Nicholas Bernard James Adam Byrne Jr.[1] (born 9 October 1978) is an Irish pop singer, songwriter and radio and television presenter, best known for being a member of the pop group Westlife; he is the band's oldest member. Westlife has since released twelve albums, embarked on thirteen world tours, and won several awards, becoming one of the most successful musical groups of all time.

Nicky Byrne
Byrne in 2016
Byrne in 2016
Background information
Birth nameNicholas Bernard James Adam Byrne Jr.
Born (1978-10-09) 9 October 1978 (age 44)
Dublin, Ireland
GenresPop
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • presenter
  • footballer
Years active1998–present
Labels
Member ofWestlife
Websitenickybyrne.com

Before his music career, he played professional football, representing Republic of Ireland at several junior levels. Since then he has had a successful TV and radio presenting career. His wife Georgina is the daughter of former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and they have twin sons and a daughter.

In September 2012, it was announced that Byrne would be a contestant for the tenth series of Strictly Come Dancing. He was the ninth contestant to be eliminated. He was ranked number two on Ireland's Sexiest Man of 2014.[2] After RTÉ internally chose him to represent Ireland, he released the song "Sunlight" and performed it in the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 competition in Stockholm in May 2016, but failed to advance to the final.

CareerEdit

FootballEdit

Nicky Byrne
Personal information
Full name Nicholas Bernard James Adam Byrne Jr.
Date of birth (1978-10-09) 9 October 1978 (age 44)
Place of birth Dublin, Ireland
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position(s) Goalkeeper
Youth career
Home Farm
St. Kevins Boys
1995–1997 Leeds United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1997–???? Shelbourne
1997Cobh Ramblers (loan) 11 (0)
St. Francis
International career
Republic of Ireland U15
Republic of Ireland U16
Republic of Ireland U18
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Byrne was a footballer and played for Home Farm and St. Kevins Boys in North Dublin.[3] He became a professional player, and joined Leeds United as a goalkeeper in 1995, and was a squad member of the FA Youth Cup winning team of 1997.[4] He played for Leeds for two years, leaving when his contract expired in June 1997. He played in a reserve game for Scarborough and in a trial game with Cambridge United, before returning to join Dublin club Shelbourne. He then signed for Cobh Ramblers playing 15 games in all competitions,[5] then St. Francis F.C., all in Ireland's League of Ireland.

On 14 May 2009, Byrne was a substitute for a Liverpool Legends XI that played against an All Star XI in a Hillsborough Memorial match to mark the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster. All the proceeds from the match went to the Marina Dalglish appeal. He represented the Republic of Ireland at U15, U16 and U18 levels. He is a fan of Celtic FC, and on 9 August 2011 played in a Celtic Legends XI at Celtic Park in front of a crowd of 54,000 against a Manchester Utd Legends team. Byrne participated in and won Soccer Aid 2014. He scored in the match, played at Old Trafford. He was the only non-professional player to score in the match. The Rest of the World team won the game 4–2.

MusicEdit

 
Nicky Byrne representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016

In June 1998, Byrne attended an audition for new Irish boyband, where Boyzone manager Louis Walsh approached him to join his new venture, Westlife. Byrne joined Westlife along with Kian Egan, Mark Feehily, Shane Filan and Brian McFadden. Byrne revealed in Westlife: Our Story that he had wanted to change the name of the band to West High; but the others preferred Westlife. With Westlife, Byrne has had 25 top ten UK singles, 14 of which were number one, 7 number one albums and has sold in excess of over 55 million records worldwide. It is certified that Westlife have sold 20.2 million records and videos in the UK across their 14-year career – 6.8 million singles, 11.9 million albums and 1.5 million videos. Byrne also had a number one single in Ireland in 2002, alongside the Republic of Ireland national football team and Dustin the Turkey with the Irish 2002 FIFA World Cup anthem, "Here Come The Good Times (Ireland)". He also co-wrote many of Westlife's songs.

In early January 2016, it was rumored that RTÉ had internally chosen Byrne to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. Byrne had not yet confirmed or denied such information but announced that he would grab the opportunity with both hands if given. On 13 January, Byrne was confirmed to be the Irish singer for the 2016 contest in Stockholm with the song, "Sunlight".[6][7] He performed in the second semi final on 12 May 2016, but failed to advance to the final.

