If Ronan Keating knew he'd be facing three generations of music lovers at once in Hong Kong, he probably would have crawled back into bed.

But being the professional that he is, the hungover twenty-six year old Dubliner gamely matched wits with Molly, who at 12 made her journalistic debut. HMV864 radio host Alyson was next. And finally, veteran journalist Scott followed. It's a formula that we hope to repeat again with more musicians in the future.

On a day in which Keating knew he'd be performing before thousands of Hong Kong fans at the Hong Kong Convention Center on his "Destination" tour, he frankly spoke about his future ambitions, made surprising revelations about his own career, got emotional about recent projects and told us "Who da man". After downing what seemed like countless cups of coffee, Keating said he thoroughly enjoyed himself. We did too. Here's what transpired.

Molly: You say you love Hong Kong. What, in particular, do you love about it?

Ronan: I love cities. New York, Hong Kong and Paris are my favorite places to really hang out in the world, and Sydney. I just like the buzz of cities and Hong Kong has got it. At night it's beautiful and during the day if s wild. I just like it. I like the people. I like the vibe. I like its pace. I like cities. I don't like going on holidays to beaches. I get bored. I like to keep on the move. I've been here five or six times and I've seen most of Hong Kong. I've gotten to know the whole idea of the Kowloon and Hong Kong side. I'm only starting to figure that out now, but now I'm getting there!

Molly: I've been watching the new video "We've Got Tonight". Are you a Bob Seger fan?

Ronan: Yeah. I like Bob Seger very much. I continue to listen to him. The Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton version was great too. It was a different twist on it. The original version with Bob Seger was just fantastic. He's got such a great voice, such a distinctive sound, really.

Molly: Why did you choose to work with Lulu?

Ronan: What actually happened was that Lulu came to me and said she was working on the duets album. She worked with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Westlife, a huge list of people on the album. She asked me if I'd sing on it and I said "Yeah, as long as you let me pick the song!" I picked it and it's one of my all time favorite love songs and the first opportunity I've had to do a duet with a woman really. So I thought 'Let's do it.'

Molly: Is a guest vocalist going to sing with you tonight?

Ronan: No. My backing vocalist Janet Ramus, who has performed with me on the whole tour, will do it. The odd time in different countries like Germany, I did a different version of the duet. And, in Italy, I did a different version of the duet with a girl there. There was supposed to be a duet out here in Asia with a lady but it didn't work out, sadly.

Molly: My school friends are jealous because I'm here. When you were at school were you a swot or a rebel?

Ronan: Well, I wasn't a rebel or a swot, but I had no time for school at all. I was terrible. I was too busy listening to music. Sport was a way out too. Today, I read a lot now. I regret not paying more attention to school, definitely. But, I've definitely learned more on the road than I've ever learned in school.
Personally, I've learned a lot more being streetwise, being on the road. But, I definitely believe in an education. It's very important. I have two children myself, so it's very important that they go through school and pay as much attention as possible. I would have loved to have learned a language. French, I didn't pay attention for one minute! And now, I'm trying to learn French. I mean, it's stupid. Why didn't I just learn at school for free? Now, I'm paying someone to teach me. I wish I'd learned more about music when I was younger. I wish I learned an instrument. I play the guitar now, but it's self taught. I wish I had piano lessons and guitar lessons when I was a kid. I would have loved that, so I recommend it.

Scott: The wishes we have!

Ronan: I know, tell me about it! Regrets, more so!

Molly: Have you ever snuck into anything, like a concert, or movies?

Ronan: Yeah, I remember when I was a kid, one guy would pay to go into the movies and then he'd open the exit door and we'd all run in. We used to do that all the time. We didn't have a lot of money, but we'd all pitch in and one guy would go in when the movie starts and open the side door. Innocent stuff.

Molly: Suede was in Hong Kong last month and Bret Anderson's fly kept coming undone. Has anything embarrassing ever happened to you at a concert?

Ronan: Many, many things. I've fallen offstage. I've forgotten the words. I remember one time I was with Steven onstage and his trousers split all the way up the middle! We've had some funny stories, some good laughs. There's always something, but nine times out of ten the audience doesn't actually notice these things. I've forgotten words to songs. Every two or three nights on every tour I forget the words. But you just make something else up.

Scott: Is that a moment of sheer panic?

