The road from boy band fame to solo stardom has been a bumpy one, but Niall Horan made the transition look easy with his 2017 debut album, “Flicker.” The Irishman, who eschewed One Direction’s pop for a more earthy and singer-songwriter style, forged his own artistic identity, success by success. Horan, 29, broadened her sonic horizons with “Heartbreak Weather”, but its release coincided with the start of the Covid-19 virus pandemic and promotion came to an abrupt halt.
With time on his hands for the first time in a decade, the pop star turned inward and began writing “The Show,” his third album out June 9 through Capitol Records, with Horan letting go of his feelings And spoke openly about love and being loved. the rigors of adulthood. “If I’d made this record four years ago, I probably wouldn’t have written some of those songs,” reflects the singer. “The pandemic was a good time to reflect on everything that happened up until then.”
When the pain of his ill-fated second project wore off, Horan returned to the studio with some reluctance: “I’d just written a thousand songs, so I didn’t do anything for the initial pandemonium,” he recalls. Finally, he sat down at the piano and wrote the title song for his third album. With introspective lyrics and exceptional production, “The Show” would set the tone for the entire project.
Anchoress talks about her New Order cover, her new album, and her trip to Europe since Brexit.
Watch Niall Horan and Lewis Capaldi stroll the streets of Dublin together
I wanted to say things I hadn’t said before,” says Horan of the song, who acknowledges that dizzying highs and devastating lows are inevitable side effects of being human: “Writing a song like this makes you think about This encouraged her to be more vulnerable and open about her fears and anxieties throughout the rest of the album. “I think it’s very contemplative,” he says, “but there’s some funny stuff in it, too.”
And often, dark and light intertwine, as on new single “Meltdown,” a pop-rock song with a radio-friendly chorus that also details Horan’s struggle with anxiety. Exploring darker terrain was new for the hitmaker, and he turned to New Zealand producer Joel Little for guidance: “I’ve always been a big fan of Joel’s work,” Horan says of the Grammy winner, who Has worked with superstars like Lorde and Superstar. Taylor Swift.
Horan asked his A&R to send him a demo of “The Show” and before long they were on the phone: “We both agreed on how the song should sound,” Horan says, “and I knew was that he was the one.” Together, they brought an alternative touch to their sound, says Horan, as the anthem’s lead single “Heaven” demonstrates: “There’s definitely a more alternative approach to it than it probably would have been before.”
Another good example of this is “You Can Start a Cult,” a title that went viral when the track list was released: “That title was blowing up,” he laughs. “I liked the idea of writing a love song with a dark and weird title.” Horan is baffled by the almost anxious reaction of fans: “Everybody was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ People haven’t even heard of it yet and they already think I’m starting a cult” (spoiler: I’m not).
Horan is happy to subvert expectations, but doesn’t want to stray too far from his signature sound: “Obviously, I make music for myself, but I never try to be different,” he admits. I hope fans enjoy it.” “Ultimately, Horan sees “The Show” as an exciting new chapter in a very long story. “It’s just a nice progression,” he says. “There’s nothing is what scares people.”
Horan has been making headlines since he was a teenager, so he’s been carrying a load of expectations his entire adult life…and it’s never easy: “It’s scary, man, but I’m not afraid to work hard,” he They say. “I spend a year or more on songs, so I want the best possible results.” However, Horan is also smart enough to know that there’s nothing he can do. “You just have to cross your fingers and hope for the fucking best.”
Asked whether the commercial success of his fellow One Direction members is increasing the pressure to release solo material, Horan pauses to collect his thoughts: “I don’t think so,” he says. “Everybody releases a different kind of music.” In fact, Horan seems genuinely excited by his former teammate’s success: “He’s a great watch as a friend. There’s a bond that can’t be broken and we always have each other’s backs.”
Horan’s time with One Direction has served him well as a coach on past seasons of “The Voice.” -Reflection moment: “It’s so weird,” he admits, “I was thinking, ‘Do I want to go back to that? Isn’t this something in my past?’ But then I thought, ‘Fuck you. It turned out to be a wise decision.
Horan says, “I had a lot of fun choosing the songs, working with the cast, and going to rehearsals.”
“I didn’t enjoy making ridiculously difficult decisions and holding people’s futures in the palm of my hand.” In moments of doubt, he turned to veteran coach Blake Shelton. “I’m fine with that,” Horan says. “He’s absolutely hilarious and he doesn’t care.”
Along with his commitments to “The Voice”, Horan will hit the road for a 30+ date US tour, which begins on May 29, 2024 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. “It’s the best part of what we do,” he says. When asked how he’s going to cram three albums into a 90-minute concert, Horan looks visibly stressed.
“It’s going to be a progressive set list,” he says, “an average stadium concert, what? 90 minutes? It’s about 20 songs. . Although “The Show” will dominate the setlist, Horan lovingly composed promises to perform gems from his growing arsenal of performed pop songs.”This is my public service announcement to those of you who like my records: Please buy a ticket.”