Niall Horan Chats To KISS About Irish Pride & What Life Would Be Like Without X Factor

"I was that like that 15-year-old stage where you don't even know yourself fully."

Niall Horan always seems like the type of guy you’d be best pals with, sure he’s super talented, super cute and massively famous, but he’s also just a regular, friendly, Irish lad. This point was proven when I went to shake his hand, and he went ‘nah, c’mere, c’mere, c’mere’ and went for a big hug instead. Like I said – best pals within seconds!

While he’s quietly confident, he’s in no way cocky and seems almost a little nervous when it comes to talking about himself. KISS caught up with him for a chat about his upcoming album Heartbreak Weather, and his new single No Judgement.

The Mullingar man also chatted about his Irish pride, being recognised, and what he think’s he’d be doing now if he wasn’t singing…

If he didn’t get through his X Factor audition

“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 like, 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. Like 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! And so I didn’t really know. 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. So I really don’t know. It’s crazy, isn’t it?!”

On Being Super Chill

“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. I always say it though, there is an Irishness to it, you know? We’re a lot more down to earth. You always hear people like Americans 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, so I wouldn’t say I was tight, but I’m definitely not extravagant like I don’t really have luxuries like that. I’m not big into cars, I’m not like some property mogul!”

On His 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!”

Niall with KISS editor Megan Roantree
On Irish Pride

“As you probably recognise, I’m the biggest flagbearer of all time, like I’m the fella standing with the pole at the front of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade! When you’re young, you can’t wait to get out of this place. This is a hole in the ground – that’s what you’re thinking. When you’re 15 you don’t know what you want to do with your life and you’re in the small town… The minute that changes and you do what I’ve done over the last 10 years, the more Irish you become, I found my accent actually getting stronger! Like, everywhere I go, I’m the Irish fella. If I’m on a late night talk show in America. or presenting a morning TV show in Australia I’m the Irish fella, which is great for me. And I love it.”

On Being Recognised

“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 said somehow [people still knew me], I think people know the way I walk or something! It wasn’t too bad this year actually. It was grand. People will understand I don’t get home too often. And I would like to sit in the pub with the lads and talk sh*te 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 10 years, I would have thought it was gonna die down at some point. I can’t believe it’s even 10 years!”

On Maintaining Friendship

“My best friend lives with me in LA – we’re there for completely different reasons, he moved to LA to work for his dad’s company and basically just to get out of Ireland and we just ended up living together. And I’ve known him since I was four years of age we do completely different jobs. We have nothing in common in terms of that, but we’ve known each other forever. Like all the lads live in Dublin now after college I’m meeting them this evening after work, it just never felt any different.”

On Concerts Plans

“[In the near future] It would be unreal to do Malahide Castle or something outdoorsy like the Aviva, I think Croke Park might be way too out of reach, but I would like to do something massive at some point maybe a one off, but won’t be this year. It’s tough though, I tell you what! To sell out places these days is rough, there is a lot of bands and acts touring the same time as us. It’s not easy, people can only afford to go to one or two gigs a year and you’re asking them to spend their well-earned money to come and watch it.

“Toward the end of the year I’ll definitely be playing gigs. It’ll be Arenas. And I love the idea now that I’ve got two albums, of sticking them both together. I’ve already designed the stage, like I’m months ahead of where I should actually be. I’ve designed every bit it. I told them I want actually me down as ‘set designer’ in the programme! Because I’ve been to enough gigs to know what it should look like and what I want it to look like. So I’m big into it. I can’t wait.”

Niall’s new album Heartbreak Weather is out on March 13th and is currently available for pre-order.