The former Boyzone and Westlife stars, now performing together as Boyzlife, on why they’re supporting Age UK and how they’re handling lockdown
RD: You’re donating proceeds from your debut single “You Needed Me” to Age UK. Why did you choose that particular cause?
Brian: With Covid-19, the people who are getting affected most are the elderly. The single was coming out anyway so we decided to donate the proceeds to a worthy charity and Age UK was the obvious one for us. It’s not just about how they’re most affected by this virus, it’s also about them feeling lonely or not being able to get the food and medicine they need. Age UK is a fantastic organisation that makes sure the elderly are being looked after.
RD: What can fans expect from your debut album, Strings Attached?
Keith: The album’s very exciting, I have to say. We’ve taken our favourite Boyzone and Westlife songs and put a different spin on them by rerecording them with the 84-piece Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. We didn’t know what to expect but every time we heard one of the finished tracks the hairs stood up on the back of our necks. They’ve turned out beautifully. “No Matter What,” which is Boyzone’s biggest-selling song of all time, sounds wonderful with an orchestra, as do Westlife songs like “Flying Without Wings” and “Swear It Again”. We’re both so pleased and proud of what we’ve created. And lyrically “You Needed Me” really resonates now with what’s going on because it’s about taking care of someone less fortunate than yourself.
RD: How did you two end up coming together as Boyzlife in the first place?
Brian: A few years ago Keith and I got together to do an autobiographical show, where the two of us would sit on stage and tell stories about our lives and careers—during which we’d sing four or five songs from the two bands. We called it Boyzlife and it was meant to be just that one tour, but it was so successful we ended up doing a second tour. From that it just developed into us doing full shows of the songs with a full band and to recording a new album.
RD: How are you both coping with the lockdown?
Keith: I know these are very difficult times for people, but the career choice I made at 18 years old has taken me away from home most of my working life. I had kids when I was quite young and I spent a great deal of time on the road when they were growing up. My daughter is 20 now and my son is 24 and them, my wife and myself are all in the family home—and we’ve had the most amazing time together. We’ve really enjoyed each other’s company and we’ve never had this much quality time together before.
Brian: It’s the same for me. A lot of people are taking negatives from having to stay at home but I’m embracing it. I know this is an awful time and also a tragic one, but instead of complaining about having to be at home we should cherish it. I’m used to being constantly on the road, where going home for one or two nights was a luxury. Now my partner Danielle and I are watching boxsets together and I’m spending about five hours a day practising my golf swing in the sitting room. My putting is gonna be extraordinary by the time I get back on the golf course.
RD: You’re due to hit the road again from August 27. What’s in store for the fans?
Keith: We managed to do 24 shows in February and March before we had to cancel the remaining dates, which was obviously the right thing to do. God willing we can start up again at the end of August, by which time people will be ready to get out of their houses and go and have a good night. Our show is full of enjoyment and fun. It’s high-energy and it will brings smiles to people’s faces again.
The new single “You Needed Me” is out now and the album Strings Attached follows on May 29. Tickets are currently on sale for the second leg of their UK tour. For more information visit boyzlife.co
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