By David Hennessy
When they burst onto the scene in 2001 with hits like All Rise, Blue fast became the boy band of the moment selling more than 13 million records in five years and achieving UK number ones with three albums in three successive years. A duet with Elton John, Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word narrowly lost out on the Christmas number one in 2002. In 2005, the band took a hiatus to concentrate on solo projects before reforming in 2009. In 2011, they represented Britain at the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in 11th with 100 points.
Following a stint on ITV’s The Big Reunion, Lee Ryan, Duncan James, Antony Costa and Simon Webbe have returned with their first studio album for ten years, Roulette. Alongside Five, 911, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Honeyz and Liberty X, Blue featured on the ITV hit that has recently been bringing back chart toppers from yesteryear. Joining the show later than all the other aforementioned pop groups, Blue’s arrival did not please some of their co-stars. The Irish World caught up with band member Lee Ryan to chat about this and the band’s comeback.
Lee Ryan has had solo success with his self-titled debut album producing three top 20 singles and Real Love which was featured on the Ice Age: Meltdown soundtrack and led to Lee voicing a part in the film. He has appeared on reality TV shows such as Come Dine With Me and acted in Holby City and the 2008 Movie The Heavy alongside Vinnie Jones, Stephen Rea and Sadie Frost. He also wrote and directed the video for the band’s song, Breathe Easy. He has also been the subject of controversy with some unfortunate comments in the aftermath of 9/11 causing outrage.
“I’m not really one to give a s**t,” says Lee when asked about comments like those of B*Witched’s Edele Lynch who seemed particularly put out that Blue who were ‘not even reuniting’ were joining the show.
“They can think what they like. If they’ve got a problem with it, it’s their problem, innit? I’ve kind of got that in life. Some people don’t like you in life. You can’t please everyone. I don’t think I’ve met anyone that everyone likes. There’s always someone who is like a really nice person and other people go: “He’s so nice, he grates on me’ or ‘she’s so nice, it grates on me’. Do you know what I mean? You can’t please everyone.
“I think it took everyone by surprise that we were on it. We had to keep it secret. A few of them on The Big Reunion were happy to see us and others weren’t and that has become more apparent as we’ve progressed in what we’re doing. We’re really happy to be back as a band and I think a lot of them are quite resentful that we’re at a stage more progressed than them. I think it’s just people being bitter and not being happy for others. If the boot was on the other foot and a band that I knew came out and they had an album and they were doing really well, I would be more than happy for them. At the end of the day, if they’ve got a problem with our success and what we’re doing right now then it’s just the way it is. It’s like us hating on One Direction or The Wanted or the JLS’ of the world. We haven’t got any resentment for any of them bands, we wish them luck. I suppose it’s just the way of the industry.”
Last week saw reports that Blue had allegedly snubbed The Big Reunion’s live tour but Lee refutes this and sees it as malice coming from these other bands: “I think it’s one of their managements that are trying to scupper us. That story was fabricated and we’re getting down to the bottom of it. I could name who I think it is but I know for a fact it is one of their managements from one of the other bands, because there is a lot of resentment at the moment going on. It’s b*****ks.
For the full interview, see the April 6 of The Irish World.