SHANE Filan was a teenager when he joined a boy band called Westlife in 1998.

The Irish five-piece - later a four-piece following Brian McFadden's departure - became one of the biggest pop acts of the following decade, clocking up 14 UK Number One singles, 12 albums and numerous arena tours.

In 2012 the boy band, which had become a man band, decided to call it a day and Shane started working on his first solo album, You and Me.

“It was strange not being with the band after so long but it was a new challenge working on something on my own," he says. " I ended up with over 40 songs, once I started I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to rush anything so I took my time and made sure everything was exactly as I wanted it to be.”

Shane wrote the tracks; a lively mix of pop, soul, country, folk and a hint of traditional Irish music.

“I love banjos and ukuleles. When you’re in a pub with a pint of Guinness, watching music that makes you stamp your feet, that’s what makes me happiest," he says. “I put my heart and soul into the songs, the album is very personal to me as it’s very much about my wife Gillian who has been by my side throughout everything."

* Shane Filan is at St George's Hall on October 26. For tickets ring (01274) 432000.