Ronan: It's a moment when you're not thinking about what you're doing. When it happens it's really because of the tiredness kicking in. You just totally forget about what you are doing. And all of the sudden you're like 'Ohhhhhhhh' (laughs) and you try to remember something. Then you just look at somebody else and they will shout the words to ya.

Molly. Do you have a pre concert routine?

Ronan: Before the show I'll get there about an hour before, there's usually a "meet and greet". Then I just start warming up. I just start singing. I drink some honey and lemon and warm up my voice. Lots and lots of singing. I do the scales. I do all that kind of stuff just before the show and then you get ready. I go in with the band and we sit around together and sing a song or two together just to get a vibe between us all. That's it. Then we go onstage. There's nothing too weird, ya know?

Molly: Apart from your own, what are the best concerts you've ever been to?

Ronan: Bon Jovi for me is probably THE show. Oh no, U2. U2 in Madison Square Garden on the "Elevation" tour. It was just unbelievable. Best show I've ever seen in my life. But Bon Jovi in Dublin was amazing too. I love rock n' roll. Pop shows are quite boring, to be honest. I'm allowed to say that now (chuckles).

Molly: At the end of this Asian tour, you're going to Britain to do a huge tour there. Do you get sick of going out on the road?

Ronan: Being on tour is the best part of doing what I do. Definitely. It's freedom. You've got creative control yourself. You don't have a record company. I mean, there's no problem with record company people but they do put their nose in and try and, you know...But when I'm on stage I've got an hour and a half to do what I want to do with the band. It's magic. It's incredible. And you look out and see the faces of the people singing back to you. It's magic. You can't beat that.

Molly: Ever since you've been coming to Hong Kong, is it different from all the other audiences in other cities?

Ronan: Yeah. Nine times out of then the shows are the same, but you do get some cities where people are very reserved, like in Manila. I thought it would be wild, but everybody just sat down and looked at me! I said, 'Get up out of your seats!' But they just sat there. I was thinking 'Get out of here!'

Scott. Is it really hard when it's like that?

Ronan: It's really difficult. They're the hard shows. It's really difficult when an audience is just sitting there looking at you. Most of the time, everyone is standing on their seats, so it's a good laugh!

Molly: Did you every have the idea of doing a different kind of music?

Ronan: Slowly but surely I'm moving towards rock n' roll. That's really where my heart lies. I say rock n' roll but I mean, guitar driven songs. I write a lot of the songs myself now and I'm playing them so that's really where my songs are going. Kind of a David Gray, Bryan Adamsey feel about them.

Scott: You said you were writing with Bryan Adams recently.

Ronan: Yeah, Bryan and I are writing for the album. I'm writing with a bunch of guys. I'm writing with Ricky Ross from Deacon Blue and Bryan, some in my band: Calum and James. Yeah, so I'm just writing with everyone.

Scott: That must be a treat. Bryan approaches songs as craft and you must be learning so much from him.

Ronan: Ah, he's fantastic. He's brilliant. We were down in Cape Town (South Africa) over New Year's Eve and he was doing a couple of shows and I was on holiday with my family. So he called me up and said 'I heard you were in town.' And I said 'Heard you were in town too.' And it was like 'Come on down to the show.' I got there and Bryan's promoter said 'Bryan's been learning to play The Way You Make Me Feel" all day, so will you sing it with him onstage?' I said, 'Yeah, of course I will.' So, the encore, the last song, he calls me up and in front of ten thousand people in Cape Town. It was just wild. It was brilliant! The place went crazy. We had such a blast. He's a good friend, a great guy.

Molly: Many musicians are going into acting. Have you ever thought of going into movies?

Ronan: Yeah! I'm actually going out to LA this year. I've been offered three or four scripts this year and I turned a few of them down. But I'm going out to do a screen test for a movie in June, so we'll see what happens with that. It might not happen, but it might.

Scott: Do you want it to happen?

Ronan: I'd like to try. I'd like to get it out of my system. I might be crap at it. I might be good. I don't know, but I'd like to get it out of my system.

Scott: You say you wrote scripts as well.

Ronan: Yeah. I wrote a couple of movie scripts. I never really did anything with them but I've hooked up with a new guy. Well everybody knows who he is, a guy called Kevin Spacey (laughs, everybody laughs), a little actor! So he's helping me out by developing some of the stuff that I've done, so we'll see. He started with a new website called Trigger Street dot com. He's helping me out there so we'll see what happens.

