“I like to think of it as based on a true story,” smiles Niall Horan, glowing with excitement over his new song, “Nice To Meet Ya.” The tune is a confident tale of being in hot pursuit for elusive love, following the trail of infatuation. It also serves as the first proper introduction to a new era for Horan, the first official sample of his sophomore album.
In the exclusive interview above, Niall takes us inside the making and meaning of “Nice To Meet Ya,” and shares that while it’s “based on a true story,” he’s turned up the volume a bit to be more entertaining. “Because it’s a song and it’s going out to the public, I’ve made the story sound better than it actually is,” he laughs.
“It’s based basically on being on a night out, and locking eyes with someone,” he remembers. “I was with my group of friends and so was she, you get chatting, and as I say in the song, it felt like every time that I turned around she was just gone. So maybe she wasn’t showing that much interest. But then over the course of the evening, both going into different bars - you reconvene, you bump into each other. Basically that’s the depth of it.”
Just as his love interest pops back into his life, the song came along unexpected.
Working through material for Horan’s follow-up to 2017’s Flicker, the session was coming up empty until Niall found the spark from a riff.
“It was quite a crazy writing session,” Niall explains during his talk with RADIO.COM. “Nothing was really happening for a long time, and I just picked up an electric guitar and started messing around and started playing that riff in the middle of the song. From there it just kind of kicked off. A lot of shouting and screaming. A lot of gang vocals, trying all of our best melodies, throwing them aside and then coming back and making a bit of a jigsaw. It was a really fun song to write and hopefully when you listen to you understand why.”
By design, “Nice To Meet Ya” is a bit of a departure from Horan’s debut solo LP. Niall says he hopes to have his second album out by February or March of 2020, and he's “ready to go” after working on it for a year. This time around though, you’ll notice a different style and swagger to his songs, having had some time to feel the audience’s response and grow into his own sound.
“Yes it’s gonna be quite different,” Niall says of the album, currently going through mixing. “The first album, as I’ve been saying a lot recently, it represented exactly how I felt at the time. I wanted to sit down, pick up an acoustic guitar and write ballads. It matched how I was feeling emotionally, how I wanted to announce myself onto the music industry as a solo artist.”
“Having toured for a year, I get to look out at my fans every night of the week, and get a real feel for what makes them sad, what makes them happy, what makes them jump around, what makes them want to rip the rood off the arena.”
That experience with the fans helped mold a refined feeling within Horan, now ready to inject some tempo and rock into his new effort. He’s ready to make things a bit more fun and, “just write good, solid pop songs and dress them up however afterwards.”
The result is less ballads, but more balance for Niall at shows going forward. “When I combine two albums now for my next live tour, I’ve got a good mixture,” he says. “It’s definitely a good transition into the next chapter for me musically. I haven’t gone too crazy but I’ve definitely stepped it up a little bit I think.”
“Now it’s fingers crossed and hope that the millions like it instead of just me.”
“Nice To Meet Ya” is now available everywhere.