Westlife are actually five lads come from Ireland, Nicky Byrne and Bryan McFadden came from the hometown of Boyzone, Dublin. While, Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily are all came from Sligo, a small town in Northwest of Ireland.
Shane did his first proper stage show when he was 12 years of age, the show was Grease at the Hawkswell Theatre in Sligo. The 3 Sligo lads started to know each other by performing this which Shane acted the role Danny, Kian as Kenickie and Mark as Vince Fortaine, all 3 lads were studying at Summerhill Colleg e at that time. Boyzone's success really made Shane wants to be in a pop group. His very first idea was with his friend Michael Garret and they thought of starting a four-piece and calling it SC4, after their school, Summerhill College. Then Shane asked Kian if he was interested and he just laughed at that time since Kian was really into heavy rock band then.
Later Shane, Kian and Mark joined 3 other members - Michael Garrett, Derek Lacey and Graham Keighron - from the same school and started off a group called IOU and realease their debut (and last) single "Together Girl Forever" which was co-written by Shane and Mark.
Shane's mom Mae Filan got in touch with the manager of Boyzone Louis Walsh, he came to hear their group in some Backstreet Boys songs. But Louis just thought of signing Shane, Kian and Mark to form a pop group, so Shane was in the hardest day(s) of his professional life that he had to tell 3 of his friends from IOU that Kian, Mark and himself were out of the band and formed their own group. After some auditions, Nicky and Bryan were joined to the group and that's formed Westside, their previous band name. With Ronan Keating as their co-manager, they started to perform in public as the opening act of the By-Request Tour of Boyzone and they've won the Best New Tour Act Award in the Smash Hits Roadshow Tour. Sooner they changed their name into Westlife, since they found that an American Group has already chosen this name -Westside. So they settled down with their new name and released their debut single "Swear It Again" in 19-April-1999, this single went straight to No.1 in UK single chart. (In fact they started off their business in Asia first by releasing the Swear It Again EP just in Asia in June 1999.) Later, their second single "If I Let You Go" and the third one "Flying Without Wings" were all went straight to No.1s in UK single chart, thus caused them to acheive this record that a pop group could ever have before, became the first band to achieve four successive number ones in Britian, even a greater success than Boyzone!!! The song "Flying Without Wings" had won the 1999's Record of The Year Award in front of 10 million viewers. The lads finally released their self-titled debut album in November 1999 which was also a No.1 UK album. Their fourth No.1 single "I Have A Dream / Seasons In The Sun", which is a double a-sided one, was even the last No.1 UK single in 20th century and the first in 21st century. With their fifth UK No.1 single "Fool Again", they became the first ever British group to have 5 consecutive No.1s in the UK chart, so they broke this record in the UK music history and they even have a Guinness Record for this. But the year 2000 they have won Record Of The Year again for their hit single 'My Love'. They've beaten Ronan Keating, S Club 7 and Robbie William.