Scott: That's a bit of help.

Ronan: Yeah, a little, slightly! He's kind of known so...

Scott: Can you pass this on to people? Yeah, I'll see what I can do.

Ronan: Exactly!

Molly: Have you seen the "Lord Of The Ring" movies?

Ronan: I've seen them all. I'm a movie fan, a real movie fan. When the movies come out, I go to the cinema, maybe two or three times a week! So I've seen everything now and that's the problem. I see everything and then there's nothing to see. So I go to see the movies again, the same movie even. I just love the experience, going in and getting some popcorn and a hotdog and sitting down in front of a big screen. So when I made a few grant I went and bought myself a home cinema system. I've got a projector and all. And I joined the Irish Classification board, so they send me movies before they come out. I just like to watch movies. I really do. It's just such a getaway for me. It's a real getaway.

Molly: Who da man? Aragon, Legolas or (all Lord Of the Rings characters)?

Ronan: Probably Aragon. I would say Aragon. How about you? Who do you think?

Molly: Legalas.

Ronan: Aragon is the son of the king right? With the long hair?

Molly: Yes.

Ronan: Yeah, he's the man! If I want to play a role in a movie, I'd like to play someone like Aragon.

Molly: I was looking at this magazine yesterday, "Top Of The Pops" and in there it's got this quote about embarrassing dates.

Ronan: Oh no, what did it say?

Molly: You said "I'm married now, so I don't date, but letting it rip is something I've definitely done. It doesn't go down very well." But I just wanted to see if it's something you actually said.

Ronan: It has happened to me. I probably would win! (laughs) No, I'm not that bad. But I get up in the morning and it's never a good idea to date in the morning. It takes a while for your system to get going. But yeah, it happens.

Molly: What's your wife's favorite of all your songs and why?

Ronan: I don't really bring it home. I try not to bring what I do home. I don't hang discs on the walls and I don't play in front of the kids really. I want to try and keep it as normal as possible. She liked "Picking Me Up". That was one of the songs she liked on the last album. Yeah.

Molly: After a long tour, what's the first thing you want to do?

Ronan: I like to go home, and stand in the kitchen while drinking a coffee with my friends around. Also, hang out with the kids and go for a walk with the kids. It's pretty normal. I like to drive. I like to get out on a bike. I like bikes, so I like getting out on my motorbike. That's something I like to do. It clears your head. I do that when I get home. Just to go down to the grocery store. Any excuse. Get on the bike and just go.

Molly: Do you have anything to say to your Hong Kong fans?

Ronan: Well, I hope they enjoy the show tonight. I hope they love the record and I hope they continue to like what I do. I think the most important thing is that I keep the people happy that I've already made happy. But, if I can bring some new ears along the way then, that's a bonus.

Alyson: Enjoying Hong Kong so far?

Ronan: As always, having a ball. Great time.

Alyson: Busy in 2003 so far?

Ronan: Yeah, it has been crazy. Last year was the craziest year I've ever had. 2002 was crazy and this year is starting out just as crazily. But I'm going to take off. I'm going to make the album in June, July, August and September. I'm going to LA and working on some stuff out there. So I think the rest of the year will be pretty relaxed. That is the plan, but it never happens.

Alyson: So now that you are a solo artist, would you have rather started out as a solo artist?

Ronan: Yeah, but I wouldn't have gotten here as quickly, as easily. It would have been really slow. I started off in the music industry when boy bands were the thing. That was the push. That was THE big deal. It was easier having an opportunity as boy band than it would have been as a solo artist. Now, if I started in 2003, it probably would have been easier to be a solo artist. But then, it was easier to be in a boy band, so it worked.

Alyson: But there are still a lot of boy bands around.

Ronan: There is, yeah. But their days are numbered, for sure. Bands like Westlife and bands that were already there, fine. But for new bands to come along. Bands like Blue, it's easier for them. But for new bands to come along it's more difficult. I don't think we'll be seeing a lot of boy bands, in the next ten years..new boy bands. You'll see Westlife and Blue, but for new ones it will be difficult.

Alyson: Okay. I've got some names here. Since you're the one that helped Westlife to stardom, I was wondering if you could tell us who would do well in the business and who should just pack up..

Ronan: Okay, I'll try..

Alyson. Gareth Gates.

