Image source: Daily Telegraph Australia"Ronan Keating and Guy Sebastian on their friendship" - Interview: Cameron Adams, Daily Telegraph Australia, 17.11.2010

What's something you've learnt about each other since becoming friends?

Ronan Keating: Guy won Idol for his singing ability, but he's a real artist, a real musician. He plays guitar, piano, writes his own music. I don't think a lot of people know that and more people should.

Guy Sebastian: Ronan's got a great musical maturity. He understands the heart, he knows how to move the heart. When people think of Ronan he's been around for so long, yet he's only 33. He's seen so much. We did a duet (All For Love) where we blended so well there's parts I don't know where I end and Ronan begins.

RK: We're very similar, we have the same passions - music and motorcycles.

And tattoos it seems ...

RK: Mine have grown through the show. We have tattoo competitions.

GS: We turn up and go "What have you had done there?"

RK: I want to finish my whole sleeve and start the other arm. Guy's work is beautiful. You just don't stop getting them once you start.

Guy, you've just released your first best of, Twenty Ten. Thoughts?

GS: It's weird to have a best of, I've only been doing this for seven or eight years. I guess it's one of those things, the record company contract finishes and they've got that in their artillery. So we tried to be creative - two new songs, plus 10 acoustic versions.

The single Who's That Girl is different for you - electro R&B with a rap from Eve ...

GS: It's what you're hearing on radio now; four on the floor dance-driven with a guest rapper. That's kind of the template at the moment. Eve's about to fly in to do the video.

Do you remember your first best of, Ronan?

RK: The Boyzone one was the first, in 1999. Then there was Boyzone's Love Songs, which they put out without us having anything to do with. Then I had my 10 Years of Hits in 2004. I'm nearly at 20 years of hits at this stage, I'm expecting the phone call soon!

Ronan, you break away from being Mr Ballad on your new album Duet.

RK: It's a real mixed bag, there's rap, soul, country, R&B. The heart of the album is me, which is a pop/country feel. My biggest hits have been uptempos - Life is a Rollercoaster and Lovin' Each Day. But If Tomorrow Never Comes and When You Say Nothing At All were as big, so people see me as doing the songs people play first at weddings.

What's next for you Ronan?

RK: I've got a concept album happening in March with Burt Bacharach. He's going to produce it, there's some of his songs, some of my songs, him playing, me singing and vice versa.

Is that a dream come true?

RK: It is. Longevity in this industry opens incredible doors for you. Legendary artists wait and see what is going to happen with younger artists, if they're going to be a flash in the pan or not. After 18 years these doors are starting to properly open for me.

Image source: Herald SunYou slagged off the ARIA Awards, Ronan. Care to expand?

RK: I was disgusted my mate (Guy) didn't get any awards, it's a joke. And then having him close the show - the big moment - what a job he did closing it. They're aware of that, but the industry guys think "Let's give it to the credible cool folk". He's the biggest-selling act in the country. And the new idea of separating the live performances down there and the celebrities, let's call them, up here - it was like "In the cheap seats clap your hands and in the rich seats rattle your jewellery". There was no flow. Nobody knew what was going on. That's not an award show.

GS: It felt like the Birdcage at the races. It was great if you were there with a VIP pass, but to watch it on TV it was a shemozzle. It just didn't work. There was no prestige. I remember people like Diesel saying how much an ARIA meant to them back in the day. Now people in bands were getting ARIAs and they didn't even know what they were for. They need to bring it back to a theatre, where there's prestige, where people walk up to the stage to accept their award. It's disappointing to know as an artist that it doesn't rate on TV either. This is our Grammys.

RK: But there's a format to the Grammys they've stuck to for so long because it works. That's the bottom line.

How have you enjoyed being based in Sydney for a few months Ronan?

RK: I love it. I leave next week and I don't want to go. If my family weren't in Ireland I wouldn't be going back. I'd easily settle down here.

You dedicate Duet to your wife and talk about the mistake you made - it sounds like there's a happy ending?

RK: We're still working on things. We're not in any situation at the moment. I love my wife. I love her. We'll see where the road takes us.

Guy, what's happening with America?

GS: We've got an apartment over there but I'll be back and forth. I'm conscious of going, "I want to crack the States" and neglecting Australia for three years and coming back to not have a career any more.

How has it been being on the other side of the stage and judging singers on X Factor?

RK: I've learnt a lot about myself. I'd have been very uncomfortable doing it at 22, but at this stage of my life and my career I have the ability and knowledge to do it.

GS: There's been stuff that's been confronting for me - like saying no. In the boot camp, I'd say no to groups and they'd bawl their eyes out. I struggled with that. We're so used to being the good guys. We get on stage, we sing to our fans who have chosen to buy a ticket, there's no one against you there. But you also feel like you're doing some people a favour as they should definitely choose another career. And Ronan's a genius. I wouldn't have let (X Factor contestant) Altiyan through. Ronan had the foresight. Altiyan's been the best thing about the show for me. He's made us question every judgment in all of us. As nice as you are, everyone judges. I did - he was as nutty as they come when he walked in the room. But you see the true heart of him and every other quirk is forgiven.

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