'Huge loss' | 

Louis Walsh shocked at Covid death of Il Divo singer Carlos Marin he discovered

"It’s awful. Such a huge, huge loss. Carlos was the main guy in the band. I’m shocked.”
Carlos Marin

Carlos Marin

Eugene Masterson

LOUIS Walsh has revealed his shock that the singer he discovered at an audition to front Il Divo has died from Covid.

And the Mayo music mogul has said that Carlos Marin’s death - following on from the untimely passing of two other singers Louis has worked closely with, Stephen Gately and Sarah Harding – has made him live for the moment.

“The thing is I actually found Carlos in Dublin for Simon (Cowell),” explains Louis. “He was Spanish, and I had auditions in the National Concert Hall looking for people for Il Divo. It’s awful. Such a huge, huge loss. Carlos was the main guy in the band. I’m shocked.”

Il Divo’s David Miller, Carlos Marin, Sebastien Izambard and Urs Buhler performing in London in 2015 (Ian West/PA Archive)

Il Divo’s David Miller, Carlos Marin, Sebastien Izambard and Urs Buhler performing in London in 2015 (Ian West/PA Archive)

Il Divo were put together by Cowell in 2003 and went on to sell 30 million albums.

Carlos (53) died in a Manchester hospital last weekend after contracting Covid for second time.

“I am really paranoid about Covid,” admits Louis. “I’ve got all the jabs and the boosters and all that. I’m very careful.”

Stephen Gately, who Louis picked to be in Boyzone, died of a heart condition at the age of 33 in 2009, while Sarah Harding (39), who Louis chose to be in Girls Aloud and later managed, died from breast cancer in September.

“Stephen and Sarah were so young when they died,” he reflects. “The likes of this has taught me to enjoy life, just enjoy every single day. All I want to do is treasure every moment.”

Sarah with Louis Walsh.

Sarah with Louis Walsh.

Louis says his own health is good.

“I’m fine because I never smoked, did drugs or drink much. I’m lazy but I look after myself,” he smiles.

He also reveals he is “done” with UK music shows.

“I had a great time and was just good to get out on top,” he stresses. “There’s too many shows now, they’re all copying each other. I’ve done all the TV shows I wanted to do, I’ve done everything. I would do something here in Dublin, but I wouldn’t like to be traveling over and back to London like I was.

“I’m happy just to be between the scenes and just do music and the Westlife album is doing really well. “

Despite making millions from groups he’s formed Louis is now planning to put together new a boyband and girl outfit.

“We had 1,000 people at auditions in Vicar Street in Dublin,” he explains. “We’ve got so many people, amazing people from all around the country, including a few Northern people.

“We filmed it and sent it to the people helping me. They are Colin Barlow and Brian Higgins, Brian Higgins did all the Girls Aloud songs, he produced and wrote them. Colin Barlow did A&R for me for Boyzone and Westlife.

"He did Samantha Mumba, he did The Wanted as well. They couldn’t believe the standard, there’s a lot of really good young kids, 16 and 17 year olds.

“I’m going to recall the best of them in February. The standard is really high and some very young people. I’m spoiled for choice, I’ve got some really great people. There could be some solo singers too. We are spoiled for choice between the boys and the girls.

“I think everybody, every record company will be after this.”

Louis is also looking forward to major outdoor shows from Westlife next year.

“Westlife are doing Cork, Aviva and Wembley and they’re all selling,” he beams.

“I got that single Starlight from Tom Grennan. He’s great at writing songs. I’ve loads of songwriters lined up, I’ve never had so many good songwriters helping me and everyone says there’s so much raw talent in Ireland.

“I can do the music and I’m good with music and the record companies and all that. I was very involved in the Westlife album, I got a lot of songs for that.

“I’m tuned in to way the whole music scene is working and I’ve found all these new writers and producers.”

He also hasn’t forgotten his roots.

“I visited Kiltimagh the other day,” raving about the town he grew up in in Co Mayo. “I saw my sister down there.

"I’m spending Christmas watching a lot of silly TV. I’m loving Selling Sunset and I’m watching Simon’s show Walk The Line. I think the idea is brilliant. I’m watching loads of American shows.”

He also keeps in touch with his celebrity friends.

“I was out with Mel B recently in Dublin,” he reveals. “.She was over doing an American show here, called Name That Tune, and I brought her down to the Merrion (hotel).

"She was helping to judge, she’s in a really good place, she’s got her mojo back. It was after she left before the Covid outbreak on the show stopped it from being filmed until next year.

“I talked to Simon the other night, he’s in Barbados. He’s having a great time. I’m in touch with people all the time, lots of music people.”

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