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Members include Nicky Byrne; Kian Egan; Mark Feehily; Shane Filan; Bryan McFadden, vocalists. Addresses: Record company--Arista Records (U.S.), 6 West 57th St., New York, 10019, phone: (800) 6-ARISTA. Website--Westlife Official Website: http://www.westlife.co.uk.

Within a matter of a few years, members of the Irish pop group Westlife went from singing in their school's performance of the musical Grease to selling more than 10 million records worldwide. This was not an easy feat considering that the United Kingdom is filled with burgeoning talents trying to replicate the success of boy groups like Take That and Boyzone, which spawned solo artists Robbie Williams and Ronan Keating, respectively. Westlife has been able to rise above other spotlight seekers, though, to find record-setting success.

Shane Filan, Kian Egan, and Mark Feehily formed the backbone of Westlife while the three were attending school in the mid 1990s and performing around Dublin, Ireland, as IOU. Like the Backstreet Boys and O-Town, an entertainment manager had a hand in the formation of Westlife. When IOU appeared on a Dublin television show, the group piqued the attention of Louis Walsh, a pop "Svengali" who also managed the similar-sounding Boyzone. To showcase the group, Walsh offered IOU a spot opening for the Backstreet Boys at the Dublin club The Point.

After the group came together as Westlife in 1998, Walsh took them under his wing and introduced them to Nicky Byrne, an ex-soccer apprentice, and Bryan McFadden, who was attending a local stage school. According to Westlife's record company biography, RCA Records signed the group immediately after seeing a performance. "When showcasing them, I instantly knew they were going to be a very successful band. They have surpassed my expectations. The great thing is that after all of their achievements, they have remained down-to-earth. They are a great bunch of guys to work with," said RCA Records A&R consultant Simon Cowell.

The deal also brought onboard a co-manager, Ronan Keating, who is best known in the United States for his appearance on the Notting Hill film soundtrack. Westlife's first single, "Flying Without Wings" debuted at number one on the British charts in 1999. The same success followed with "Seasons in the Sun" and "Swear It Again" in 2000.

The group's self-titled debut album was released in November of 1999 and became the fastest-selling album in Irish music history. It has since gone quadruple platinum in the United Kingdom and sold more than five million copies worldwide. In Indonesia, Westlife has been dubbed the biggest-selling international release. The album offered five British number one singles including "Swear It Again," "If I Let you Go" and "Flying Without Wings."

Following in the general practice of saturating the market with an influx of singles to drive sales and broaden exposure for a group, Westlife sent their covers of "I Have a Dream"/"Seasons in the Sun" and later the fifth single, "Fool Again," to stores. The group also earned a Guinness World Records 2001 listing as the most successful new chart act of all time for achieving consecutive number one spots on the British charts with its first seven singles.

After finding success in Britain, Westlife moved on to the United States where "Swear It Again" peaked at number two on the Billboard sales chart. While Boyzone paired with U2 for the song "The Sweetest Thing," Westlife collaborated with American favorite Mariah Carey on the song "Against All Odds" in September of 2000. Like the group's previous singles, "Against All Odds" hit number one in the United Kingdom. Feehily was thrilled to work with Carey: "It was beyond all my wildest expectations," he said in the RCA biography.

In between touring and making several guest appearances, Westlife traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, and London, England, in the summer of 2000 to record its second album, Coast to Coast, which includes the Carey-Westlife piece "Against All Odds" and a cover of Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl." Working with two different sets of producers--the single-named Cheiron in Stockholm, and Steve Mac and Wayne Hector in London--allowed the members of Westlife to indulge in their pop sensibilities. "We're very happy to be working with both sets of producers again. They keep impressing us with their ideas and we're comfortable with how they work--it's like we've grown up together," RCA Records quoted Filan as saying. "On the whole, this album is a big step up for us, both vocally and musically."

The first single, "My Love," achieved the same success as previous releases, reaching number one in October of 2000. British magazine New Musical Express (NME) panned Coast to Coast, however, implying that its lyrics were shallow. "'Angel's Wings' includes the line, 'You make everything that used to seem so big seem to be small'--surely an excuse that ranks up there with 'Sorry love, it's a bit cold' and one which shatters the few illusions we had left of Kian [Egan]."

The popularity of Coast to Coast helped the album top its rivals on the charts and at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Westlife beat out Robbie Williams, Craig David, Travis, and Sonique for the Best United Kingdom and Ireland Act prize. The group also won a BRIT Award for Best Pop Act in 2001.

