TWENTY years since releasing his chart-topping debut solo album, Boyzone’s Ronan Keating will mark the anniversary with a new record and tour, taking in York Barbican on June 19.
That night, the Irish boy band graduate will be promoting an album perfectly entitled for this year, Twenty Twenty, out on May 1 on the Decca Records label.
Tickets go on sale on February 21 at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk, on 0203 356 5441 or in person from the Barbican box office.
Dubliner Keating, who will turn 43 on March 3, describes Twenty Twenty as “a greatest hits of brand new music”. To help him celebrate the 20th anniversary of his self-titled debut, he made two inspired choices: to dive into his back catalogue torevisit three of his biggest hits and, for some new numbers, call in some friends.
First single One Of A Kind, despite its title, is a duet, wherein the Irishman is joined by Emeli Sandé. “I guess I’ve been known for those first dance songs at weddings and this has me written all over it,” says Keating. “It’s all about the night before the wedding, the day of the wedding and spending the rest of your life together.”
He decided the song demanded a duet partner, and for Ronan there was only one choice: the Sunderland-born, Scottish-raised Sandé.“I was completely honoured when Emeli said she’d love to do it,” he says. “I was just blown away by her vocal. She’s obviously got a brilliant voice, and she’s a lovely, warm person, so the personality she’s brought to the song is just incredible.”
For Twenty Twenty, Keating had production assistance from his longstanding wingman, Steve Lipson, who has worked with such big hitters as Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Annie Lennox, Simple Minds, and Whitney Houston. Names of further collaborators and track titles will be revealed in due course, but Keating teases by revealing those collaborators comprise some of his closest musical and chart-topping friends.
Over the past 20 years, Keating has chalked up 30 consecutive Top Ten solo singles, ten studio albums, multiple tours and 20 million records sales on top of 25 million sold with Boyzone, as well as judging on The X Factor and The Voice in Australia; acting in television drama and film; playing Guy in the romantic Irish hit, Once The Musical, in the West End and co-hosting Magic FM’s breakfast show.
Over the past 12 months, he has worked tirelessly on an album that celebrates a longevity he does not take for granted. “There’s not a lot of artists that have been lucky enough to do 20 years and still be here,” he says, appreciative too of sustaining solo and band careers. “I’m very honoured to have had that, so I wanted to mark it with an album like this.”
In York, Keating last performed with Boyzone at a York Racecourse Music Showcase post-racing show on July 28 2018 on their 25th anniversary tour. His last solo appearance in the city was at York Barbican on September 21 2016. Last summer, the dangers posed by a massive thunderstorm led to his open-air solo concert at Castle Howard, near York, on August 4 being cut short.