Is Nicky Byrne set to represent Ireland at Eurovision 2016? It may be only a rumour, but the ex-Westlife singer is doing nothing to quash the gossip. In fact, he’s just added further fuel to the flames by saying that he would grasp the opportunity to sing in Stockholm with both hands.
Ever since talk of his potential participation began on Wednesday night, fans have been coming up with a variety of reasons as to why Byrne can’t be the Irish representative. Speaking to The Irish Sun, he tackled these issues head on. Here’s what he had to say.
Nicky is currently the only member of Westlife not to release any solo material. And even during his time in the band he was never to the fore when it came to vocals. Commentators were quick to point this out. Byrne says he understands the concern, but argues that it’s misplaced.
I absolutely get people on Twitter saying, ‘He was a backing vocalist’ — but in Westlife Shane and Mark were the producers’ favourites. This might be a surprise to some people but it wouldn’t be a surprise to me. That’s why it would be more exciting for me to go (to Eurovision). I knew going into Westlife I was a decent singer. You have to believe in your own ability.
For the last three years, Ireland has sent relative unknowns to the contest. Not since Jedward in 2012 has the country sent an act with a national profile, let alone an international one. A big name isn’t a guarantee of Eurovision success, but it definitely doesn’t do any harm. Byrne certainly doesn’t suffer from a lack of notoriety (the buzz has even reached Sweden) and he knows it.
In Europe they would know it was one of Westlife doing it and they would know it was that guy, the blonde one. I was part of a very successful boyband that toured the world. You would be halfway up the ladder in terms of people knowing you. That’s not necessarily going to make you do well in the show, but if you get a song on top of that, you might do well.
Many treat Eurovision with a degree of condescension. And even baulk at the mere idea that they might be associated with the event — Alexandra Burke, Paloma Faith, Kylie Minogue to name a few. Not so with Nicky.
People talk about Eurovision like it’s a step down. It’s not 100 per cent I’m doing it — but if offered it, I would grasp it with both hands.
And he’d relish the chance to represent his country on an international stage.
If that opportunity arose for me, I would love it because I am very patriotic. If I didn’t feel I had a song that would be decent, you wouldn’t consider it — but I would represent my country in tiddlywinks if I got the opportunity.
Byrne is currently adding the finishing touches to his debut solo album, Kissing In Car Parks. The record is due to be released later this year and contains tracks written by Wayne Hector, the man who wrote two of Westlife’s biggest hits — “Flying Without Wings” and “Swear It Again”. Nicky is confident that it contains a Eurovision worthy track.
I’ve been working on this solo record for the past three years. So to link the Eurovision to it, when I considered that, I thought, ‘Wow, incredible.’ I suppose if I didn’t feel I had a song that would be decent, I wouldn’t consider anything like that. I have loads of songs, certainly. The Eurovision Song Contest is a song contest and I’ve co-written an album.
While Nicky Byrne is clearly happy to speak openly about the rumours, they’re still rumours. Neither he nor RTÉ are confirming the news. So far the official line from the Irish public broadcaster is that “RTÉ will be making an announcement regarding our selection process later this month”. However, that hasn’t stopped the entertainment arm of the network hopping on the Byrne bandwagon and speculating with the rest of us.
What do y’all make of it? Is the selection of Nicky Byrne a foregone conclusion? Or are we simply caught up in a whirlwind of hype, generated by a number of self-interested parties? Let us know below.
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