As of the summer of 2001, Westlife had begun work on a collaborative single with Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, whom NME called a "serial collaborator." Egan told NME that the song is "very much like Bryan Adams' old stuff rather than his new stuff. It's in the same kind of style as '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.' We're really excited because he's got a great voice and it's a brilliant opportunity for us."

Fame reportedly started wearing on the group after newspapers shared accounts of Westlife's drinking sprees. During a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in May of 2001, Westlife told journalists that they just want to be normal guys. "We make good music and we're successful all over the world but when it comes to having a private life we got to have a private life. If one of us goes to a bar and is photographed coming out of it, that's not his fault," Filan is quoted as saying in a Reuters news service story on the Yahoo! News website.

Still, fans have flocked to see Westlife. Sixteen fans were injured on May 25, 2001, at Soemantri Bodjonegoro sports stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia, when the audience of 15,000 surged toward the stage at the end of the show. Two months earlier, four fans were crushed to death during an autograph signing at a shopping mall in the same city.

Despite speculation that the group's reign at the top of the pop charts was coming to an end, Westlife planned for continued success with at least four more records on BMG as part of the group's contract with the label. Westlife--who made history in May of 2001 for becoming the first boy band to play in South Africa--planned to record songs in Spanish as its next musical venture.

by Christina Fuoco

Westlife's Career

Group formed in Dublin, Ireland, 1998; released Westlife,1999; in U.S., 2000; released Coast to Coast worldwide (except for U.S.), 2000.

Westlife's Awards

BRIT Award, Best Pop Act, 2001.

Famous Works

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Westlife Lyrics

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Visitor Comments Add a comment…

about 6 years ago

Hi Guys, I like your music and I pray God to continue to see you through more songs for the comfort and enjoyment of the entire world. I wish you all the best. Its me J J Jatson a singer in Nigeria in the continent of Africa.

almost 7 years ago

noone can say anything about westlife really make world nice and happy iam in iraq always listen Mylove weldone

almost 8 years ago

hhi guys.....im frm philippines i am just one of your avid fan

about 8 years ago

hi shane i am the of ur fans.. hope u will be her my country.ur so handsome i like u very much take ur self always

over 8 years ago

hi i love shane and all westlife and i love all the song for them and i see for shane happe barthday and me barthday in 22.may.1995 and i can bileve thas cuos you in 28.may.1978.. i am from isral arbics and i oant to see all westlife soon in israel soon from the arbec bubel ok cusa i am crazy in westlife

over 8 years ago

I love you guys. With you I'm flying without wings. Really, I swear it over and over again! Ciao!

over 8 years ago

i love shane fillan

over 8 years ago

you guys are the best group in the whole wide world i am your biggest fan i have all your cd's that you have done shane has to be the best lookin though no offence to you others though your all so cool shane i love you most but the others just arent my taste all of you rock lol love you guys see you soon maybe lol i wish

over 8 years ago

when you go to indonesian again??? i miss you..... i love you..... i love you mark.....

over 8 years ago

the westlife is the best band in the whole world.......

over 8 years ago

I love WESTLIFE since...I love their song's, I always listen to their songs and watching their vedeo's...I realy love SHANE & NICKY they are the best...although all of them are good looking & singer...most important I LOVE THEIR BAND....more power and bless you all.........

over 8 years ago

you guys are the best group in the whole wide world i am your biggest fan shane has to be the best though no offence to you others though your all so cool shane i love you most but the others just arent my taste all of you rock lol love you guys see you soon maybe lol

over 8 years ago

i love all of westlife i love to meet them one day that my dream but it will never happen

over 8 years ago

Hey Westlife I hope to see you all soon in the USA .My mom is crazy about Nicky and I am crazy about Shane and Nicky but the rest of you are cool as well. Thanks for all the songs and the DVds cant wait for more.

almost 9 years ago

i have loved westlife since i was born and i hope that one day i could meet them. i love all there songs ive only been to one of there concerts and i hope that i can go to one when there back in cardiff. my favourite westlife boy is nicky because i loves his voice and i just want to meet him so much. but the rest of them i do love to. love you guys lauren xxxx

almost 9 years ago

OMG lovee These Guys so Much , They make my day like , LOVE NICKY BYRNE hes jus the hottest Like:P Seen them 5 times , best concerts ever , :D Met Yas at the Book Signin (: And been to All your Houses , <-- amazing Time Like , ILYSFM Westlife , Cant Wait To The Nxt Concert And Album :D:D:D:D

almost 9 years ago

still... i love you mr. Bryan Nicholas Mcfadden say hi for me to molly baby and kerry ok.... love yah sweetchicks xoxoxo keep up ok Irish lads really get all thehearts of girls around the world...love you guys you guys are great!!!!!!

