In an exclusive interview ABS-CBN News’ Marie Lozano, the One Direction member talked about how a visit to Boracay made him love the Philippines more; the time a fan threw a burger onstage when they performed in Manila; and his inspiration for his solo album.
You were in the Philippines last March. How was that experience for you and why did you decide to go incognito?
“We had a couple of friends that had done it before — who had been to places like Boracay. And we were going to El Nido and to different places but time didn’t work out or something. But we spent a week in Boracay and it was Chinese New Year so it was pretty nuts down there. We just had a good time.”
What was your fondest memory of the Philippines?
“I guess the concerts that we did when we were there in Manila. They were amazing. I remember a big square outside and we had a dresser, like a tented village at the back and I think there — I think there’s a McDonald’s outside and someone threw a burger onstage –yeah, someone threw a hamburger onstage at one time.
“Yeah, it was very nice. The people are so — that’s one of the things I notice of all the places I went on my little trip last year — the Filipinos were all so welcoming. Kind of reminded me of the Irish, very happy and kind of welcoming. I think that’s kind of a world-renowned thing.”
How has life been after One Direction? How was it finding your own voice, your identity?
“Actually, to be honest, I didn’t really realize I was gonna do anything. And then I started writing. At that time I wasn’t really writing for anything. I just wanted to write songs like I normally would and so I just went in the studio with my friends and I wrote what came naturally to me.
“And then after about two or three songs I thought, you know what, we might have something here to maybe do something because I’m kind of getting bored now (laughs) sitting around.”
“So I was just there. I just sat there naturally writing what I’d normally write and not try to write a particular song or whatever. And these are the kinds of songs that came out of it. So it wasn’t really that — some people struggle on what they really want to do but I just want to keep it as organic and natural as possible and make it all about, you know, what comes out in my head really.”
Is there a conscious effort to try and sound different on how One Direction was?
“Not really, no. When we were One Direction, we all had our individual taste and you could hear that in each of the album. In each of the songs so it wasn’t really that difficult and it wasn’t that much of a conscious effort at all. I just kind of wrote songs on the basis of what I grew up on and what I know about music really.”
Is there a friendly competition between you guys since you’re all coming out with respective singles right now?
“No. I think if we were releasing a similar type of music. And we’re not. I think there’ll be a — probably a little bit of like, um, friendly banter between us and talking crap to each other over emails and stuff but there’s none of that because we’re releasing different stuff so it’s good.”
So where do you get inspiration for this particular album?
“I don’t know. Well, I obviously have stories I wanted to tell and from my own head. I didn’t want to overthink too much and I just wanted it — whatever came to my head I wrote it down. The same with the music stuff. Whatever guitar riff I had I just record it in my phone. Don’t wanna overthink about it and come back to it later.”
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