Ronan Keating, the pop sensation from the 1990s and 2000s whose repertoire includes hit songs from his solo albums as well as his successful band Boyzone performed in Bangalore to a packed audience at the Bhartiya Mall of Bengaluru. Along with the five members of Boyzone, Keating scored six number one singles and five number one albums in the UK. He made his debut with 2000s Ronan, topping the charts in the UK and hitting number two in Ireland.

Ronan Patrick John Keating hails from Dublin, Ireland and was raised in a working-class family with a father who drove trucks and a mother who worked as a hairdresser. He became interested in performing, and around age 16, auditioned for Boyzone after seeing manager Louis Walsh’s newspaper advertisement looking to put together an Irish version of the successful English boy band Take That. Keating made his solo debut with the song “When you say nothing at all” for the soundtrack to the romantic comedy Notting Hill that went to number 1 in the UK and paved the way for his debut solo album. If Tomorrow Never Comes and Life is a Roller Coaster are two of his popular songs, besides many others. The concert in Bengaluru was an enchanting fusion of music and Magic Moments, weaving an unforgettable tapestry of memories for all his fans.

We caught up with the Irish Pop singer and television presenter, Ronan Keating who became one of Europe’s most recognizable stars as the leader of the boy band Boyzone before the concert at ZLB23, Leela Palace Bengaluru.

In the initial years what was your inspiration and what motivated you?
The MTV and television and of course, George Michael. I played at some of the school bands and rock bands in the area. In 1993 everything changed in the span of two years after the song Love me for a reason came out and by 1995 I was part of the band Boyzone. My previous visit to Bangalore 25 years back was very impressive and had a lasting effect. I loved the pop music on those days.

Bangalore does that to people. Something that you like about Indian hospitality?
I love Indian hospitality. My wife and I got to India last week and went to Ranthambore. I was up on a hill there and it was truly magical and I really got to wind down. I felt a lot of healing in India and I felt so grounded and at so much peace with myself. I meditated and read a lot. I also did yoga and there was a sense of calm. I know the cities are crazy and there’s hustle and bustle but there’s great energy. I know that when I arrived today morning it wasn’t bad on the roads and now when I go to perform at the Bhartiya Mall, the traffic will be very bad. But I like the energy here. Indian hospitality is truly the best and you guys take attention of every detail.

You have been awarded an honorary doctorate from The Open University for your work on philanthropy and music. Tell us about the charitable work you have been doing?
We should use our voice for a good cause anytime that we can. Unfortunately I lost my mother to breast cancer in 1998 and my family and I were devastated, scared, lost, hurt and mostly uneducated about the disease. So we wanted to change that for other people in Ireland. So we started a foundation to help other people The thing about cancer is that it’s going to be in all our lives sadly, but if we can catch it on time it can be cured. My mom came from that generation when she did not get checked on time. They were scared of doctors in those days. It’s about education people on cancer, going to the doctor and getting yourself checked regularly. If you find something, the questions you need to ask and the treatment thereafter. We have three mobile units in Ireland three in UK. We have raised about a hundred and half million pounds. The disease is disarming and is scared. I’m scared too and I keep getting myself checked constantly. I got myself tested recently. I’m aware of alcohol and sugar that is bad for us and everything around us, so we have to pay attention to everything in the society. I’ve got 5 children, a 25 year old, 22 year old, 18 year old, 6 year old and a 3 year old. For me it’s about living everyday. We work around the world in different forms, big gala dinners and all that. We work also in South Africa, Germany, Australia and UK and Ireland of course.

Would you like to share something about your musical career?
I feel blessed and grateful. My friend golfer who is 82 and is always full of gratitude. I think we are all grateful for what we have the world will be a better place. I’m grateful for every night that I stand on stage, my friends, my family, for the air I breathe in. I’ve been around for 30 years and I’m still active in the music industry. I’m living my dream and I’m happy that I’m still getting around.

How do you manage to look the same after all these years?
It’s attitude, more than anything. My skin has been great after all these years and I have had some time to feel like myself again after all these years. It’s positivity and my energy that allows me to stay young. I also go to the gym everyday and I try and stay active or do some kind of activity. I also love to sit down every evening with a glass of wine or tequila sometimes and enjoy myself. I can smile and laugh and I think that’s really important. I lost my brother in July and my energy was on the floor. I felt my skin was sagging and coming to India I feel energized again and my skin is also feeling great now. Finding joy is important and it keeps you looking young. I love taking my wife out for dinner and love to discover new offbeat bars and restaurants. My wife used to produce MasterChef Australia. Storm (his wife), so we love good food and keep trying new places.

Your favourite dish and favourite cocktail?
I’m more of a red wine drinker. I’m actually surprised with some very good Indian wines. Last few days I’ve been trying out some Indian wines and have been very impressed. India and Indians have a lot to offer. I like an occasional glass of tequila cocktail sometimes.

Do you listen to Indian music and any favourite artists?
While I’ve been here I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. We came here in 2005 for the MTV India Awards and I was blown away by the talent. I can see where Beyonce has stolen all that she does from. All the Indian artists were doing it before Beyonce started it. The level of creativity and talent is endless. There are so many talented artists here. I would love to collaborate with Indian artists. I think that would be very cool.

What are all the differences you have noticed since you came here in 2005?
When I came earlier I didn’t get enough time to appreciate India. It was all about going to the hotel, get in the car do your gig and get back. Since I met my wife we try to travel for a few days before I get to work (perform). So this is what we did this time as well. We went to Ranthambore and then drove to Jaipur and saw the City Palace and the hustle bustle was crazy. We found a small boutique hotel in the middle of Jaipur. I felt like I was on the set of a James Bond movie. It was very rustic yet so chic. I love the energy here in India.

What inspires you when you sing?
Everything – my wife, my children, my love and just life. I pay more attention to my surroundings as I get older. Earlier it was mostly work and cell phones, but now I like to look around and explore.

Your playlist is there in every age group- college crush, breakups, love. How has your audience evolved with you? Have they also changed over time?
That’s the wonderful thing about music. It changes and evolves and is always there for people. I was one of those artists in the 90s that people were banging on windows and chasing cars down the streets. Being a boy band we had that sort of energy, but then as I went solo I grew old, my fans grew up with me. They also became of fans of different artists. They might listen to Byran Adams on Monday, but on a Tuesday they might listen to this guy out here (pointing to himself) and on Wednesday there may be someone else. But on their shelves there will always be different artists. That’s what any artist wants.

Your music still has the nostalgia factor!
Wait till you get to the concert tonight!