?
Keating: My life has changed completely. I have five children, live in London and have a great wife by my side. It is my heart and soul. I am really happy to have her in my life. I grew up. But I feel good, healthy, and young. I am ready to conquer the world with my new album.
You also sing with your good friend Robbie Williams. What was it like to work with him?
Keating: Robbie is a legend. It is incredibly funny and uncomplicated. He sent me the song "The Big Goodbye", which has a very emotional story behind it. Robbie wrote it when Stephen Gately died. Ten years later I talked about Stephen on a TV show. Robbie wrote me a message that night: "I saw you on TV. I totally forgot the song – listen to it." I was so touched. I was standing in my kitchen crying when I heard the song.
Then we talked about doing something together for the album. And so it happened that the song landed on "Twenty Twenty". I'm really proud of it and can't wait for people to hear it. I hope we can perform it live together someday.
Ed Sheeran plays guitar in "When you Say Nothing At All". Why didn't he sing?
Keating: I asked him what he would like to do. And Ed said he would like to play the guitar in "When you Say Nothing At All". I was very happy that he was on the album.
You had your daughter in 2020. What was that feeling like?
Keating: It's just magical. She is the prettiest child and also sleeps through twelve hours. I tell almost no one, because other parents get angry when they hear it. It is really adorable and a bright light in the dark times of Corona. It's just everything for me.
Due to the Corona crisis, concerts and large events such as the Eurovision Song Contest were canceled. In 1997 you moderated the show. Are you a big fan?
Keating: We all love the Eurovision Song Contest. I grew up in Ireland and it has always been an important part of our lives for us. When it went, everyone was sitting in front of the television. The songs and the show were just great. But it has changed a lot over the years. Sometimes people don't get it right and think it's all a joke. But it is not. It is such a unique experience once a year. Too bad it was canceled this year. But hopefully it will take place again next year and of course I will take a look at it.
What are you most looking forward to when the Corona crisis is over?
Keating: To see friends and family again. Performing and traveling again. Because traveling is a big deal for me. I have never spent so much time at home – the last time I was 16 or 17. It was of course very nice, but I'm ready to finally pack my bags again. I do not yet know where it will go.
Do you see anything good in the Corona crisis?
Keating: I think we'll have more respect for each other from now on. Friendships and the family appreciate more – also the time together.