Westlife’s Mark Feehily reveals he and Mariah Carey once got a Chinese takeaway in Hackney – while her stretch limo waited outside
The boyband star revealed exclusively to the Mirror what it’s really like to work with the renowned diva as he prepares to join her All I Want For Christmas Tour
BY LUCY NEEDHAM
He spent 14 years in one of the biggest boybands of all time, and now Westlife’s Mark Feehily is set to join forces with another global phenomenon.
Mariah Carey herself called for Mark to open the show as she brings her hugely successful All I Want For Christmas Tour to the UK this December.
Fresh from performing a gig with with another showbiz legend, actor Russell Crowe, Mark spoke exclusively to the Mirror about his friendship with Mariah, how she saved him during his darkest moments – and whether a Westlife reunion could ever be on the cards.
Honoured to be invited as special guest performer on the one and only Mariah Careys "All I want for christmas" UK tour this December! x🎄 pic.twitter.com/b4dtU6Gg5c
— MarkusFeehily (@MarkusFeehily) October 4, 2017
“She’s very funny, she’s a New Yorker and has that real ballsyness to her,” Mark said of the renowned diva.
“I went to see her in concert a few years ago at Wembley and afterwards she invited me back to her friend’s flat in Hackney.
“We ordered a Chinese takeaway and sat on the floor eating it watching TV at the same time her massive white stretch limo was parked outside.
“It was an amazing moment like: ‘Is this actually happening?'”
Mark added: “I know she loves the glitz and glamour but behind it all she loves taking her heels off and getting down to earth.
“Some people say don’t meet your idols, but I have to say that wasn’t the case with her.”
Mariah, and her music, clearly mean a great deal to Mark, as he credits her for helping him come to terms with his sexuality as a teenager.
“During the darker times when I was coming to terms with who I was there were certain artists that I’d go to my room, shut the door and turn the lights off and just blast my hi-fi system – and Mariah was one of the artists I played the most.
“In my mid teens I realised I was gay but I was scared. I used her music as an escape during those times.”
Mark finally got to meet his childhood hero in 2000 at the height of Westlife’s success, when she duetted with the boys for a cover of the Phill Collin’s classic Against All Odds.
“Westlife were in Jakarta, Indonesia, doing a gig. I got a knock at my hotel room door and it was Nicky [Byrne] and Kian [Egan], they literally close-lined me onto the floor and started screaming,” said Mark.
“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?'”
“Louis (Walsh) had just called them to tell me that a duet with Mariah had been arranged.”
Days later the boys were flown to Italy to meet her and record the song – but not before Mark made a fleeting trip back to see his parents at his childhood home in Sligo, Ireland.
While he was there he got a surprise phone call from the legend herself.
“My mum came into the living room in the house that I grew up in and said, ‘Mark, Mariah Carey is on the phone for you.’
“The history started from there and we’ve seen each other through the years since and she’s always been really nice to me and kind about my voice,” he added.
Now Mark is thrilled to have the chance to work with his idol once again.
“It’s so exciting for me. It’s a huge honour to be part of it.
“People have been waiting for her to do her Christmas stuff in the UK for years,” he said.
Mark revealed he will also be releasing a festive album of his own this winter, something he’s always wanted to do.
Though Westlife had their fair share of Christmas number ones – “and missed out one year because of Bob the Builder,” joked Mark – with I have A Dream being one of their biggest-selling hits.
Speaking of his former bandmates, Mark revealed it’s been a while since they were last together.
“The fact that we haven’t seen each other or been in the same room since the band ended isn’t a bad thing, it’s a natural progression,” said Mark.
“Some of my family members I haven’t seen in years but it doesn’t mean I don’t love them.
“We were so heavily in each others pockets it’s natural to give each other space. The fact that we’ve had some time away from each other will help keep the love.
“This space will allow Westlife to be something that could be revisited in the future when the time is right.”
On the subject of a future reunion, Mark said: “Never say never.
“Westlife was everything. We didn’t have a chance to breathe, Westlife consumed our lives but it was fantastic and rightly so.”
“There’s potential for Westlife down the line but it’s not something I’m ready for now.”
Mark made 14 pop albums with the boys during their chart-topping career and went on to release his own solo album Fire in 2015, which he also co produced.
Since then Mark’s kept away from the limelight, although he reveals just last weekend he got a call from Russell Crowe’s band Indoor Garden party asking for him to play a gig with them at Dublin’s Olympia.
“We has just three days to learn this really song written by Russell,” said Mark,
“It was a mental three days but to perform with such a superstar was just great.
“I’d been doing some refurbishment to my house in Ireland so I had to shave my big beard off and get stage ready,” he joked.
Mark will be back in action this December as he joins Mariah Carey for her exclusive UK dates.
The All I Want For Christmas tour will be hitting Manchester Arena on the 10th December and London’s The O2 on the 11th.
Tickets on sale from Ticketmaster and AXS .