Ronan Keating has said he felt "anger, resentment and bitterness" over being unable to see his family in Ireland during the pandemic.

The Boyzone star, who was born in Dublin and now lives just outside London with his wife, Australian fashion designer Storm, has said he struggled with being disconnected from his relatives during lockdown.

Keating said he listened to music that reminded him of Ireland as a way of staying in touch with his roots, inspiring his forthcoming album, Songs from Home, in the process.

Speaking ahead of its release on November 12 Keating said: "After a year of being away from my siblings and my dad, you take it for granted that you can see your loved ones at the drop of a hat. You can jump in a car, you can jump on a plane. And that was taken away from us.

Ronan Keating with his wife Storm, who features on his new single, The Blower's Daughter

"As time went on anger, resentment and bitterness sets in and you miss them. We would have been celebrating my dad's 80th last September. We had a family event planned and obviously, it all went out the window like everybody else’s plans.

"It was through that that my connection with Irish music became even more relevant to me and important to me – because it was home.

"So these songs, when you have a glass of wine in the house, the music would go on. The choice of songs I would pick, I would gravitate towards these sorts of songs.

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"It was through that, that really when we came out of this, I said I would love to make a record that reflects where I have come from as an artist, the songs I have grown up listening to.

"The songs that have moulded me as an artist and that I continue to listen to today."

Songs From Home, Keating's 12th solo album, highlights traditional poetry and folklore alongside contemporary tracks by U2, Sir Van Morrison and Mic Christopher.

He said visiting Dublin for the first time since the start of the pandemic was an "emotional" experience.

"It was quite emotional when I got off the plane in Dublin," he said.

"The airport was quiet. When I arrived I had a lump in my throat. It was flying in was when it started and I could feel it in my belly.

"It was quite an emotional thing to go back home. I didn’t realise how much I missed it until I was back there."

Boyzone (L - R Keith Duffy, Ronan Keating, Stephen Gately, Shane Lynch, Mikey Graham), pictured in 1996

Recalling his early years in Boyzone, Keating said Irish fans abroad were most proud of the band’s achievements.

He said: "There’s no screaming or any of that kind of stuff. A lot of the time someone will ask you for a photograph and an autograph.

"But I don’t get the mad hysteria we used to get in the Boyzone days, which was bananas in Ireland.

"That was crazy. That probably went away in 2005 or 2006 as I got older and the fans got older too. You don’t see much of that anymore.

"It’s nice because there is a sense of pride, I guess, from people in Ireland – but more when you meet Irish people outside of Ireland.

"If I meet Irish people outside of Ireland, that’s when you really get a sense of the pride they feel – ‘Ah, you are one of ours’. Definitely, I think it is more that way."

Songs From Home will be released on 12 November. The first single from the album, a cover of Damien Rice's The Blower's Daughter, features vocals from his wife Storm and is out now.

Source: Press Association

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