Archives For Niall Horan

We all have different ways of getting over ex-lovers and coping with failed relationships. For Julia Michaels, her method involved releasing a debut cohesive body of work, the self-dubbed “mini-album” called “Nervous System.”

“I’m fully transparent. This whole (mini-album) is literally my life,” Michaels explained to me. “There were so many things that I couldn’t say to him and there are a lot of things that I don’t confront with myself that I put on this mini-album.”

Over the course of our sit-down interview Michaels noted that each track on “Nervous System” represents something that actually took place in the relationship. All of the songs were written about the same boyfriend referenced in the hit single “Issues.” The mini-album was penned over a two-month stretch after Michaels released the first track.

Perhaps the two most heart-wrenching songs are “Just Do It” and “Don’t Wanna Think.” The former describes a moment when Michaels knew her ex-boyfriend wanted to dump her but was worried he would break her heart. The latter is the only track on the mini-album that Michaels wrote alone; she is also the lone-producer on it as well. The ballad was originally titled, “Drinking Song”; Michaels composed it on a piano while drinking tequila.

“I wrote it about a fight I was having and it was just one of those songs that I had written in about 20 minutes because everything had just kind of flowed out of me,” she revealed. “Like I said, I don’t confront things and I suppress a lot of things and so sometimes when I listen down to something I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s how I feel.’”

Michaels clearly has no problem telling the world about her personal life, and the world doesn’t seem to mind; she turned-in a fantastic performance of “Issues” at the Billboard Music Awards in May and is up for “Best New Artist” later this month on the MTV Video Music Awards. Although she is currently focusing on her own music (Michaels told me that for the moment she hasn’t worked on any other songs with Selena Gomez), she still likes being able to tell other people’s stories as well.

“I love being that person that people can talk to and helping them get their stories out, because sometimes artists really want to say what they have to say but they don’t know how to articulate it in a way that fully makes sense,” Michaels said. “So I love helping them put puzzle pieces together and figuring all of that out together.”

In some aspects, Michaels provides therapy as much as collaboration. By using her debut mini-album to release an ex-boyfriend from her life, go ahead and add “self-therapy” to Michaels’ resume as well.

Since 2010, Niall Horan has been on quite the rollercoaster. The Irish-born singer first came to fame on “The X-Factor” across the pond, where Simon Cowell hatched the bright idea to pair him and four other contestants together. What followed was a phenomenon: five chart-topping albums, sold-out stadium tours and millions upon millions of screaming fans.

But now Horan is signed to a different record label, releasing music as a solo artist and moving at a speed that must feel more comfortable.

“Yeah, it’s great,” when asked Horan about the pace of his new project with Capitol Records. “I kind of just made a decision that I would do everything at my own pace and I said it to my manager and to my label and they were completely supportive of it.”

Horan essentially told them that he would work on the album and he would notify them when it was finished. Update: it’s pretty much done.

“I’ll probably release it in the fall or something,” he said. “I just have to do a little bit of production stuff and it’s all kind of recorded and stuff like that.”

The Irishman doesn’t have a title yet but he has released two songs from the LP, “This Town” and “Slow Hands.” When I asked about the song selection, it sounded like the former wasn’t really intended to be a proper first single.

“I just wanted to let people know I was still doing music to be honest and it just kind of happened,” Horan explained of releasing “This Town.” “It took a life of its own.”

There was definitely a more methodical approach behind “Slow Hands.”

“I wanted to kind of beef things up a little bit and show I was a little bit more diverse,” Horan noted. “The whole album wasn’t going to be all finger-picking stuff.”

Horan started writing for the project in “March or April of last year.” The singer hopped in-and-out of the studio between days off before “This Town” started climbing the charts and the project’s timeline sped up – something Horan credits to those aforementioned fans, who have stuck with him throughout the entire ride.

I love tradition and routine but it was time for a break from both this past weekend: for the first time in recent memory, I took Memorial Day weekend off.

I remember spending Memorial Day weekend in 2010 at a Yankees game and I can’t recall how I spent the holiday in 2011. But I do remember 2012 because Syracuse was in the NCAA Lacrosse Final Four and I drove to Camden, New Jersey where I interviewed Niall Horan of then a burgeoning pop outfit called One Direction.

In 2013 I attended a wedding but on Memorial Day Monday and every subsequent one until this year, I would host my show in New York at its normal time.

And this year wasn’t a complete departure from work: I woke up early Friday morning and drove down the Shore for 95.5’s Pepsi Summer Kick-Off, chatting with Andy Grammer before driving back and doing my show Friday night.

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On Saturday I slept in, grabbed the new Jordan 11’s and met a friend for a drink in midtown. Then my buddy Danny visited for the weekend – we bar-hopped in the hood before hitting the East Village and calling it a late night/early morning.

Then Sunday it was up to the Bronx to watch the Yankees beat the A’s and witness Aaron Judge’s first career grand slam. We followed that up with a celebratory drink at Stan’s and then a trip to hang in Yonkers with John Foxx for dinner and drinks.

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The bad news for Monday is that I had to set an alarm for 8 am. The good news was that Danny and I were up early because we were driving to Baltimore to see the Yankees and Orioles face off at Camden Yards. The weather was dreary until we reached the DMV area. First pitch was 75 and sunny. The Yanks lost (although Judge hit another homer; he leads the league) but we linked up with friends old and new in the stadium, across the street at Pickles and across town around the Inner Harbor.

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By the way – the people of Baltimore are fantastic. We ate dinner with our buddy Rob at the Oyster House Sunday night. The lobster gnocchi and lobster mac and cheese were out of this world. Everything was super-fresh.

We wrapped up the night with a trip to Horseshoe Casino where I left with a few extra dollars in my pocket and retired to the Hilton by Camden. It was an early-ish night because I had a 10 am train back to New York on Tuesday morning.

