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Ronan Live: It's almost a newspaper headline

By: Bronwyn Sloan Posted: January-01-2006 in
Bronwyn Sloan

One of the world's most wholesome men visits Cambodia and caught up with Bronwyn Sloan

Ronan Keating, all round good guy, philanthropist, happily married man and father of three wants to share his record breaking string of Number One European hits with Cambodia tonight, and he promises to throw in a few new songs just for luck.

The charming Irishman, a self described "good Catholic boy", has another agenda however. Already impressed with Phnom Penh's laidback charm and "European style", he wants to open the door for others to follow and show the world by example that Cambodia is a must-see destination.

"My big regret is that I don't have more time. I want to spend the rest of the day seeing the place, getting to see the city and meeting and listening to the Cambodian people," he says as he sits down for a chat at the Hotel Cambodiana.

"There are issues and things going on here in Cambodia and I want to learn more about what they are and about this country. I only just got off the plane but I really love this region. I've been to Asia eight or nine times and I always feel welcome," he says.

"I will be taking a message back with me-that Cambodia is safe, it's beautiful, the people are lovely and you should come here to visit."

That list includes friends like Westlife, Robbie Williams and Will Young, he says, but also ordinary Europeans who may be missing out on what Cambodia has to offer because they just don't realize the country is back on the world tourism map with a bang.

Keating's just had a blast playing a big crowd in Bangkok but the former Boyzone front man told EAS in an exclusive interview Tuesday that will be nothing in comparison to being the first truly big music name to play a live gig in Cambodia.

"I was surprised to be honest that no one else had come here yet. It's a big deal for me to hear that I'm the first big international artist. It's a great honor."

Cambodian fans who love local covers of his music should come to hear the real thing, he says. He's pleased that big Cambodian artists have kept the integrity of his lyrics in their Khmer versions.

"That's everything. Keep the integrity of the song. I'm happy," he says. "I'm amazed actually-a lot of my songs have been translated? I have to get some copies and have a listen."

Not that copyright isn't an issue for the man whose hits include "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and the universal love song that crossed the Khmer-English boundaries and has become a Cambodian classic, "When You Say Nothing At All". It is.

But Ronan, a champion of Fair Trade, says that copyright issues and market awareness are all the more reason why big stars should start coming to Cambodia, and he hopes Cambodians will see it the same way and support him at his ground breaking concert tonight.

"You want to sell records and make money, but here you can't when so much of the market is bootleg. So in a way promotion is the way you have to do it in these markets. You have to come and show them who you are and let them hear you. In a way, that's your marketing here," he says.

He plays one gig only at the Olympic Stadium indoor arena tonight, but the 30-year-old acclaimed singer songwriter who released the 2.5 million selling UK Number One album 10 Years.

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