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Ronan Keating
From the land where traditional folk music has been vibrant throughout the 20th century and is internationally known, 29-year-old Ronan Keating received recognition as a traveller, a philosopher, a writer, a singer, a musician, a presenter, an ambassador, a patron, and a lover, and yet he feels he still hasnít reached his destination.

Ronan Keating was born in the capital city of Ireland, a country known for prominent artists and writers such as Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, who were both acclaimed and controversial. Ronan seems to have that similar flair. He became the ambassador to the UN Goodwill and the Fair Trade for Christian Aid. He openly criticized a Welsh doctor for claiming that a disproportionate amount of research money was being spent on cancer treatments. Ronan struggled initially to distinguish himself from his former Boyzone band members, and he has now proved himself to be one of the most admired Irish singers of his time. His releases have seen him go to thrilling new heights, and he is now ready for yet another.

Why did you call this new album Bring You Home?
Ronan: Thereís a song on the album with the same title. Itís a song about my kids ~ Jack, Missy and Ali. Itís okay to get your heartbroken, itís okay to trip up in life, and itís okay to make mistakes. But donít forget Iím always here. Whatever happens, Iíll bring you home. Iím here. The album itself is about your roots, where you belong and whom you belong to. Unless you do not realise that, nothing can take you forward in life. You could go on wandering and hitting records but unless you do not recognize your essence you are nowhere. And this is what the album is all about. Constantly interacting with people from different places with distinct cultures made me realize that the only thing we seek at the end of the day is to reach our home.

Were there any different experiences while making this album?
Ronan: Honestly, I lived this album in the last year and a half. I built a small studio in the house and every day Iíd get up in the morning, take the kids to school, and Iíd come back to the house, have a cup of tea, and go to the back and start writing. And it was brilliant; it was absolutely brilliant. The kids would come home and Iíd have lunch and dinner with them, put them to bed and in between go back to the studio. And it was fantastic. I donít know if you can make every album that way, but this album really worked that way for me. Iíve also had the opportunity to work with some of the most brilliant artists, which I could have never imagined. Artists Iíve grown up listening to. I got to sing with them, perform with them. I feel very lucky. Iíve never been more excited about an album as I have about this one. All I want to do is make people happy that Iíve already made happy with my music.

Your last album was also strong on ballads and this one seems to be the same.
Ronan: It was melodies always that got me. Softer melodies, big ballads and the classics. And country music. My mum and dad have always been playing country. Thatís probably where my country flavours and sounds come from. This album is very melancholy. Iíve made a Ronan Keating album. Itís very ballad-driven and thatís my strength, and I know that now. I love it. Itís probably the Irish in me; we love to tell those tales of heartbreak and heartache and love and loss. Itís just the way we are.

Which is your favourite track?
Ronan: Well, I guess most of them are. Each one has an interesting story behind it. The track Just When I'd Given Up Dreaming is about the time when I took my first writing trip and worked with Richard Marx. Iíve always been his greatest fan, and sitting in his studio and writing was just a mad feeling. I spent three great days writing in his studio on the shore of Lake Michigan and this beautiful song came from that session. Then thereís a song here called Superman and itís the total opposite of the title. The title is Superman but the lyrics of the song are, ĎIím no Supermaní. It relates to me as a father, a husband, and as a human. Itís a very honest song. Anyone can listen to it and it can be a love song to them, it can be different, but to me itís a very personal song. I enjoyed that creative process.
All Over Again is another special song. This song was introduced to me by a publisher friend of mine and I just fell in love with it. Iíve been a gigantic fan of Kate Rusbyís voice. The words floated everywhere around me and I just knew the rhythm without even making much effort. I wanted Kate Rusby to sing for this one but wasnít too sure if she would agree as her style is very folk. When she started singing the song for the first time in the studio the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and that feeling remains with me every time we sing this song together.

You can read the rest of our exclusive with Ronan Keating in the June 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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