19 years ago, 20-year-old Shane Filan reigned in the hearts of girls all over the world with his coy smile, romantic eyes, and gentle and assuring voice.

19 years later and nothing has changed. The sound of his name still sends girls into hysteria, their hearts start racing and they burst into glass-shattering screams when he takes the stage.

Shane’s last stop in Kuala Lumpur was five years ago (2013), to promote his debut solo album, “You and Me”. He serenaded the screaming crowd at 1 Utama with hit singles like “About You” and “Everything To Me”, and we heard it was one hell of a party!

So this time around, Shane was in town for the Asian leg of his “Love Always” tour – there is no way we would have missed it. When Team HYPE was presented with the opportunity to interview the former Westlifer, we said yes without a blink.

“Love Always” is Shane’s third solo album, and it is packed with timeless love songs like “Heaven”, “Make You Feel My Love”, “Eternal Flame”, and more (just in time for Valentine’s Day!).

The album also has a very special song, Shane’s very own “Beautiful In White”, a romantic, wedding-song he wrote while he was still with Westlife. It didn’t make the album back then, but it is now on the “Love Always” album as his apprized brainchild and has garnered over 100 million views on YouTube.

We sat down with the humble Irishman before his showcase, and chatted with him about the story behind “Love Always”, his song selection process, his obsession with Bryan Adams, and what kind of dad he is with the kids.

HYPE: So Shane, first things first, what’s the story behind the “Love Always” album? 

Shane: This album obviously, a lot of the songs are not written by me, they’re famous songs that are written by other amazing people. This is more about just recording an amazing love album, for me to get a chance to sing these great songs that I loved and I grew up listening to. Songs that I have a lot of memories with.

Every song on the album has a reason for being there, either a memory of me being younger, or because I like that singer that sung the original song. In the first album, “You and Me”, were all songs that were written or co-written by me, it was a lot more personal. This album is more about the music, and about what the songs mean to me. It’s also perfect timing for Valentine’s Day!

HYPE: What goes through your mind when you’re picking songs for your album? Do you pick songs that you think your fans will like, or songs that resonate with you? 

Shane: It’s both. You have to like the songs you do, and you have to have a reason to do each song. For myself, I think the fans also have to like the music. I always listen to the fans and what they say and what they think, and you know what kind of songs they react to when you do a showcase or perform at a concert. So when you make the next album, you know to make a better version of that particular style of song.

I do a lot of ballads, mid-tempo songs – I don’t try and do something crazy – or the fans will go like “What the hell is that?” You know like if I do rap music or heavy metal music. I want to stick to the Shane that people know. I love to sing love songs.

HYPE: And “Eternal Flame”, it was a song that your fans chose for the album! 

Shane: So I spoke to my management and the label, and I suggested that we ask the fans what they would like to hear on this album, what would they like me to do. This is the perfect album for the fans to pick the song. So I asked them on social media, and “Eternal Flame” keep popping up on the feed a lot. I was like, “Eternal Flame, oh my god, I love that song!”

I have so many memories with that song from when I was really young, I was like 5 when it released. I remember seeing it on TV, and The Bangles were definitely a band that I was a big fan of. So I thought, you know what, that’s the perfect song for me to do! It’s very acoustic, and it turned out really nice.

HYPE: How do make sure to stay relevant in the music industry – with a lot of young singers sprouting up? 

Shane: I try and always make music for my fan base, I don’t make music for people who are younger and don’t want listen to it. I don’t necessarily think about what age group might like my music. I approach it in a way that you make an album and you make it as good as you can, and whoever likes it, likes it.

And I think it’s safe to say that my fan base is a bit older, a lot of them were probably fans of Westlife as well, they could be 30, 40, or 50. But it’s important to just make good music. Everyone has a different fan base and different style, so the trick is to just make good songs.

HYPE: Is there any one of today’s singer that you’d like to collaborate with?

Shane: You know what, I think if I had to pick somebody that I’d like to sing with in my lifetime, I’d love to sing with Bryan Adams. I think he’s an amazing singer, one of the best voices in the world, I recorded “Heaven” because I’m a fan of Bryan Adams. And if I had to do a duet with somebody, it would be Bryan Adams.

HYPE: Let’s talk about your wife and kids. We’d really like to know, who’s the strict parent at home? You or Gillian?

Shane: I think Gillian is probably cooler than me, I’m stricter. I’m a lot more of a worrier. If one of the kids, let’s say slipped and fell, I’m like, “Ahhhhhhh ARE YOU OKAY ARE YOU OKAY??” But Gillian will be like, “It’s okay, relax, they just fell, they’re okay.”

But then again, I think we’re both strict and we’re both cool. We want our kids to have a normal upbringing, and the most important thing is that you gotta teach them to be good and have manners, and say sorry if they do something wrong, not to be rude to people. But we also want them to feel like they have a cool mom and dad.

HYPE: What do you guys do together, as a family?

Shane: There are three of them (kids), and my wife, and we all like sitting down and watching movies every weekend.

HYPE: Anyone showing any inclination towards music already?

Shane: I think they all love music. Everytime I get in the car, they grab my phone to go on to Apple Music and Spotify, they go over to the playlists, and Nicole will pick a song, then Patrick will pick a song, and then Shane will pick a song. I always hear a lot of Justin Timberlake, and that song by Charlie Puth, “Attention”, I hear that song all the time!

HYPE: What are you binge-watching on Netflix right now? 

Shane: I just finished watching “The Sinner”, which is really good. It has Jessica Biel and a really good story. A bit of a messed up story actually, but very good show, very good twists.

HYPE: Is it true that Irish people only drink Guinness? 

Shane: I love Guinness and I prefer Guinness if I were to go to a pub. But no, Irish people drink whiskey, vodka, gin, and pretty much everything. And I think gin is a very popular drink now with women. They like gin in big, massive glasses – gin and God knows what else in it (laughs).

HYPE: Okay looks like we’re running out of time. I think the one question that all your fans are dying to know is will you be back in KL for a full-fledged concert? 

Shane: Well I hope so! We’re looking at it at the moment, we’re planning something for maybe a bit later in the year, but I definitely want to come back and do a concert here. There’s a very good chance of that happening.