By Hayden Wright
Even after selling 70 million records as a member of One Direction, all eyes are on Niall Horan’s next move. His first album Flicker arrives this Friday as millions of fans stand by to witness his solo debut.
For inspiration, Niall drew upon vAmerican classic rockers Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles. In a new Apple Music documentary, the latter’s Don Henley makes an appearance to vouch for Horan’s potential.
Contributing songwriting to the One Direction catalog was an early path to finding his voice, but now Horan has the spotlight to himself. The boy band was a launch pad for bigger, more personal ambitions.
“There was a lot of 1D stuff I wrote that was along the lines of Fleetwood [Mac], stuff like that, and I hear myself in them songs now sometimes,” Horan said in May. “But this time it’s just completely me, so I get to do what I want when I want, really.”
“I’ve been listening to a lot of early 80’s stuff lately and been inspired by that heavy bass and the funky guitar sound,” Horan says of the album’s current single “Slow Hands.” “It’s another flavor to my album that I’m excited to share.”
To bolster the release, Niall embarked on a 16-date Flicker Sessions tour last month, which continues through late November. The small-venue gigs put fans up close and personal with Horan’s new sound. “It’s brilliant, especially with the type of music I’m doing,” he told the BBC. “You feel like you’re in someone’s living room.”
Next June his live dates resume with bigger venues around the world: The Flicker World Tour kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand and features country star Maren Morris as the opening act.
Niall Horan’s Flicker is in stores and on major streaming services Friday, October 20.