EXCLUSIVE! Nicky on Eurovision bid: ‘I wasn’t myself in Westlife’

He spent 14 years touring with one of Ireland's most successful boybands, but it's only now that Nicky Byrne is beginning to feel like an artist in his own right.

"When you’re in a band like Westlife, you are given a producer’s song so you put your vocals on it and then you try to deliver that when it goes live," he told SHEmazing today, as news of his Eurovision 2016 bid went public.

"But when you are writing a song, that’s from you and your heart."

Andres Proveda Photography

Sunlight, Nicky's uptempo and oh-so catchy Eurovision entry, has in fact been a work in progress over the last two years.

Indeed, after getting its international debut in Stockholm in May, it'll feature on Nicky's upcoming album – his first since finishing with Westlife.

"I knew there would be a solo album. All the lads had released theirs so I knew mine would come in 2016."

A passion for performing is something that hasn't left Nicky, even now that he's more often found behind a radio mic on his 2FM show than in front of a crowd.

"Standing on a stage, I love it. Georgina [Ahern, Nicky's wife of 12 years] goes to me ‘Jesus Christ’ because she couldn’t even stand on a stage and look out.

"But some people just live for those moments. 

"With Westlife you were lucky enough to pop up out of the ground or fly in from the roof but we cant do that because of the stage they create in Stolkholm.

"It’s all about that three minutes; to perform, show personality and deliver the song."

With RTÉ backing him for Eurovision and a profile already built up in Ireland thanks to Westlife, it'd be easy for the 37-year-old to get complacent – but he's determined to make his own mark at a solo artist.

"For Eurovision, the Westlife thing is going to help but I hope here that just because I’m on 2FM doesn’t take from people actually giving the song a spin on other station."

"This is not a 2FM thing or an RTE thing, it's me."

Listen to Nicky's full track here, and tune into The Ray D'Arcy Show on February 13 to hear it performed live: