Goodbye, Stephen GatelyPosted October 11th, 2009 At 1:31 pm By MTV ASIA
TEXT: LENNAT MAK
Growing up, I have different musical phases that defined my life. In my largely misguided and misspent youth, I had my fair share of boyband days. Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, a1, Boyzone, OTT and far too many to name – I loved them all. It was a great time, you know? Just a bunch of crazy girls going gaga over good-looking boys. Pop music was more “innocent” and straightforward back then. None of these “cutting edge”, electro-pop hullabaoo. There wasn’t any need to masquerade the music as something more than it was — sheer entertainment and a great form of escapism.
Of course, time passes and tides change. The White Stripes came and changed my life in 2001 and everything isn’t quite the same. But I still hold my youth dear to my heart and find it both beguiling and amusing that kids today won’t understand the impact that The Spice Girls had on the world back in the late ’90s. Just last year at the MTV Asia Awards, I caught up with Danny O’Donoghue. Formerly from the Irish boyband MyTown, Danny and Mark Sheehan had reinvented themselves as The Script. Reminiscing over our common boybands days, Danny laughed and said, “But you are okay now! Same like me!”
I guess we all are. But nostalgia does flood the memory gates, once in a while. Especially a news like this that hits home particularly hard: Boyzone Star Stephen Gately Found Dead. He was 33.
Details of the death have yet emerged but it was reported that Stephen was holidaying in Majorca, went for a night out and failed to wake up. Stephen’s last Twitter message on October 7 was: “Still busy – lots going on. Focussing on finishing my book next so may be quiet here.”
Despite being a fan of yore and the fact that boybands have ceased to be relevant in my life now, it’s still sad to see an “old friend” gone so unexpectedly. Back in 2000, when Stephen just released his debut solo album, New Beginning, we had a nice little chat about his coming out, his then-partner Eloy De Jong, new career directions, etc. And he was just so warm and down-to-earth. For old times’ sake and in memory of Stephen, here’s the 2000 interview in full.
Rest in peace, Stephen.
Stephen Gately – The New Beginning
MTVAsia.com, July 26, 2000
By Lennat Mak
“I’ve made up my mind, it’s time for a new beginning. I’m living my life, it’s time for a new beginning.”
How true. Ever since the news broke on a certain Wednesday (June 16, 1999), life’s certainly been different for Stephen Gately. In fact, life’s actually better for little Stephen from Ireland — it’s less stressful, with more smiles and happiness all over. For Stephen is finally able to face the world as who he really is, together with his partner, Eloy De Jong.
And of course, that’s not all. Stephen has taken time off from his long time commitments to Ireland’s top pop band, Boyzone, to record his first ever solo album, New Beginning, that was released in Singapore on June 26, 2000.
While filming his little segment in “The War Room” at MTV Asia’s headquarters, we caught up with this chirpy young man who was all ready to pose for pictures and sign autographs. And so here it is, our interview with Stephen talking about his pet hates, his new album, Eloy, and who the next biggest pop act will be!
How are you feeling today?
Good. I had a good night’s sleep last night. It was a bit late but it’s a good night’s sleep.
Honestly, are you happy now?
Yeah, I’m very happy. There’s no stress, no pressure. I’m enjoying my life. I have got my two dogs (Joey and Woody). I’ve got Eloy, friends, and family. I’m healthy and I have got… money! Why wouldn’t I be happy? (Guffaws)
What makes you angry? It seems you are a goody-two shoes and are really nice to people.
I’m not really a goody-two shoe! But I just can’t stand rude people. I hate rude people. It costs not to be nice and it costs not to have manners. And that’s I what don’t like! I don’t like people who do not have manners. That’s my pet hate actually. And people who talk behind your back as well.
What’s the sweetest thing someone has done for you today?
Sweetest thing? Coffee! I’ve got a coffee! All thanks to the lovely ladies over there! Which is very, very needed. (Looking over at the record label representatives with a smile) The day’s early, yeah?
