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The success story rolls on

As part of Boyzone, Ronan Keating took the British charts by storm, racking up several No.1 singles and albums. As a solo artiste not much has changed. He has released five solo albums, three of which went straight to number one. The Times traces the most important aspects of the musician's career.

Ronan Keating, the singer with the poster-boy looks whose singles always end up on everyone's lips, will be performing live in Malta at the MFCC in Ta' Qali on Saturday, April 3.

Mr Keating will be making a brief stop in Malta as part of his world tour, which kicked off in February to packed halls and which took him all the way from New Zealand and Australia to Scotland, Ireland, England and Germany.

The concert, which is being organised by NnG Promotions, is expected to follow the tradition of mega concerts that the likes of Roger Waters, Brian Adams, Sting, Elton John, Eros Ramazzotti, Duran Duran, Michael Bolton, Tom Jones, Abba - The Show and Laura Pausini have offered us.

Mr Keating's music provides an irresistible mix of pop and rock and all his singles enjoy enduring popularity and a number of Smash Hit and MTV Awards. Ever since his first single sold in excess of half a million copies, Mr Keating has released a number of ballads and love anthems including Life Is A Rollercoaster, When You Say Nothing At All, Once Upon A Lifetime, If Tomorrow Never Comes and others. He is also listed in the Guinness Book Of Records for being the only artiste ever to have 30 consecutive top 10 singles in the UK chart, having beaten the likes of Elvis. He has sold in excess of 22 million albums across the world.

Songs for his mother

Mr Keating was well-known for enjoying a very close relationship with his mother, Marie Keating. Even after she passed away in 1998, her presence in Mr Keating's music was constant. Last year, the fruits of his mother's inspiration was translated into a beautiful and evocative album called Songs For My Mother.

The album brings together a touching collection of songs that Mr Keating remembers his mum listening to throughout his childhood. All of the songs on the album were carefully selected by Mr Keating for the special place they hold in his heart. Along with traditional folk songs such as Wild Mountain Thyme and Carrickfergus, the album includes tracks by well-known musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Elvis as well as Mr Keating's version of Joshua Kadison's song Mamas Arms, a song that helped him through his grieving period.

The album also includes a brand-new version of the song This Is Your Song. Mr Keating wrote This Is Your Song for both his parents and the track first appeared on his number-one 2002 solo album Destination and fast became a favourite with his fans.

Along with his family, Mr Keating also set up The Marie Keating Foundation, which funds two mobile cancer awareness units in Ireland. The foundation's work has helped achieve a six per cent increase in cancer survival rates across Ireland.

The Boyzone angle

Ronan Keating originally burst onto the international music scene with the pop group Boyzone but soon left off to pursue a highly successful international career. Since his first single When You Say Nothing At All was used as the theme song for the award-winning movie Notting Hill, not only did it top all charts but it also exploded a solo career that keeps going from strength to strength.

While Mr Keating's solo career continues to grow, this month also saw the debut of Boyzone's new album, Brother. The album was very much inspired and affected by the tragic death of Stephen Gately, who died on October 10 last year while on holiday in Majorca as a result of a pulmonary oedema, or fluid in the lungs.

Following Mr Gately's death, the four remaining Boyz were still grieving and wondering whether the idea for a new Boyzone album should be scrapped altogether. Eventually they decided that the best thing that they could do to pay tribute to their old friend and band member was to get the show back on the road and finish the album. And so, amid rumours of the group cancelling the album Brother altogether, the newest collection of Boyzone music was born.

Touchingly, the album includes the vocals that Mr Gately had already recorded prior to his death - a fact which made the studio experience that much more poignant for the four musicians, but that also served to bring them even closer together. The album in fact contains two songs sung by the late musician, one of which is the lead single Gave It All Away, which was written by Mika.

Mr Keating describes the album as a major departure from the group has done before - there are no ballads and the style is very much an adult pop record, with the songs very reminiscent of Coldplay and U2. All the tracks are new.

Tickets for the concert may be obtained from Vodafone outlets, Agenda and Exotique or online at www.nngpromotions.com.

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