Ronan: Gareth's a really nice guy. I don't think he wants to be around. I don't think he will for a long long time. That's no disrespect to Gareth, but...l have a real problem with the Pop Idol, Pop Star thing because they way it was put together and the way they control it, it's just too overpowering. It's just waiting to explode. On the other hand, somebody like Will, who has taken the reins a little, it's the same situation as Gareth. But for me, it's like Will has taken the reins and is trying to go a different road. Gareth has taken the road everybody has expected him to take and Will hasnt and I think Will will probably be around longer.

Alyson: Blue?

Ronan: Great bunch of guys. I mean they are actually friends of mine. These guys are great fun. They've got great energy. I like the records they are making. They're good quality pop songs. Those guys will be around as long as they want to be around. I think, personally.

Alyson: How about Tatu?

Ronan: I don't even know who they are. Sorry, I don't think they'll be around!

Alyson: Norah Jones?

Ronan: Best album of 2002. Unbelievable. I mean it's on my CD player upstairs. When I get up in the morning it's on. I mean, it's my chillout, just waking up album. It's just genius.

Alyson: So you're betting your money on her for the Grammys.

Ronan: Oh yeah! If she doesn't get Grammys, there is no justice.

Alyson: Cool. We're talking about awards shows and the Brit Awards are actually happening tomorrow!

Ronan: Tomorrow, I'm supposed to be going! I'm not going to go.

Alyson: So who do you think is going to be the big winner?

Ronan. Who's going to be the big winner? They always give them to obscure acts because they want to be cool. They gave them to people like Air and stuff like that. Who are they..they're gone! Craig David should have gotten awards and he didn't. Coldplay are going to clean up this year. There's no doubt about that! The Sugababes should get something. They probably won't but they should. Bands like Atomic Kitten, who've done a great job in the pop charts around the world should, but they won't. Blue should, but they won't. So for me, the one who WILL will be Coldplay and they deserve it. That album is an incredible, fantastic album. It's another one of my favorites.

Alyson: Now what do you enjoy doing the most. Show host? Singer?

Ronan: I hate hosting shows, absolutely hate it.

Alyson: Really? Why?

Ronan: It's just not me. I do it because they ask me and it's great exposure and there are three hundred people [sic] watching the MTV Awards. I wasn't going to say no to that. But for me, it's performing. It's what I love to do. It's just fantastic.

Alyson: How important are family, music and money to you?

Ronan: Money means nothing. For me, it's important because it gives my kids a future. But it's the root of all evil. There's no doubt about it. I've fallen out with so many people because of money. It's a killer. I hate it. But personally, the most important thing is my family. They mean everything to me. They give me a focus and a reason for doing what I do. Otherwise, why in hell would I be doing this? It's crazy. It's bizarre! It's a bizarre life for anyone to lead.

Alyson: Yeah. You're always touring but you're not with the whole family.

Ronan: They travel with me a lot of the time. They've been to Australia, South Africa, Europe and the UK. They didn't come out to Asia. It's too difficult with the kids. There's a lot of hopping around.

Alyson: How do you maintain a good relationship with the family?

Ronan: You make it work. I mean, it works. There's no two ways about it. I fell in love and got married and that's what happens.

Alyson: You've released seven solo singles. Two outstanding solo albums. Did you imagine that you'd come this far?

Ronan: I always had hopes and dreams but never imagined that I'd get this far this quickly. I know it's been ten years, a long time in the pop business. Actually, it's a long time for anyone. But for me, it's a short time. I mean, I can't believe I'm here already. So I'd like to be here for another twenty or thirty years. We'll see what happens.

Alyson: Recently, in an interview, you said 'I'm no longer interested in being number one. You're just kidding right?

Ronan: I'm not interested in having a number one single anymore. I'm interested in having number one albums, fine. The race for the singles. It means nothing. A single is a tool to sell albums. People forget that. England is one of the only countries in the world where it's all about the singles market. Nine times out of ten, it's all about the albums market everywhere else, which is the real deal. England needs to change a little there. The UK needs to change. It's actually destroying the industry, the way that they battle for these singles charts. It means nothing, the singles. It's far more important that the album does well. I'm lucky I can say that because I've had six number one albums. But it's true. It's really true.

Alyson: Now, in this music trip, where is your final destination?

Ronan: God knows. Madison Square Garden maybe. I don't know. I have different goals and then I push the goalposts farther back and find a new one. So when I get to that one maybe I'll push it back. The song at my funeral will be my last trip of music. Who knows.