In October 2018, a video was posted to Westlife's official social media platforms announcing the group's reunion as a four-piece.[8] In 2019, the group headlined "The 20 Tour", named in honour of Westlife's 20th anniversary since its formation and the release of its first single, "Swear It Again", in 1999. In addition to touring, Westlife also released new music. "Hello My Love", the first single from the group's eleventh album, Spectrum, debuted on the Graham Norton Show on 10 and 11 January 2019.[9]

TelevisionEdit

In 2003, Byrne guest-hosted an edition of CD:UK with Cat Deeley.

Byrne hosted the closing ceremony of the Special Olympics live from Dublin's Croke Park in front of 80,000 spectators.

Throughout the years, Byrne has appeared on Children in Need and Comic Relief several times. In 2001, he co-hosted Children in Need live from Belfast and in 2011 and co-hosted a BBC Radio 2 radio special with Patrick Kielty for the cause.

Byrne has narrated stage shows such as The Snowman Christmas Special and the Picture of You documentary dedicated to former Boyzone member Stephen Gately, who died on 10 October 2009.

Byrne has also hosted the Cheerios ChildLine Concert a record seven times, which was broadcast on RTÉ2, and in more recent years on TV3.

In addition, Byrne presented several editions of the Celebrity Sunday radio programme on RTÉ 2fm in 2010.[10] Listeners tuned in from as far and wide as Mexico, Chile, the United Kingdom, Philippines and Indonesia. The fourth and final edition of the programme, broadcast on 14 February 2010, trended worldwide on Twitter.[11] FM104 publicly offered him a job the day Westlife announced their split.[12]

In October 2012, Byrne hosted the RTÉ reality TV show Football's Next Star. The series followed ten young hopefuls competing for a chance to win a place with Celtic Football Club's youth squad.[13]

In 2013 through 2015, and again in 2017 and 2018, Byrne presented the Irish votes at the Eurovision Song Contest.[14] He also co-hosted the short-lived TV talent show The Hit on RTÉ One along with Aidan Power.

On 4 February 2014, Byrne signed a contract with RTÉ 2fm to host a new weekday show from 11 am to 2 pm.[15][16]

In January 2015, Byrne started hosting the new weekly National Lottery game show The Million Euro Challenge on RTÉ 1,[17] although the show was axed that July.[18]

In January 2017, Byrne started hosting an Irish version of the TV show Dancing with the Stars, alongside Amanda Byram[19] and with Jennifer Zamparelli from 2019.

In March 2019, Byrne left 2FM to rejoin the newly reunited Westlife.[20]

In June 2020, he hosted RTÉ Does Comic Relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.[21]

In October 2021, Byrne was announced as the host of a new singing competition commissioned for RTÉ entitled Last Singer Standing.

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

Title Details Peak chart positions
IRE
[22]
SCO UK
Sunlight 8 65 114

SinglesEdit

As lead artistEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
IRE
[23]
"Sunlight" 2016 68 Sunlight
"Explosion"

As featured artistEdit

Title Year Peak chart positions
IRE
[23]
"Here Come the Good Times (Ireland)"
(Irish 2002 FIFA World Cup anthem)
2002 1

SongwritingEdit

Byrne has co-written some songs in his Westlife years and on all ten tracks on his debut solo album and also to one unreleased song:

  • "Sunlight"
  • "Explosion"
  • "Song For Lovers"
  • "Pop Machine"
  • "Still The One"
  • "Some Things Always Seem To Last"
  • "Finishing Line"
  • "Broadway Show"
  • "Thank You"
  • "Pretty"
  • "Talking with Jennifer"
  • "Sweeping Up"
  • "When You Come Around"
  • "Don't Let Me Go"
  • "Imaginary Diva"
  • "Reason For Living"
  • "Where We Belong"
  • "I Won't Let You Down"
  • "Singing Forever"
  • "You See Friends (I See Lovers)"
  • "I'm Missing Loving You"
  • "Closer"
  • "Last Mile of the Way"
  • "The Way That You Love Me"
  • "Alive"

Personal lifeEdit

Byrne was born to parents Yvonne and Nicholas (d. 2009). He has an older sister and a younger brother. Byrne married Georgina Ahern, whom he first met when they were about 12 years old, on 5 August 2003 at the Wicklow Register Office, Wicklow, County Wicklow. The civil ceremony was followed by a church blessing on 9 August at the Roman Catholic Church of St Pierre et St Paul in Gallardon, Eure-et-Loir, France.[24]

The couple have three children.[25][26]

PhilanthropyEdit

In 2010, Byrne and his family organised the 'Nikki Byrne Twilight Ball', a fundraising event, in memory of their father who died in November 2009. The event raised over €200,000 and completely funded a television and radio heart attack awareness campaign in connection with 'The Irish Heart Foundation'.[27]

