Westlife singer Mark Feehily released his solo Christmas album on December 1st and will be setting out on tour later this month starting December 12th at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester. Ahead of his tour, Mark can be seen as a special guest on the Mariah Carey shows at Manchester Arena and London O2. Catching up with Mark, we talk all things Christmas album and tour, his solo career and new music.
Your Christmas album was released on December 1st, can you tell us more about it and how did you decide on the tracks?
I chose songs that not only were some of my favourite Christmas songs, but also songs that I felt I could do justice to vocally. Some songs are amazing but I wouldn’t feel the need to sing them. The ones I picked all jumped out at me vocally and that was the main criteria.
What was your favourite song to record?
Probably the Mariah Carey cover Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) which I’ve been singing since the 90s. I always listened to her album as a kid.
Is a Christmas album something you’ve always wanted to release?
I have always loved the idea of a Christmas album and, much like the rest of Christmas, it’s in a little pocket that happens for about four to six weeks a year then it’s done. When I was confirmed as Mariah’s special guest I just thought, ‘this is the year to do that album!’.
What was it like being back in the studio?
That was the best part of this whole experience. Being in the studio and making music that will last forever in one way or another is my favourite thing to do! I love singing live too but studio recordings are just so creative and artistic and I was in my element arranging backing vocals and working with my producer to come up with our own unique versions.
We’re loving the option of getting a signed Christmas card when pre-ordering the album, how did you come up with this idea?
It was an idea that someone from my label mentioned amongst a load of other ideas and it stood out to me as it fits in with Christmas so well to send a fan a personally signed Christmas card!!
You are heading out on a headline tour later this month, are you prepared for it?
Yes, I know all these songs so well and will also be singing a few Westlife songs which I obviously know inside out. It’s going to be very informal and fun and laid-back so I’m not stressed, I just can’t wait to see all those people up close and personal.
What can audiences expect from this tour?
It’s going to be a sing song, it’s not a big gig with thousands of lights and smoke machines and fireworks… it’s going to be my voice and a piano. It would be my ideal environment to see one of my favourite artists in where I could really see them up close and hear their voice really clearly. That’s what inspired me to do it.
Will your album be available to purchase at the venues?
This is an independently released album on my own label and is only available online. You can, however, order a physical CD online that will get sent out to you with the personally signed Christmas card!
How does it feel knowing your fans are still there after your two-year break?
I will always be so grateful for the Westlife fans that have stuck with me on my solo journey and also to the new people who have joined the party too! I love the fans more than anything, they are why I do what I do.
You have been announced as the special guest on Mariah Carey’s upcoming tour, how different do you think it will be to your previous times playing arenas?
I think the fans are there to see Mariah so I will have to make sure to try and charm them… thankfully they are there to hear Christmas songs though, which will hopefully help!
Which countries would you like to visit on a solo tour?
China and South East Asia are next on my list, hopefully that will happen really soon as I miss those territories so much!
What was the experience like at the EMAs?
It was cool in one way. Eminent performance was great and Shawn Mendes’ voice was impressive. However, by midnight I was ready to do a Cinderella and get out of there as I had an early start the next day so it didn’t end up too rock and roll!
As a member of Westlife, what do you miss the most about being in a group?
I suppose the company on planes, trains and automobiles whilst travelling, the fun on stage and the fun after shows!
Are you planning on releasing new music next year?
I will be going into the studio and working hard but there’s no release date or time frame set just yet. I have a lot of album and non-album related plans for 2018 and 2019 that are all entertainment based so I’m excited to hit the ground running next year!
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