And of course, it should come as little surprise that I missed it by about 10 minutes because I accidentally typed in “Penn Street” in to Google Maps as opposed to “Baltimore Penn Station.” But the good news was that 20 minutes later, an Acela departed and dropped me off at New York Penn just before 1.

The timing was perfect: I arrived at the studio with just enough time to interview an old friend… Niall Horan.

It definitely came as no surprise to long-time fans of One Direction and long-time listeners of my radio show that Niall Horan is a “massive” fan of President Barack Obama. Horan revealed his admiration for the First Family during a chat on my show back in 2012; the aforementioned quote attributed to the singer became a popular Tumblr meme (only second to the GIF-able moment when Louis Tomlinson decided to crash our interview).


“I’m a big fan of their dad,” Horan told me as we talked about Malia and Sasha Obama, the President’s daughters, who at the time had recently just hung out with One Direction at a concert in Fairfax, Virginia. “They were sitting on the side of the stage, so I was waving at them.

“They’re just regular kids,” he continued. “They got to have a childhood and then they became ‘the President’s daughters.’”

Fans of Horan retweeted a clip of the interview that I had posted after the Irishman posted a message to Twitter about the Obama’s on Wednesday.

“Don’t get me started but I’m going to miss the obamas (sic),” he said online. “The nicest family on earth.”

Horan and his bandmates connected with Malia and Sasha at the Kids Choice Awards that year. The First Family said that if One Direction couldn’t make it to the White House, then the kids could go to one of their shows. So with Secret Service in tow, the daughters traveled out to the Patriot Center where they hung out with the guys backstage.

“We just had a conversation about everything,” Horan said. “It went from food to roller coasters to life to them having loads of security all the time.”

Which at least on some level, One Direction could relate to, although even Horan was taken aback by the Secret Service detail – which at the time struck me as one of the more surprising moments of our interview.


One Direction’s Niall Horan talked with me on the red carpet of the American Music Awards to talk about the band’s new album Midnight Memories and their night ahead at the AMAs. The quintet performed “Story Of My Life” and took home an AMA. Horan also spoke about the group’s nomination for Best Album Pop or Rock with Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift.

After a recent trip near our nation’s capital, the fellas from the UK boy-band One Direction found out just how big of a deal they are.

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“When we met (Malia and Sasha Obama) at the ‘Kids Choice Awards,’ they said that if we can’t come to the White House, they would come to us,” singer Niall Horan revealed on “The Ralphie Radio Show.” “So they came down to the show.”

Before President Obama’s daughters took-in the concert from One Direction, the girls had a chance to hang out backstage with the guys at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. Horan is “a massive” fan of the President.

“We just had a conversation about everything,” he said. “It went from food to rollercoasters to life to them having loads of security all the time.”

If there is one facet that the heart-throbs can relate to Malia and Sasha in, it’s the latter topic. Then again, after a recent tour stop in New York, perhaps Niall and his friends could use something similar to the Secret Service.

“Me and Liam [Payne] got mobbed,” Horan recalled. “When we’re on our days off, we just like to chill.”

Niall and Liam, accompanied by a security guard, thought it’d be a good idea to chill by walking the streets of midtown Manhattan. Unfortunately for the guys, the hoards of screaming tweens outside the band’s hotel also thought it was a good idea. Still, the trip wasn’t completely lost.

“My aunt lives in New York, so we had a barbeque,” said Horan. “We meant to go watch ‘The Dictator,’ in the cinema but we fell asleep.”

One Direction will get to see its own film Thursday – the quintet will watch the “Up All Night DVD” and offer live commentary for their fans on Twitter. The band is currently in the midst of a sold-out tour in the States. As if you need more evidence of how popular these guys are, One Direction has already announced dates for a summer 2013 tour in America.

On Friday when I chatted with One Direction’s Niall Horan, he told me the boy band had no plans to do a television series.

“We obviously did an episode of ‘iCarly’ for Nickelodeon,” he noted – the group’s cameo will air April 7. “That’s the only thing we’re doing at the moment. We’re not very good at acting, so I don’t think we’ll ever do acting.”

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Horan did leave the door open, albeit slightly.

“The nearest thing we’d get to is a documentary,” he said, before reiterating, “There are no plans for a TV show at the moment.”

His comments came just two days after a Nickelodeon press release struck a different tone. The network announced that among its 2012 slate includes a development project for the UK pop band. The mention of One Direction came in the live action portion of the release – meaning whatever Nick has in store for 1D will not be animated.

Perhaps Horan misspoke, or spoke prematurely. Maybe he’s still learning the old American art of how musicians can answer a question without really answering it. Regardless, you could certainly understand why there might be just bit of confusion. The 18 year-old and his band mates are in the midst of an American whirlwind. The group’s U.S. television debut was last Monday, in front of 10,000 screaming fans at New York’s Rockefeller Center and millions more at home watching NBC’s “The Today Show.” One Direction’s album, Up All Night, debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. The band beat out the likes of Adele and Bruce Springsteen, and became the first UK group to debut in the States atop the charts. The feat certainly isn’t lost on Horan.

“I’ve been listening to Bruce Springsteen for as long as I can remember,” Horan said. “To think he’s in the same chart as me is just incredible.”

But while the success has been both plentiful and swift, there is a small down side for Horan. It seemed St. Patrick’s Day was just another reminder for Irishman that there is no place like home.

“It’s funny, you grow up and spend your whole life wanting to get away and leave home,” he explained. “And then when you finally get away, you realize how much you miss home, and you can’t wait to get back.”

The band plans on heading back home soon – but don’t worry Directioners – Horan revealed that the group will return to the States this summer. A formal announcement is expected this week.