Archives For One Direction

Woke up early (or perhaps, stayed up late?) to join my friends at the PIX11 Morning News and talk about this year’s GRAMMY Nominations. Of course we covered some local artists who received nods, the major categories and who might have been snubbed. A big thanks to Dan, Oji, Betty and Marcia for having me!

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.


Louis Tomlinson is the latest One Direction bandmate to release music during the 1D-hiatus, but the single has resonated on a different level with the ever-passionate One Direction fandom.

The 24 year-old teamed up with DJ/producer Steve Aoki for the song, “Just Hold On.” Tomlinson offered an emotional performance of the track on “The X-Factor” in the UK following the death of his mother Johannah Deakin, who passed after a battle with Leukemia on December 7. The appearance was booked prior to her passing.

Photo: instagram.com/louist91/

Photo: instagram.com/louist91/

Now, similar to what “Directioners” attempted with the songs “No Control” and “Home,” fans are mobilizing online and lobbying radio stations to spin the single. The difference is that in addition to raising chart positions, the group is hoping to raise awareness for a handful of charities near to both Tomlinson and Aoki’s hearts.

“It just seems like a tribute,” said Lexi Preddie, one of the fans in the U.S. behind the movement. She is managing the Twitter account “@ProjectJHoldOn” which is keeping others informed on the latest news and figures regarding the track. “The things that (Tomlinson) sings in the song, it sounds like things (his mom) had said to the fans.

“She almost felt like a mother-figure to us, because she just was always spreading positivity.”

Now the fandom is spreading the word on the song, hoping in the process to shine a light on Eden Dora Trust, Believe In Magic, Leukemia Awareness/Bloodwise and The Aoki Foundation.

On Tuesday, Johannah’s husband Dan took to her Twitter account to send one final message to the fans.

“She wanted to thank you all, and to let you know that you have been amazing right from the start,” he relayed. “You changed Louis’ life, but also her life. Your support now is as strong if not stronger than ever.”

Fuse Media Deputy Editor Jason Lipshutz called in to the show to discuss the debut album from Zayn, Mind Of Mine. Lipshutz, who received an advanced copy of the LP, says it’s a departure from the music Malik was associated with as a part of One Direction but thinks Directioners will certainly gravitate to it. He predicts the album will debut at number one.
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A couple of superstar comebacks, an uncoordinated dancing shark and a boy band shake-up were just a few of the highlights provided to us in 2015 courtesy of pop music.
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– America loves a good comeback story, and we received two big ones in 2015: the songstress reclaiming her throne (Adele) and the bad-boy seemingly turning good (Justin Bieber). Both artists rewrote the record books in their respective returns to the spotlight.

For Adele, here’s the final figure as of press time: Over 7 million copies of “25” sold in the U.S. The album tallied its second-highest week of sales in the days leading up to Christmas, moving 1.16 million units as reported by Billboard. And there’s still a week of reporting left before the new year. As for “Hello,” that holds down the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a ninth consecutive week.

With a sold-out tour on the slate for 2016, it doesn’t appear as if Adele is leaving the spotlight anytime soon. Judging by the way she has been received, most people don’t have a problem with this.
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As for Bieber, when he released “Purpose,” he broke a 36 year-old record held by The Beatles, charting 17 songs simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100. Bieber’s LP went to number one in 108 countries and was his sixth to top the Billboard 200 in the U.S. The album was certified platinum just three weeks after its release.

And like Adele, he has a sold-out trek that spans over 50 shows next year in North America alone.

– The week that Bieber dropped “Purpose,” One Direction released “Made In The A.M.,” the group’s final LP before a well-deserved break. The four remaining members of 1D have told fans of the group that they definitely plan to reunite at some point, despite rumors to the contrary.
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Those reports came to a head in March of this year when Zayn Malik announced he was leaving the group, eventually to launch a solo career and land a deal with RCA Records. The quartet continued on with appearances at the Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards, the latter where they took home “Artist Of The Year.” Niall, Harry, Louis and Liam also went forward with the band’s “On the Road Again Tour,” performing in stadiums throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Don’t say goodbye to 1D just yet though: the band will perform at the Billboard Hollywood party for “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” this Thursday night on ABC.

– A big congratulations to Katy Perry, who Forbes named as the top earning musician in 2015, raking in over $130 million. Forbes tracked revenue from June 2014 through June of this year, with Perry’s worldwide sold-out tour falling within that timeline. Perry performed last year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show to rave reviews, although afterwards it seemed most people want to chat either about the return of Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott or the shark to the left of Katy Perry during her “California Girls” performance that probably skipped a rehearsal or three.

Some news and notes from the red carpet and press room at the 2015 American Music Awards. The show was held at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles; I watched the show from Cumulus Media’s one-on-one room, which is contained in the L.A. Live Event Deck, right next to the venue and across from Staples Center downtown.

– I saw Shawn Mendes for the first time since my Justin Bieber interview. Quick refresher: Bieber told me he didn’t know who Mendes was; both are from the same area of Canada and apparently have mutual friends. By the end of the week, Bieber not only knew who Mendes was but was praising his music.
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“No! I’m trying to find him,” Mendes responded when I asked if he finally met his fellow Canadian-born artist. “Where is he at? I’m going to go find them.”

Twitter didn’t break so I’m assuming they haven’t met. Besides he was asking the wrong person; from my vantage point I never saw Bieber at arrivals.

– A frequent question with the press seemed to be, “Is Taylor Swift here?” She wasn’t, despite leading all artists with six nominations. Swift took home three pieces of hardware, including Favorite Album and Favorite Song. As for her whereabouts, multiple sources confirmed that Swift was in New Zealand filming a music video. Her world tour continues this weekend in Australia.

– Usually you know when One Direction steps on to the red carpet because mass hysteria ensues. Girls sob. Kids scream. Security guards scurry. But this year, in perhaps the last American red carpet One Direction will walk as a group for quite some time, the guys began making the media rounds with minimal fan fare.

While the story has a different beginning, the ending is all-too-familiar. As soon as Liam, Louie, Harry and Niall stepped off of our platform and turned to head inside for the show, all you-know-what broke loose. The screams were the loudest I heard all day; the fans worked up such a frenzy that the tall fence separating them from the red carpet looked as if they might actually fall.

One Direction performed “Perfect” on the AMAs and won two awards, including the night’s biggest prize, Artist of the Year.

– Luke Bryan didn’t have time to stop with a bunch of media outlets, but he made time for almost every person in the designated “fan zone” on the red carpet who wanted a selfie. He even did the photo snapping! Bryan performed on the telecast and picked up Favorite Male Artist, Country.

– The reviews seemed to be generally positive for host Jennifer Lopez, who looked stunning in the press room. The broadcast averaged 11 million viewers and turned in ABC’s highest-rated Sunday night this fall.

Look Book – Tuxedo: H&M, Shirt: Kenneth Cole, Tie/Boots: John Varvatos, Accessories: The Tie Bar/Ray Ban

Look Book – Tuxedo: H&M, Shirt: Kenneth Cole, Tie/Boots: John Varvatos, Accessories: The Tie Bar/Ray Ban

Ketih Caulfield, Co-Director of Charts at Billboard, called the show to talk about the highly anticipated albums from One Direction and Justin Bieber. Caulfield told us who, according to industry forecasters, would end up with the number one album in the country for the week.
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Jason Lipshutz, Deputy Editor of Digital at Fuse Media, called in to offer his insight about the head-to-head battle between Justin Bieber and One Direction for the top spot on the Billboard 200. Bieber released Purpose and 1D Made In The A.M. on Friday the 13th of November.
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