almost 9 years ago

hi guys im angela from the phils., im been a fan seens they came out.ever since they release their first video"swear it again" well im upset upon bryan leftthe group but still i love them.keep it up and continue the "worldwide domination"love you guys keep on doin really good,cool,and really falling heart songs andalbums...westlife fans will always there to support...one of them is meh.. love you guys so much keep it up. to nicky bryne kiss meto rocco and jay even to georgina.to shane filan kiss me to nicole and gillian.to kian and mark watzup..watzup...lads love ya sweetchicks...xoxoxoxo=>

almost 9 years ago

westlife,you guys are the best!wish u could consider visiting us here in uganda coz you are loved deeply.wish u the best though you are indeed the best.loooooove you lots!!

about 9 years ago

i love westlife very much most especially filan (the guy).the best song i like is"my love".the best thing about me is you.

about 9 years ago

my love

about 9 years ago

hey ..i would like to say to you that you are the best please keep on the right way

about 9 years ago

YOU GUYS ARE WONDERFUL.YOU REALLY ROCK MA WORLD

about 9 years ago

hey i just want to say you are the best group ever love so much.. -x-

about 9 years ago

hi lads i think your songs are the best i meet shayne at bath when you done the open air concert i havr been to your concert for the last 11 years.My daughter Shaniah is a real big fan and has seen you 4 times cant wait for the next album i am have way though your book i cant put it down see you soon shayne good luck with the baby love always x x x x

about 9 years ago

guyz ur rockin group en my all the powers of da almaight be upon u....i work as a radio Presenter en....never a day to go without a play of ur 2...or 3...songs....its nice to teach through ur songs that true love is real.....keep u guiz..its westlife for real...life...wowwowowwowowowwowwowowwo

about 9 years ago

west life, you mad me had a feelings of love, heart of believed that true love exist throught your songs i know and that i believe the messages. i love you and your song as well, keet it up, world are feeling your songs, no resting, no waiting, no going back, always be together as one, ilove your new songs you just realice, Back Home, go always be with you al the time

over 9 years ago

I love Bryan very much.

over 9 years ago

I would like to have west life lyrics for the song "you raise me up"

over 9 years ago

I Adore your songs and i luv u all so much. I first heard of u when i could walk (which was when i was 1); and now i am 9, nearly ten on the 23rd of May. My faverate songs r u rase me up, Home and uptown Girl. My Westlife wish is to sing with u, then in Concert, then in your next album. I write songs for u and one Day i AM going to see u face 2 face again I MUST. I have been to see u in concert before; and if u read this message i was there with u 2 years ago in the Nottingham arena. Nicky accedenilly wrote on my Baby sisters head when we where taking a photo; and Mark, u where the last one to walk out the door and i asked u if u where Mark and u said "Yes!!!". It was a wonderful moment. In the break Sally (can u remember her) well she sent my big sister a message saying that u said " THAT I WAS THE ASBSOLUTE CUTTIST AND BEST GIRL THAT U HAD EVER MET IN THE WORLD AND HE HAD MET A LOT OF GIRLS IN THE WORLD. In school i was bosting about it and everyone was gelous. ( Litralilly gelous). From that day on i feel the luckiest girl in the world........I LOVE U ALL SO VERY VERY MUCH.this is for all of Westlife XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

over 9 years ago

I love love love Nicky Byrne. I wud luv to be in da same room as him nd all my dreams wud cum true if he gave me a hug. You have the right to remain da Best eva. Keep rockin ma world. XxX

over 9 years ago

i have loved westlife since i was young and i will continue to love you.you have been there for me through break ups and make ups.westlife rocks.keep up the good work.love you to death

over 9 years ago

Hello everyone......!!!I just want to say that WESTLIFE are very good singer..So far.....I really admire them...WESTLIFE are my inspiration,,,wherever i go,,whatever i do...I LOVE YOU FOREVER......

over 9 years ago

westlife i love all the albums uv produced so far you are an inspiration but especially, i love, YOU RASE ME UP.

over 9 years ago

I just want to say that westlife are the best singers i love them!!!

over 9 years ago

Hallo I just want to say that you are excellent singers. I would like the backtrack of your new album: Back Home, Song - I DO. I want to play it at my wedding Thank You