'Once we went abroad, people couldn't understand us' - Mikey Graham toned down Raheny accent in early Boyzone days
BOYZONE star Mikey Graham has admitted he went to great lengths to soften his Dublin accent in the early days of his pop career because no one could understand him.
The singer, who was born in Raheny, north Dublin, said he had no option but to tone down his natural brogue when he joined Boyzone because people outside Ireland hadn't a clue what he was saying.
The 46-year-old said as a consequence his accent is now different to what it was when he started out with the Dublin boyband in the early 90s.
He recalled: "My accent was really strong in the early days of Boyzone. But once we went abroad, people couldn't understand us, so we had to slow down everything we said and mind our Ps and Qs."
The father-of-two has reunited with remaining bandmates Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch for one last time, ahead of the release of their final album next month and a farewell tour in January.
Reflecting on the early days with the boyband nearly a quarter of a century ago, he admits he almost missed out on pop stardom.
Having narrowly failed to make the cut after his audition in October 1993, he was set to emigrate to the US, having trained as a mechanic and obtained a green card.
But in February the following year he received a call from Louis Walsh to join the band, after the manager fired two original members.
A five-album deal with Polydor soon followed as the band went on to enjoy huge success, selling over 25 million records worldwide.
Looking ahead to the upcoming tour, the singer said he expected it to be a "bittersweet" experience without late former bandmate, Stephen Gately.
And in an interview with Virgin Media's Six O'Clock Show, he said: "We kind of felt that we've gone as far as we can with Boyzone.
"We all have different things in our lives now, so it's very difficult to get us together most of the time.
"But with this new album, we wanted to make it the best we could as a send-off."