RONAN “DILF” KEATING
The All Together Now team leader talks George Michael, Whitney, Stephen Gately, Elton John, U2 and… Elvis! And his new and final Boyzone album, with Stephen Gately.
DNA: The format of All Together Now is quite unique for a talent show. Discuss! Ronan Keating: It’s family entertainment packed full of great live music but it also has a hundred people singing and dancing along. It sounded so epic I wanted to be part of it.
Who is Ronan Keating’s diva?
Whitney Houston! She was probably the greatest singer the world has seen and she’ll be remembered for that one track, I Will Always Love You.
What’s news on the Boyzone front?
We have a new and final album coming out, plus a huge farewell tour. After 25 great years we all feel that now is the right time to call it quits. We’ve made our best album yet with Thank You And Goodnight. We were all saddened when Stephen Gately died in 2009, but Boyzone have managed to record a new song with him!
Yes, it was really special to have found an old demo of his that we’ve been able to build a new song around. It’s right that he’s a part of our final chapter together as a band. He was a lovely, gentle soul with a great voice and a brother to us all.
Stephen was proudly gay. He’d have been happy with the global progress to marriage equality, right?
For sure, he’d have loved it! Stephen was happily married himself.
Boyzone appearing in that classic U2 video, Sweetest Thing: is that one of the band’s most bizarre moments?
[Laughs.] Yes. It still seems crazy that Bono asked us to be part of it, but it’s certainly a cool thing to look back on.
In 2007 Boyzone made The Guinness Book Of Records, beating Elvis as the only artist to have 30 consecutive top 10 singles in the UK charts. That must feel special.
Yes, but it’s not something I dwell on. I’m just very grateful that I’m still here after 25 years doing what I love.
Who has been the biggest influence on your career?
I grew up listening to George Michael. He’s the reason I’m a singer today. I sang along to Faith in my room and dreamed that one day I could be like him. He’s always been a hero of mine and it’s still very raw for me that he’s gone.
What has been the biggest “pinch yourself” moment in your career so far?
I’ve been lucky to have a few but I think performing with Elton John at New York’s Madison Square Garden was pretty special. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Your health is your wealth!
We can’t keep you out of Australia!
No, it’s my second home! My wife is Australian, and we have a baby son and he’s obviously half Australian, too. The Irish have a real appetite for travel and Australia feels a lot like home to us. It’s the people that make Australia so special. Like the Irish, you love life and are always up for the craic!
George has always been a hero of mine. It’s still very raw that he’s gone.
Ronan: 45 million albums with Boyzone and solo; (above) with Aussie wife, Storm and son Cooper.