The singer, 42, tragically lost both his dad Peter and mum Mae during lockdown, and had to fight back tears when he sang without them watching for the first time.
Shane, who is releasing new single Starlight with Westlife today, says the emotional moment came as the boy band performed a small gig in Belfast for Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 breakfast show.
During an exclusive chat with the Mirror, he said: “We performed six or seven songs and I sang You Raise Me Up for the first time ever since my mum and dad passed away and it was very difficult. It was really, really difficult.
“I sang the song, I got through it, but there was a lady playing the violin beside me and it was honestly the saddest violin I’ve ever heard.
“It was just one of those moments because it was the first time in my life that my parents weren’t in the audience and it kind of hit me like a steam train.”
He added: “I wasn’t expecting it but I found it hard and afterwards I broke down and I was really upset because it really hit me that my parents aren’t with me any more.
“It was tough but after that it got me more into the new album and the songs on it because they’re so positive and that’s what I want for Westlife going forward.”
Westlife are returning to the airwaves today with new single Starlight, an uptempo song Shane is sure their fans will love.
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
The boys’ devoted followers will hear it for the first time today on Zoe’s BBC Radio 2 show.
Shane said: “We’re so buzzing about this song.
“We started the last album with Hello My Love – a real uptempo upbeat song and this song is very much in that vein, it’s very upbeat and positive and happy.
“You can’t help but sing along to it and bounce away, it’s very much about positivity and hope.
“It’s very apt lyrically for starting fresh again and having a new beginning in life and being positive about everything – which is what we all need right now.
“We can all be starlights and be whatever we want to be, we just have to do it.
“It’s very upbeat and dancey, it’s just a happy song but it’s got a killer chorus.”
The lads have also been working hard during lockdown on their new album Wild Dreams, which includes the band’s first ever self-penned tracks.
As well as fulfilling his lifelong ambition to learn to play guitar, thanks to encouragement from his wife Gillian, Shane also teamed up with bandmate Mark Feehily to write music for the first time.
And it was something that Shane said happened “organically” during lockdown.
After he’s picked up some chords on the guitar, he began chatting to Mark and they decided to put their heads together and write.
“We didn’t know if they were good because it was just us trying to write songs,” Shane said. “But the producers started saying they were really good and we started working with other writers on them.
“We have never really written together before or even as a band because we had so many people writing great songs for us – we were never stuck for a hit song.
“We never got to really master that craft but this time we did it with no pressure and it was lovely.
“I was going through a tough time with my mum and dad, and it was a kind of release and a way to get to a happy place and do what I love.
“Me and Mark just bounced off each other so well and it became a really positive thing for this album.
“This album is probably the most personal one from the four of us as a band ever. It’s more personal and real and I think fans will get excited when they hear these songs because they’re coming from us.”
Starlight is available for download at www.westlife.com