Ronan Patrick John Keating was born 3rd March 1977 at home in Bayside, Dublin to parents Marie and Gerry. The baby of all the Keating siblings, Ronan had three brothers; Ciaran, Gerard and Gary and a sister; Linda.
Described as a sensitive child, Ronan was a good boy growing up but was easily cajoled into mischief by his older brother, Gary; who he was closest to and wanted to be like. Ronan enjoyed school, with English being his best subject. He also liked History and P.E.
As a youngster, Ronan was a promising athlete, running distances of 200m, 400m and 800m. He was in Dunshaughlin Athletics’ club, winning a lot of competitions along the way. Ronan won the All-Ireland Championships and came second in the Triple A Championships involving Ireland, England and Wales. He was offered a scholarship at Iona College in upstate, New York but didn’t take it as he didn’t have the determination to become a professional athlete.
Music was always his passion and he started writing songs in his secondary school years; thinking up a melody in his head. He played a bit of guitar, teaching himself to play on his brother’s. Ronan joined his first band when he was 15; they didn’t have a name and all they really did was a bit of jamming. However, another band he was in; Nameste, won £1,000 in a talent competition.
While in his final years at school, Ronan worked for Korky’s shoe shop part-time and for a while before Boyzone took off.
In 1993, Ronan was told of auditions for a boyband and as an admirer of Take That, he thought he'd go for it, believing this new band could do as well as them. At the auditions, he sang George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ and danced to Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m Too Sexy.’ He also sang a song that was to play a big part in Boyzone’s future; ‘Father and Son.’ Along with Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch, Mikey Graham and Stephen Gately, he made up Ireland's original boyband; achieving major success in UK and Europe, as well as their home country.
Although, not initially thought of as the front man, (Mikey and Stephen took lead on ‘Working my way back to you’) he came to the fore and sang lead vocals on the majority of Boyzone songs, along with Stephen. Ronan also won an ‘Ivor Novello’ songwriting award for ‘Picture of you.’
Being in Boyzone lead to lots of other opportunities for Ronan, with him taking on presenting jobs such as The Eurovision Song Contest, in 1997 – the year United Kingdom won, (Boyzone also performed at the event, singing ‘Let the message run free’) The MTV Europe Music Awards in ‘97 and ’99, Miss World and he fronted a talent show series for the BBC in ’99 called ‘Get your act together.’
In February 1998, while at the height of Boyzone’s career, Ronan’s world fell apart when his beloved mum, Marie died of breast cancer at the age of 51. Ronan was just 20 when she passed away (he turned 21 a month later.) He has since, with his family, set up The Marie Keating Foundation – which has put breast cancer screening units around Ireland, with the emphasis on early detection and diagnosis, hopefully allowing the best chance of survival. The Foundation, over the years, has put in place several fundraising events to continue its’ good work.
A couple of months later on 30th April 1998, Ronan married girlfriend, Yvonne on the Caribbean Isle of Nevis. The simple ceremony took place in a beautiful beach setting. Ronan recalled how it had been cloudy on the morning of the nuptials but the sun had come out, the minute their feet touched the sand; believing it to be a sign that his mam was there ‘blessing the wedding.’ Ronan has often described Yvonne as ‘his rock;’ saying she has helped him through so much over the course of their time together.
A year later, on 15th March 1999; Ronan and Yvonne welcomed their first child to the world; a son, Jack. The little lad was due on his daddy’s birthday but arrived a couple of weeks late! When he did arrive, he weighed a healthy 10lb 1oz and Ronan couldn’t have been happier to have been a dad.
After the successful years in Boyzone, Ronan was asked to record a song for the film ‘Notting Hill;’ that song was ‘When you say nothing at all’ and in 1999 it reached no.1 in the charts, adding to the 6 number ones Boyzone had already had.
Following one final single; ‘Everyday I love you’ and one final tour; Boyzone went their separate ways for a time and went onto to do their own things. Ronan continued to record music as a solo artist; his second song, ‘Life is a rollercoaster,’ released July 2000 also reached No.1 and his debut album, simply titled ‘Ronan’ achieved the same feat. One further song was released from the album; ‘The way you make me feel’ – written by Bryan Adams