Ronan Keating has admitted he felt “anger, resentment and bitterness” for not being able to see his family in Ireland during the pandemic.
The Dublin-born Boyzone star lives outside of London with his wife, Australian fashion designer Storm, and struggled to be separated from his relatives during the lockdown.
Keating said he listened to music that reminded him of Ireland to keep in touch with his roots while inspiring his upcoming album.
He told the PA news agency: “After a year without my siblings and my father, you take it for granted that you will be able to see your loved ones in the blink of an eye. You can jump in a car, you can jump on an airplane. And that was taken away from us.
“Over time, anger, resentment, and bitterness set in and you miss them. Last September we would have celebrated my father’s 80th birthday. We had planned a family celebration and of course everything went out the window like everyone else.
“It made my connection to Irish music even more relevant and important to me – because it was home.
“So these songs, when you have a glass of wine in the house, the music went on. When choosing songs, I would be interested in these types of songs.
“That’s how I said when we came out that I would like to make a record that reflects my origins as an artist, the songs I grew up with.
“The songs that shaped me as an artist and that I still hear today.”
Songs From Home, his 12th solo album, highlights traditional poetry and folklore alongside contemporary tracks from U2, Sir Van Morrison and Mic Christopher.
He said visiting Dublin for the first time since the pandemic began was an “emotional” experience.
“It was pretty emotional when I got off the plane in Dublin,” he said.
“The airport was quiet. When I got there, I had a lump in my throat. It flew in when it started and I could feel it in my stomach.
“It was quite an emotional thing to come back home. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was there again. “
Recalling his early years in Boyzone, Keating said Irish fans overseas were most proud of the band’s accomplishments.
He said, “There is no screaming or anything. Often times someone will ask for a photo and autograph.
“But I don’t understand the crazy hysteria we had in the Boyzone days that were bananas in Ireland.
“That was crazy. It probably went away in 2005 or 2006 when I got older and the fans got older too. You don’t see much of that anymore.
“It’s nice because I think people in Ireland have a sense of pride – but even more so when you meet Irish people outside of Ireland.
“When I meet Irish people outside Ireland, you really get a sense of the pride they feel – ‘Ah, you are one of us’. In any case, I think it’s more like that. “
The first single The Blower’s Daughter with the vocals of his wife Storm will be released on Friday. Songs From Home will be released on November 12th on Decca Records.
You can find more stories from where you live at Near you.