FORMER Westlife star Mark Feehily has just launched his latest album, entitled Christmas – which he claims is his “favourite time of year”.
The multi-Brit Award winning artist has pulled together a bunch of his favorite Christmas songs for the CD, including a moving cover of Joni Mitchell’s River and an uplifting version of Otis Redding’s Merry Christmas Baby as well as Mark’s own versions of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Mariah Carey’s Miss You Most (at Christmas Time).
Speaking at the album launch in Dublin, he said: “Christmas has always been my favourite time of the year, so naturally it’s been a dream of mine to make this album.
“It’s been fantastic being back in the studio to cover wonderful songs and make them my own.
“I’m looking forward to giving something back to fans, this is what the album is all about. It is a bit of my own Christmas gift to them.”
Feehily was also a the special guest performer on Mariah Carey’s British Christmas tour.
Between the tour and the album release, Feehily is back with a festive bang after a two-year absence from the music spotlight.
Christmas by Mark Feehily is now available.
Who are your heroes?
Musically it would be Prince, Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Whitney and Michael Jackson. Personally my grandparents and my parents, who have been the most influential people in my life across the board.
What’s been the best decade of your life so far and why?
I think from the age of 25 after coming out I really got to live life 100 per cent true to myself so it would have to be life post 25. There was a lot of the best years in Westlife too and some great periods of personal growth since the band ended too.
What record sends a shiver down your spine?
Songs in the key of life by Stevie Wonder. I had known his hits for years, like I just called to say I love you, but when I started to delve deeper into his albums and music later in life when I was about 21 I realised the true power and depth of his talent as a singer/ songwriter/musician.
What is your favourite place in Ireland?
Sligo through and through, it’s where my family and friends are from as well as the fact that it’s been my home all my life. It’s only getting more beautiful and anyone I ever bring there as a guest is blown away by everything it has to offer.
What makes you angry?
Homophobia is probably the thing that makes me most angry seeing as it’s so suppressive and dangerous, especially for younger people struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.
What book influenced you most?
I like reading the autobiographies of people who I can somehow relate to. Not in the way that I feel exactly like them, it might just be a small part of their story that I relate to but it’s comforting and inspirational to read about someone who’s overcome a struggle. Both Boy George’s autobiographies were very interesting. He grew up in a London-Irish family of builders and boxers but somehow was fearless in himself.
What was the worst moment of your life?
I think losing my grandparents at various points was the saddest thing in my life so far. I was very close to all of them, they all had long and happy lives but that doesn’t make it easy.
Which local star should the world outside Ireland know about?
I think that there are thousands of people who are the real heroes like nurses and surgeons and people who are unsung heroes who deserves to be celebrated much more than they are. Musicians and actors can be great entertainment but these people change and save lives multiple times a day and don’t get enough thanks.
If you could change one thing in your life, what would it be?
I would take away all confrontation and stress. It’s one thing that’s tough about being busy in any industry and I would love a life without those difficult conversations and disagreements but at the same time they have to happen when you’re passionate about what you do.
Can you recommend an interesting website?
Recently I’ve been looking at furniture a lot and maisondumonde.com or made.com are pretty good ones for ideas.
What is the best lesson life has taught you?
Probably that no amount of success or money can ever compete with the feeling of satisfaction and happiness and personally it could never beat being around family and friends and all of us being content and healthy.
What is your favourite film and why?
My favourite film changes all the time but I rarely watch a film more than once. If I can watch it multiple times, then it’s definitely a great movie. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is an amazing film, American History X, anything by Wes Anderson. I love movies with amazing art direction. Tom Ford directed A Single Man which was one of the best yet.
What do you believe in?
I believe in being fair, diplomacy, equal rights for everyone. I think Ireland has jumped forward in leaps and bounds since I was a kid and I’m proud to come from a
country that has really learned to appreciate the importance of equality.
What trait do others criticise you for?
Sometimes people tell me I don’t smile enough on stage. I could literally have the best gig of my life and be ecstatic and someone might say ‘you didn’t look like you were enjoying yourself’, maybe it’s because I’m focusing so much or just in my own little zone. I really do love performing so much and try to express that facially a bit more lately.
Where do you live and what are the best and worst things about that place?
I live in Sligo and it has everything I need. Family, nature, great bars and restaurants and the people are very friendly. As a kid, growing up in Sligo is great for art and culture between all the amazing history, such as the Bram Stoker connection and WB Yeats.
On what occasion is it OK to lie?
Maybe white lies to kids in order to protect them from fear or stress. There’s no need
to exercise complete honesty to a child, you have to teach them about everything but all at the right pace.
What do you consider the greatest work of art?
A good friend of mine, Sue Tilley, was the subject of paintings by the amazing artist Lucien Freud. His paintings of her Benefits supervisor sleeping and Benefits supervisor resting were amongst the most expensive paintings ever sold.
What is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Probably buying expensive scented candles that I know cost far too much. They are literally like burning money. I bought a huge candle in LA once, it was about 2ft tall and a foot deep. It did last me about two years though.
Who is the love of your life?
My boyfriend of course. I am delighted to be in a secure long-term relationship
and live with my best friend. It’s amazing to know someone is there when you wake up and before you fall asleep.