July, 1998 - Sligo, Ireland.
- Nicky Byrne
- Kian Egan
- Mark Feehily
- Shane Filan
Quote From Shane Filan:
"Believe it or not, we're actually very clever fellows."
Putting Westlife Together:
Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, and Shane Filan were 3 of the 6 members of a group called IOU out of Sligo in northwestern Ireland. They were discovered by Boyzone manager Louis Walsh after releasing the single "Together Girl Forever." The remaining 3 members of the group were dumped and Nicky Bryne and Bryan McFadden were recruited to take the place. The group was initially called Westside, but when a conflict with another group was discovered, they became Westlife.
Boyzone member Ronan Keating signed on as co-manager of Westlife and their first single "Swear It Again" was released in April, 1999. The song went straight to the top of the UK charts and also reached the top 20 in the US. However, Westlife would never again hit the US pop charts. "If I Let You Go," and "Flying Without Wings" (later recorded by Ruben Studdard) quickly hit #1 in the UK later in 1999. Westlife were on their way as one of the top UK pop groups.
Trivia Fact About Westlife:
Westlife member Nicky Byrne is married to Georgina Ahern, daughter of Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern.
One Of the Biggest UK Pop Acts Of All Time:
Westlife have quickly become one of the most successful pop groups of all time in the UK. Westlife set a record when their first 7 singles debuted at #1 on the pop singles charts in the UK. When their single "You Raise Me Up" debuted at #1 on the UK pop chart in 2005 it was Westlife's 13th #1 placing them behind only Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Cliff Richard for the most #1's of all time.
Westlife are known for recording ballads with lush musical settings and soulful vocals. Westlife have hit the top of the charts with many cover versions of pop songs. Among those are versions of Terry Jacks' "Seasons In the Sun," Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl," Phil Collins' "Against All Odds," and Barry Manilow's "Mandy." The Westlife version of "Against All Odds" was recorded with Mariah Carey and released in 2000. It became a major international hit, but it was not marketed as a single in the US where Carey was suffering from a significant commercial downturn.
Tabloid news stories have followed Westlife throughout their career. Westlife member Bryan McFadden left the group in 2004 to embark on a solo career and spend more time with his wife, Atomic Kitten member Kerry Katona. Unfortunately, the couple are now separated. Westlife member Mark Feehily announced that he is gay in August 2005. This was received very positively by the significant portion of Westlife's fan base that is gay.