Watching the members of One Direction go solo has been riveting to say the least. I say riveting because since the split, the fivesome have been faced with the challenge of having to find their individual voices, and niches all over again. As for Niall Horan, his solo path has seemed more natural compared to some of the other members. With the release of his recent album Flicker, he has comfortably positioned his sound as more folk-inspired. Although critiqued for being simple at times, Flicker is an incredible effort that has put Horan back on the map by showcasing his clear direction.

How did he get there though? Maybe taking a break was what he needed. Last year, Horan went on a budget backpacking trip around South East Asia, an interesting choice for a man who was a member of this generation’s biggest boyband. In the interview below, we got the chance to discuss his journey since One Direction, finally being able to have artistic control over his music, and his love for South East Asia.

Was going solo everything you expected it to be?

Yes, it was. It was obviously a big change to start with. After five years of touring and being on stage with One Direction it was hard to adapt to a new way or working. However, it has been great. I have really enjoyed being able to perform songs from my debut album Flicker all around the world.

How does it feel to be back on the road, touring with your own band this time around? Do you ever miss being in a group?

Being on the road and playing shows all over the world for my fans is the best part of my job. This year has been incredible so far. Kicking off the Flicker World Tour in front of my home crowd in Ireland was extremely special. The shows in the UK and Europe have been unreal. Now, I am really looking forward to the shows in South East Asia. The fans here have a very special place in my heart.

You have drifted a bit from the typical mainstream sound. Do you feel like you have been there and done that with One Direction?

No I don’t think that is the case. I think in One Direction we all brought our individual music tastes to the band and it worked really well. Naturally, being a solo artist means you are able to fully write the songs that are 100% you, and I think we are all doing that now.

What made you want to try a softer sound out?

It was mostly the music I grew up with and the influences that have shaped my taste. I grew up listening to bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles. That Southern Californian sound that I love. Naturally, I have channelled that in my music now that I have had the chance to write more.

Has fame been as good as people make it out to be? After your backpacking trip around Asia, do you miss the ‘normal’ life?

There are pros and cons to everything. In regards to fame, I think it’s up to you to be smart about how you deal with it. My trip in Asia was fantastic and I’m very glad I was able to do it the way I did, with family and friends.

Thoughts on South East Asia?

I really love it here. With 1D we spent a lot of time here and I’m excited to be coming back and being able to see all the fans that have always supported me here. As for the future, hopefully I can keep coming back.

How do you balance your time between mingling in Hollywood and still spending time with family and friends?

I don’t really see it as mingling in the Hollywood crowd. Due to my job, I obviously hang out with other artists and people that work in “show business” but I don’t see them as the “Hollywood” crowd. I’d like to think we would be friends even if we weren’t doing our jobs. As for my family and friends, they are everything to me. In LA, I live with my oldest school friend and in London with my cousin.

Do you have a vision for your career? Anywhere you want to be 10 years from now?

I just want to keep writing music, putting out albums and touring the world. And come back to South East Asia of course!

Niall Horan will be performing live on June 12th at The Star Theatre. Tickets are available through APACTix

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