Television presenting careerEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2003 CD:UK Guest presenter
2003–2004, 2008, 2010–2011, 2013–2014 ChildLine Concert Presenter 7 specials
2012 Football's Next Star Presenter 1 series
2013 The Hit Presenter 1 series
2015 The Million Euro Challenge Presenter 1 series
2017–2020, 2022 Dancing with the Stars Presenter 5 series
2020 RTÉ Does Comic Relief Presenter 1 special
2020 Soundtrack to My Life Presenter 1 special
2021 Last Singer Standing Presenter 1 series

Honours and awardsEdit

Year Ceremony Category Result
2001 Smash Hits Awards Best Haircut Won
2009 VIP Style Awards Most Stylish Man Won
2014 PPI Radio Awards Best Newcomer Won
2016 VIP Style Awards Most Stylish Man Won
2017 Goss.ie Awards Most Stylish Man Won
2018 Goss.ie Awards Best Male TV Presenter Won
2019 Goss.ie Awards Best Male TV Presenter Won
2022 VIP Style Awards Most Stylish Man Won

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Nicky Byrne – Music on Google Play". Google Play. 30 October 2018. Archived from the original on 17 April 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  2. ^ JANEH (20 July 2014). "POLL: WHO IS IRELAND'S SEXIEST MAN?". RSVP Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 July 2014.
  3. ^ "Home Farm F.C". Archived from the original on 15 December 2007.
  4. ^ "Nicky Byrne — Biography". IMDb. Archived from the original on 17 January 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  5. ^ Cobh Rampblers (ed.). "Club History". Archived from the original on 28 February 2008.
  6. ^ "RTÉ bets on Nicky Byrne to return Ireland to Eurovision glory". Irish Independent. 13 January 2016. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Nicky Byrne will represent Ireland at this year's Eurovision". The Journal. 13 January 2016. Archived from the original on 13 January 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Westlife announce reunion tour and new album". The Irish Times. 3 October 2018. Archived from the original on 20 October 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  9. ^ Bradshaw, Aoife (10 January 2019). "Westlife Release First Comeback Single 'Hello My Love'". Hot Press. Archived from the original on 5 February 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  10. ^ "Nicky Byrne hosts 2fm's Celebrity Sunday". RTÉ Entertainment. 5 February 2010. Archived from the original on 7 February 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Nicky Byrne signs for extra 2fm shows". RTÉ Entertainment. 15 February 2010. Archived from the original on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Job offer for Westlife's Nicky Byrne". RTÉ Entertainment. 21 October 2011. Archived from the original on 10 February 2021. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  13. ^ Cummins, Steve (2 May 2012). "Final Whistle For 'Football's Next Star', Series Posts at ScreenScene". Irish Film and Television Network. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Malmö 2013: Spokespersons announced | Eurovision Song Contest Chat Room and Forum | escChat.com". Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  15. ^ "Former Westlife star Nicky Byrne named as new 2FM presenter". Irish Independent. 4 February 2014. Archived from the original on 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  16. ^ "He's riding high and Nicky Byrne dismisses critics as his 2FM show celebrates one year on air". evoke.ie. 4 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  17. ^ "A New TV Gameshow Presented By Nicky Byrne". RTÉ.ie. 5 January 2015. Archived from the original on 16 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Updated: RTE confirm Nicky Byrne's Million Euro Challenge has been axed". Goss.ie. 23 July 2015. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  19. ^ "Nicky Byrne and Amanda Byram confirm they're hosting Dancing With The Stars". Irish Independent. 6 December 2016. Archived from the original on 7 December 2016. Retrieved 6 December 2016.
  20. ^ Power, Jack (12 March 2019). "Nicky Byrne and Jenny Greene to leave RTÉ 2FM". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 11 May 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Here are the start times for RTÉ does Comic Relief around the world (excluding North America)". RTÉ. 26 June 2020. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  22. ^ Peak positions for Ireland:
  23. ^ a b "Discography Nicky Byrne". irish-charts.com. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Taoiseach becomes grandad to twin boys". The Irish Times. 4 April 2007. Archived from the original on 22 October 2012.
  25. ^ BBC News (9 August 2003). "Westlife star's French wedding" (Website). BBC News. Archived from the original on 20 January 2009.
  26. ^ "Baby joy for Nicky and Georgina". Irish Examiner. 23 October 2013. Archived from the original on 5 February 2022.
  27. ^ "Heart Attack Awareness Campaign". The Irish Heart Foundation. 16 August 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.

External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest
2016
Succeeded by