Actually, one of the sweetest things that I got here was a very nice gift, but I wouldn’t say what it was. It’s from one of the guys from the record company.
Was listening to your new album last night. It seems that there are more up-tempo songs in it. It seems strange because you were doing more ballads in Boyzone.
Well, this is the music I like to do. I love pop music and I wouldn’t want to do too many ballads, because everybody expected 12 huge ballads. So, I’ve done some mid-tempos, up-tempos, and some ballads with a touch of R&B on it.
Has the album been well received by your Asian fans so far?
I think so. I think where album sales are concerned… Well, it’s great for the single “New Beginning,” and people don’t really buy the album until they have heard three singles from it. So, I’m very pleased about how it is doing at the moment. My new single is coming out quite soon.
New single? What is it going to be?
It might be different over here, but in U.K. and Europe it will be “I Believe.” It’s for a movie called The Dancer. It’s a beautiful movie and it’s going to be released worldwide so I’m looking forward to that. I have already done the video just before I get out here.
Oh, that’s fast! So what’s the video going to be about?
It’s just me singing in front of a set actually. It’s got ballet dancers in it and the set is 25 feet high with all kinds of lights shining all over.
What does Eloy think of your new album?
Yeah, he is very proud of me. He’s there from the very beginning, to the recording, to the end.
You wrote “If Only You Were Here” for Eloy. How are both of you getting along?
It’s love definitely. We have been together for two years now and we have known each other for six years. He’s my best friend. We are two guys but it just turns out that he is my best baby. We will go out on a boat and have a laugh, feed the dogs… We do normal things. He’s great.
And about “Judgement Day,” did you write it the day before you announced the news?
Yeah, the song is about that day I decided to tell the world. But I didn’t write it the day before, I wrote it afterwards but I wrote what I felt like. Actually, it has a double meaning to it. It’s not only about that day; I kind of talked about a guy on death row and what would happen. It’s like he’s of screaming around for help. That’s what I felt like so I put those feelings into the songs as well.
Well, I did feel like I’m on death row, and waiting to be electrocuted. That’s why I wrote the song. It’s a powerful song. The opening is a bit like Prodigy, I think. It’s a mad opening. It has got a massive statement. ‘Coz people do get judged everyday. You do judge a person and I don’t like that. I don’t like judging people without actually having a talk with them or without actually knowing the person. You can’t just judge on appearance but that’s still what people do. Which is wrong.
After all that has happened, do you think your fan base has changed?
I don’t think it has changed. I’m still the same old Stephen as ever. Probably a little bit more improved. And I am really happy and content with I’m doing now. I think the fan base is stronger than ever I think. I have got a lot of very loyal fans out there. It’s going very strong still.
What is it like having to face the press all by yourself now?
I can’t sleep in interviews anymore! That’s the only thing I can’t do! (Laughs) Now, every interview is directed at me. But it’s fine. I have like done interviews by myself before. It’s not a problem. You just got to enjoy it.
So, is life different from when you were in Boyzone?
Yes, it’s different. I don’t have the other guys around. You know, we always have laughs and jokes. We are always playing games, having fun. I miss them when I’m on the road but at the same time I can get to walk a lot more quicker. (Laughs) Because when we are five, we are always messing and nothing stops us!
What do you think of Ronan’s “Life’s a Rollercoaster” and Mikey’s “You’re My Angel?”
Ronan’s “Life’s A Rollercoaster” is fantastic! It’s a great track and I really like that song. As soon as I heard it, I already liked it. As for Mikey’s, I haven’t really gone into it yet, to be honest. It’s all right but it isn’t one of my favorites. He has better ones.
What are your thoughts on the pop charts now?
It’s very overcrowded, I think. There is a lot of pop music and every week, there’s a new band out there. I think it’s very difficult… It’s not the way it used to be. But, you know, maybe there is still room for everybody. If people like the songs, they will go out and get it.
Who do you think will be the biggest pop act in time to come then?
The group I am going to manage.
Really? Is there a group already?
Well, there might be in the future!