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10 October 2019, 15:47 | Updated: 23 October 2019, 14:24
Westlife are about to release their brand new album this November, with five songs from the record written by none other than hit-maker Ed Sheeran.
Nicky Byrne, Shane Filan, Mark Feehily and Kian Egan will also be putting on a mega concert on Saturday, August 22, 2020 at Wembley Stadium.
Speaking exclusively to Smooth Radio about working with Ed, Shane revealed the band hasn't yet met Ed, despite recording his songs.
Shane said: "Actually, no, we haven’t. He was on tour for the last couple of years, so we haven’t had the chance to meet him yet.
"But he’s written five songs for the album. He’s worked, obviously, with Steve Mac, our executive producer for the album, who has done most of the Westlife songs throughout the years.
"It was great, because when we started coming back as a band, one of the main things we wanted to do was not just tour, but to make a new album.
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"And even Nicky kind of said, 'Wouldn’t it be great if we got Steve Mac and Ed Sheeran to write a song for us?' And that was a genuine comment.
"And then, little did we know, six months before that, they’d already written two songs for Westlife. And we didn’t even know any of this. Honestly, it was the stars aligning. It was a bit 'meant to be', this whole thing. We feel like the whole year has been one of those kind of years – stuff that we didn’t expect, and all our dreams coming true.
"It’s right here to Wembley now, and it’s incredible. You know, the Wembley show, as Mark said, it’s going to be our back catalogue. It’s going to be all our hits. We want to sing all of our biggest hits in Wembley Stadium, and it’ll obviously feature some of our new singles from Spectrum also. That’ll be new in the minds of the fans.
Nicky went on to reveal his shock that Ed had already written songs for the band and even grew up listening to Westlife hits.
He went on to tell Smooth Radio: "When the opportunity came up last year to reunite... who gets a second bite at the cherry, you know? We never knew if the tour would just be a nostalgia one-off – you know, you say hello to the fans, and then goodbye. We thought, 'We’d love to give it more than that, and try to make a new album', and that’s when Ed Sheeran, to be fair, stepped up.
"I think if there’s probably only one man that could get Westlife out of bed, it was Ed Sheeran. He was writing these songs.
"He said to Steve at the time – Steve Mac – he said, 'I remember growing up listening to ‘Flying without Wings’, and learning how to play guitar and stuff like that to ‘Flying without Wings’.'
"So that made us feel like, 'My God, the biggest superstar in the world actually listened to us when he was a child.' So now we’re here [Wembley Stadium], and I know Ed’s played this place – you know, he’s no stranger to this place."
"I think it’s awe-inspiring to be here. You know, as you grow up watching football matches and the FA Cup, you’re glued to all these big events that come out of Wembley Stadium.
Smooth Radio suggested to the band that the first time they meet Ed could be by bringing him out on stage at their Wembley concert.
Kian smiled: "Possibly. You know what? We did talk about it. We talked about maybe talking to him about coming up and doing something with us. So you never know. It could be," to which Nicky agreed: "He definitely will come."
Kian went on to note Westlife's "new lease of life", saying: "Our brand new album is coming in November, so that’s a big exciting moment for us as well.
"I think since the reunion, it kind of feels like Westlife is taking a whole new lease of life – from the tour that we’ve just finished, to now announcing that we’re going to play Wembley Stadium for the first time in our careers. It’s 20 years of being a band, and then, you know, releasing what we feel is the strongest album we’ve ever made.
"We just kind of feel like we’re living the dream for the second time around – if not better and bigger this time around. It’s just been kind of an incredible year for us, and hopefully the next year will be just as incredible, and this place will be sold out on August 22, and we’ll have the biggest part of our lives."
While Ed has written for the band, it left Westlife with a dilemma on which songs to put on the album, and which to shelve.
Shane explained: "We have a lot of songs, you know? It was [hard to pick which songs to pick], actually. But the good thing about this album is, I suppose, when we started coming back to do… even the announcement for the tour, we kind of had only started the album.
"We spent 14 months making this album, which is the longest we’ve ever spent making an album. And there’s 11 songs on the album. And yeah, you know, there were songs that were really, really great songs that we felt just didn’t make the cut, because we wanted every song on this album to be a potential single – not that we’ll release 11 songs, but we plan to release more singles, obviously, off this album, even after Christmas next year, running up into Wembley.
"So there’s probably going to be more singles released off this album than we’ve ever released off an album, hence the quality that we feel is the strongest. We do feel this is one of our best albums, if not our best album, quality-wise. We’re in a great position. We’ve got Ed Sheeran and people like that and Steve Mac writing us songs. It’s incredible."