Ronan Keating spent the week in London working on the photography for his new album and gave The Irish Post his first interview about it.
Fires will be released in early September and the feedback already from music industry insiders has been overwhelmingly positive.
Keating’s fans are in for a treat and from the time I’ve spent with him recently it’s clear that he is absolutely buzzing about the new songs.
“This is my first studio album in six years, so this is quite a big deal for me,” he said. “I’m putting myself out there. It has been a while. I didn’t feel I was ready for a studio album.
“I had writer’s block, so I took my time. And then the time came when I felt I was ready, I started writing again. It’s an anthemic pop album, it’s not ballad-driven.”
Keating has had 18 months or so in the glare of the media after his marriage broke down, but don’t expect any of those emotions or experiences to flow through his new music.
“There are certain things I have been through that are quite intense, but I haven’t started writing songs because it’s not fair on anyone involved. I have just let myself go (with the music). I’m not using any material that would be harmful or upsetting to anyone.”
So how he and his family have handled some of the press intrusion, especially the way Irish tabloids now seem to be every bit as sharp as their famed British cousins.
“We’ve done pretty well. It has been tough, but it’s what happens when you are in this game. You have to have tough skin. The people who love you, that’s what matters.”
Ronan’s last album was a collaboration in California with the legendary Burt Bacharach, an experience which even now he raves about.
“It was very intimidating, but in a good way. I’m such a fan and he’s such a legend. It was a very different thing to the new album I’ve just recorded. We had one of the best 40-piece orchestras in the world and it was the most intimidating ride of my life. It was hell!”
Fires sees the Dublin-born singer working with some new songwriters and the hope is that they may have a few more hits on their hands when it’s released in a few weeks.
“I wanted to work with some new people. There was a huge Swedish movement in music in the 90s, they were writing and working with loads of people. The Swedes wrote a lot of massive American hits. So I’ve been working with a couple of hip, young writers out of Sweden and I have really enjoyed it.”
Ronan made his film debut in Goddess this year, a romantic comedy shot on location in New South Wales. And movie project number two is well advanced, but again is a new departure.
“It’s called Rockpool and we begin shooting early next year after the tour. The cast is amazing. I can’t say who is in it, but a very high profile female will play my wife in the film. It’s a great script, it’s hardcore and it’s dark. A lot of people would cast me maybe in a love story or what have you, but it’s not like that.”
And the acting adventure doesn’t just begin with Ronan in the Keating family. His 11-year-old daughter Missy recently finished filming her debut role in a movie called Dark Touch.
Ronan added: “It’s a horror movie and we had our reservations. It’s what she wants to do. We (Ronan and Yvonne) made the best decision. The way it was shot was very clever, she was not exposed to anything dark or negative. She loved every moment of it. She’s following her dream and we will support her.”
2013 will be a busy year for Keating, between his X Factor commitments in Australia, a solo tour, the new movie and the Boyzone 20 year anniversary tour.
“It’s going to be brilliant! I love it in Australia. They are great people and the show is fantastic. It’s a pity it’s so far away! I try get the kids down as much as I can. Please God it will be a big year for Boyzone. We’re aiming to tour and make a record. Everybody is up for it.”
Fires will be released in September.