After a year on hiatus from One Direction, Niall Horan is ready for the solo spotlight. He signed with Capitol Records in September, released his first single, a tender ballad called “This Town” with Grammy-nominated producer Greg Kurstin, and is currently prepping his first collection to come out in Summer 2017.
Even though Horan spent five years in a beloved pop group, the 23-year-old Brit is leaning into his childhood inspirations — classic rock acts like Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and Crosby, Stills and Nash—for his solo album. “Whenever I would pick up a guitar, I would always naturally play chords like that, and finger pick a lot, and play that folky kind of style,” he says.
Horan began writing the material on piano and guitar this spring, and then worked with sessions musicians to realize his songs and insert funky percussion techniques. One drummer, Aaron Sterling, played around with pseudo-instruments like “a coffee jar full of beans” that can be heard shaking around and “pink twine that was attached to 12 empty cans of Perrier sparkling water.” Horan says, “He would just drop them on the floor next to the mic in time and it would make a crashing marching sound.”
While he says the album will have a “folk-with-pop feel to it,” there are plugged-in moments: “Some of the songs are heavier than others,” Horan says. “I play a bit of electric on some tracks and we obviously played around a lot with percussion stuff to build up the songs so there was a lot of things going on percussion wise.”
But when it comes to his vocals, Horan is excited to take on all those duties for the first time in his career. “The biggest challenge of making the album was making sure I could sing for that long,” he says. “I did write the songs in my key so I didn’t try to make it too difficult for myself.”
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One detail Horan has shared, though, is the producers he’s been working with. In a recent letter to his fans on Dec. 5, Horan shared that he’s been in the studio with Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, James Bay) and Don Was, the Blue Note president who, as Horan put it, “is a complete legend and has produced anyone from The Rolling Stones to John Mayer to Bob Dylan.” He continued, “For me to work with this calibre of producer is pretty amazing really and I’m humbled that they wanna work with me.”
During a conversation with Was last week, it seemed that the pair had formed something of a mutual admiration society. “[Niall] showed up with a bunch of really great songs he wrote, he sings really well,” said Was. “He was thoroughly professional, humble and sweet. He spent time talking with all the musicians, hung out — everybody loved him.”
Was added that the album that prompted Horan to call him up was not what he’d expected. “I was trying to think [of what it would be], thinking of the stuff I did 30 years ago,” he said. “But it was John Mayer’s Born and Raised, which feels like a pretty recent excursion to me…but then again, [Niall]’s 23. On that record, John was trying to evoke the feeling of those old, 60’s Laurel Canyon albums — which I think we did, in a modern way. I love that record and I’m glad [Niall] liked it, even though it’s not what you would associate with One Direction. John was highly complimented when I told him about that.”
Of Horan’s debut solo single — Was produced the 1 Mic 1 Take version — he said, “It’s a real solid song,” adding that much of what they’ve recorded for the album shares its aesthetic. “He’s the real deal, man,” Was concluded. “I’m so impressed with this guy.”
Watch Horan and Was work together in the behind-the-scenes clip below:
It is with immeasurable sadness that Johannah Deakin’s family said goodbye to Johannah in the early hours of Wednesday 7th December 2016.
Earlier this year Johannah was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukaemia that required immediate and continuous treatment. We respectfully request that the family are given time and space to grieve in private.
Johannah was first and foremost a truly amazing mother to seven children – Louis (24), Lottie (18), Félicité (16), and two sets of twins, Phoebe and Daisy (12) and Ernest and Doris (2) – whose individual talents and success are testament to the principles and beliefs she instilled in them. She was also an incredibly proud grandmother to Freddie.
Incredibly selfless, she would always look to put other people before herself. She desired nothing more than for everyone around her to be happy and loving. She worked tirelessly on numerous charity campaigns, creating memories for many individuals and their families. It wasn’t uncommon for Johannah to hear through the media of an individual in need of assistance, and she would immediately make it her objective to get that person what they often desperately needed, and rarely without success. These are the things that made Johannah happy and content in life, and all of which for me made her simply the perfect wife and best friend to face each day with. I thoroughly loved walking through life with her, and though five years was far too short a time, during that time we had so many lifetimes worth of happiness, adventures, and memories.
We would like to send our sincere thanks to Professor Steve Mackinnon and his team at University College London Hospital where Johannah was hospitalised since May. And during the last few weeks Professor John Snowden and his colleagues at Royal Hallamshire Hospital Sheffield.
The One Direction star – who is reportedly expecting a baby with girlfriend Cheryl Fernandez-Versini – is working hard on his debut solo LP and has a few ”amazing” songs on there, according to label mate Calum Scott.
