‘I’d Like To Sit In The Pub With The Lads And Chat Sh*te Like Everyone Else’: STELLAR Meets Niall Horan

Yes, we got to interview our fave. No, we are not OK.

Niall Horan captured the hearts of the nation ten years ago when he took to the X Factor stage with a whole lot of highlights and a Mullingar accent. Since then, he’s basically only gone and taken over the world – without losing his beloved Irishness. We caught up with Niall ahead of the release of his second album, Heartbreak Weather, to chat about staying humble, paying off his parents’ mortgage, and nights out with Lewis Capaldi, of course.

What do you think you’d be doing if that X Factor audition didn’t work out?

“I probably would have done it again out of pure ignorance! I would have wrecked their heads until they let me in. But I don’t know, because I was at that 15-year-old stage where you don’t even know yourself fully. I knew that I wanted to be a singer, but I knew that it was also very hard to do. Was it going to be feasible at all? And I didn’t know if I didn’t have singing, what would I be doing.

I was having chats with the career guidance teachers but I wasn’t particularly academic. I was good at subjects but I wasn’t definitely going to be, you know, a lawyer! I would like to think that I had enough brains get myself into a college in Dublin. And then probably right now, I’d be getting a new job of some sort coming out of college. It’s crazy, isn’t it?!”

How do you keep your feet on the ground?

“People always say, ‘You never lose your accent’. You only lose your accent if you want to. You know, if you’re trying to pretend to be someone else and fit in another circumstance you lose your accent! Or people ask me ‘How are you always so down to earth?’ and all that. There’s an Irishness to it, you know? We’re a lot more down to earth.

You always hear people saying to me, ‘I love Ireland. Everyone’s so nice and so welcoming and hospitable and I love going there’. So maybe I’ve just brought that with me. When I was brought up we didn’t really have much money, we weren’t broke, but we didn’t have much money and neither of my parents were ever extravagant at all. I wouldn’t say I was tight, but I’m definitely not extravagant. I don’t really have luxuries like that. I’m not big into cars, I’m not like some property mogul!”

What was your biggest cash splash?

“Well, I bought myself a house, I remember thinking that’s a big deal. That’s a big thing for everyone! I sorted my mother’s mortgage out, that was the first thing I did, and then my own house was the big one. I rent it out, if you know anyone who wants to rent!”

What’s it like to be recognised everywhere?

“People still think I’m the fella with the blonde hair and I haven’t had blonde hair in about five years, so you’d be surprised, once you stick a hat on a keep your head down. But when I was home over Christmas I was like Kenny from South Park! I had the jacket on and a hood tight around my face, a hat on and still somehow [people still knew me], I think people know the way I walk or something.

It wasn’t too bad this year actually. People will understand I don’t get home too often, and I’d like to sit in the pub with the lads and talk shite like everyone else. Sometimes you have the odd moment though, like I’ve seen parents bringing six-year-old kids on Christmas Eve into the pub with pyjamas on. But after a while, it died down a little bit. After ten years, I would have thought it was gonna die down at some point. I can’t believe it’s even ten years!”

You’re in good shape, do you have a set routine?

“I try, but Christmas was bad! Then I got sick after Christmas with a cold or whatever so I was struggling to get back into it. But yeah, I always try and go to the gym. I’m especially trying to get in proper shape because it can go south pretty quick, apparently.

My father’s still cycling, last Saturday he did 20 miles and he’s 60 this year! So he’s always looked after himself and doesn’t look his age. And he always says that if there’s one piece of advice to give, it’s to look after that side of it, because you’ll you’d crippled pretty quick.

So I try to look after myself in that capacity, and then before the tour and completely give up the drink. And while I’m on tour, I’ll try and do that as well.”

Even with going on tour with Lewis? 

“Our last show is in San Jose, which is in Northern California. And I said [to Lewis], ‘We’ll make it back to LA that night if we can, or have a drink on the tour bus and then we’ll have a few days to go and have it’, but he knows as well now with all the gigs he’s done, like, you can’t.

You can’t be getting drunk and then be hungover the next day and think that you could get up on stage and do all that. I have to try and put on an hour and 45-minute show at the best of my ability every night. So you can’t, you just can’t. And I wouldn’t want to do it to people anyway, fuck that!”

Niall’s new album Heartbreak Weather is out on March 13

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