Scott: I'll finish up here. The video "Tomorrow Never comes" is amazing. I was watching the behind the scenes last night. So you worked with Kevin Godley before.

Ronan: Yeah. Kevin's a good friend, a very good friend.

Scott: How did you come up with the concept and then work it out?

Ronan: The whole idea was to kind of follow the storyline of the song. Kevin and I just talked day in and day out with different ideas and eventually we met at the middle. Our first idea was kind of the ghost idea that I was kind of following. And then that kind of evolved into me being around. Then what happened was me being knocked down by a car. And it just followed the lyrics of the song. It was cool, and the special effects were good and we had a laugh making the video. I had to fall a hundred times. It hurt like hell but it was great. I had to wear this stupid ski mask and the way they did it with the computers was amazing. They chopped my head off and put my head against a green screen.

Scott: So it was a real education.

Ronan: Oh, it was! It was unbelievable. I learned a lot from making that video. It was great. Really cool.

Scott: You did an AIDS documentary in Thailand.

Ronan: I did indeed. Incredible experience. I went to Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand. They don't have TVs or magazines so they don't know who I was. I was going there for the rest of the market (Asia) to educate them about AIDS. That was kind of the idea.

Scott: Were you contacted by MTV?

Ronan. Once or twice a year I like to get involved with a couple of projects. I put it out there and let them come back to me. So the team out here and Universal and Unicef and that's how it came about. It was an incredible experience. It was a real eye opener for me.

Scott: So for people who haven't seen it, you were obviously exposed to people who have AIDS.

Ronan: Yeah. I went to some hospitals where there are children infected and affected by AIDS. I went to households where adults were infected and affected by AIDS. The hardest of all was when I went to a five year old girl's house and both her parents had died from AIDS. She was too young and they didn't know if she had AIDS yet. She was being taken care of by her grandparents. You didn't see it on the documentary because I asked them not to film. It was just heartbreaking. And I'll never forget it. I will never forget that little girl. I was leaving Dublin and Yvonne said 'The kids have so many toys here. Why don't you bring a bag of toys?' To be honest, I was like 'Oh Jesus, I don't really want to lug that bag all the way to Chiang Rai.' Yvonne had packed this big bloody bag. And, I was being selfish. And she said 'Just bring the bloody thing. Just bring it for God's sake! You check it in at Dublin and you won't have to see it until Chiang Rai!' I said 'Alright.' And it was the most rewarding experience I ever had in my whole life. Because I opened the bag and took out these two little teddy bears and I handed them to the little girl and she just clung on to them. She didn't have any toys or anything. She just clung on to these two little teddy bears. And these were my children's. They had played with them beforehand. I'll never forget it. It was unbelievable. It was very emotional and an incredible experience. Thank God my wife convinced me to bring the bag, ya know? How selfish we can be with things.

Scott: It's amazing how the little things.

Ronan: Little things. Amazing. What an incredible experience.

Scott: You worked with Gregg Alexander (ex New Radicals). Great songwriter. Let's just see where this goes. You want to move into a rock direction. You still want to work with him and Bryan Adams.

Ronan: Yeah. Gregg and I made an album together. My problem was that I feel I may have made a Gregg Alexander album on "Destination" rather than a Ronan Keating album. I've been honest with Gregg.

Scott: What's a Ronan Keating album to you though? You've threatened that for a while.

Ronan: I know I have. I thought I was making it with "Destination" but I think maybe I haven't now. I learnt that. The stuff I'm writing now feels a lot more natural to me. So.

Scott: So based on what's happening in the world now at the moment, are there any issues that you want to tackle?

Ronan: I have been. I have been writing about it. Obviously, it's a very delicate matter but we can't avoid it anymore. I'm getting to an age where now...I was in a boy band so I didn't really tackle it because our fans were so young. But my fans aren't kids anymore. It's not like I'm brainwashing them. My fans are adults who know what they want and can think for themselves. So I think I can talk about it now.

Scott: So what do you want to say?

Ronan: The obvious things. The situation with the world right now. I don't want to sound like a Miss World contestant, but obviously peace. That’s what we’re all after. I’ve got views on the super powers and the Bushes and the Blairs. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what comes out in the wash.

Scott: Thank you very much.

Ronan: Thank you guys. I enjoyed that. Cheers!

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