Speaking exclusively to BANG Showbiz at the Capital Jingle Bell Ball with Coca-Cola, Calum said:
”I was in the studio with Liam the other day. I heard a few of his songs. They are sounding amazing. I’d love to do something with him.”
The 23-year-old singer has been teasing fans with snaps of himself in the studio over the last few weeks and even shared a short clip of a song, where he appeared to provide the vocals.
The news comes as Simon Cowell previously admitted he was a ”bit annoyed” at Liam for signing with rival record label Capitol rather than choosing to stay with Sony Music.
”It is a bit annoying if I am honest with you – mainly because it is a another label who has now got your artist who you worked with for so many years. But that is the music business, unfortunately. I don’t think anyone else from the band will do that. We had spoken a lot – him and I – about what he wanted to do next. But I guess he read about Harry’s deal and thought we weren’t interested. My impression was that he wasn’t in any hurry to make a record because he discussed this last year. He was more into songwriting. I was teasing him saying, ‘If you come up with a great song Liam make sure it is for you and don’t give it away. When you’re ready I am ready.’ So I was a bit surprised. Of course there is a part of you that goes, ‘Maybe we should have had the conversation.’ That maybe is my fault but it has happened now.”
Songwriter Amy Wadge is working with Niall Horan on his solo music, with some of the tunes running with a country theme.
The writer, who collaborated with Ed Sheeran on his mega hit ‘Thinking Out Loud’, said that she had been working with the One Direction man in the US.
“I’m working with Niall from One Direction, so I’ve been in Nashville with him. And I’ve been working with James Blunt, and Una from The Saturdays. Niall – it’s going to be his own thing, and he’s a cracking writer, and he’s got a great voice. He’s kind of got a bit of a Paul Simon thing going on.”
Wadge added that she thinks there will be “elements” of country in Horan’s solo career, which sparked into life recently with his debut single ‘This Town’.
A producer working with Liam Payne on his new solo music has revealed that his tunes have shades of Justin Timberlake, with “funky” vibes running through the music.
The singer signed a record contract with Capitol earlier this year as he looks ahead to the future following One Direction’s decision to go on hiatus at the end of 2015.
Speaking to the Daily Star, producer James Newman said he eventually hopes to work with the One Direction trio of Payne, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik on their respective solo music.
The music man said:
“I’m working with Liam already and I’m going to be working with Zayn and hopefully Niall because I know him. You go for the artists you respect, I don’t give out songs willy nilly.”
Speaking about Payne’s output, which is expected to start trickling into the public domain soon, Newman said:
“It’s an urbany funky type of thing, JT vibes, it’s early days but it’s fun.”
Louis Tomlinson has recorded an EDM (electronic dance music) track with Steve Aoki.
The One Direction singer and the US DJ decided to collaborate after becoming friends earlier this year and the new song is expected to be released later this month.
A source told the Daily Star newspaper:
“Louis and Steve partied a few times in the summer. They were just mucking around in the studio at first but ended up coming up with something special. It’s miles away from what Louis did with One Direction.”
Louis and Steve partied together in Ibiza during the summer and the 24-year-old star recently jetted to Las Vegas with pals to help celebrated Steve’s 39th birthday.
It has been claimed that Louis will give the first performance of the new song during the live final of ‘The X Factor’ – the show which launched One Direction to fame – later this month.
News of the collaboration comes after it was recently revealed that Louis has finally decided to follow in the footsteps of his band mates – Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Liam Payne – and previous member Zayn Malik, in launching his own solo career.
And he has decided to work with Simon Cowell’s Syco label, where the band are also signed.
A source recently said:
“Louis is a brilliant songwriter and had not initially planned his own solo career. But he’s been back in the studio and has been working on some really amazing music. He’s played some to the powers-that-be at Syco, who are really excited. They think he could be a real success as a solo artist, given his proven ability to write hit records and massive fanbase as part of 1D.”
Niall Horan is going to be at 102.7 KIIS FM’s sold-out Jingle Ball at Staples Center in Los Angeles this Friday (December 2).
“I thought that I written a lot of it or all of it. And then as I been recording and yesterday I recorded my 8th song, and then you start make a track listing. Obviously I have high expectations of myself for myself so I want to make it the best I can. I just felt like a couple of songs were lacking a bit… slacking actually. And I am going to redo that again then take a little bit of time off for the new year! And chill out for a bit because since I brought this on now I have been promo-ing and studio time so I kind of need to chillax for a second, regroup and try to rewrite a few more!!!”