Niall Horan pulled the curtain back a bit on his upcoming solo debut album on Wednesday (Aug. 9) during the all-day Capitol Congress gathering at Hollywood’s Arclight Cinemas. The fourth edition of the conference — launched by Capitol Music Group chairman Steve Barnett to spotlight the company’s wins and future releases — featured talk of upcoming music from Beck and Sam Smith, but it was Horan’s tale of how he linked up with country singer Maren Morris that piqued some interest from the crowd, according to Variety.
The former One Direction member told attendees — which included Universal Music Group chairman Lucian Grainge as well as label bosses, business partners and international staffers — that he contacted the “My Church” singer by email to ask if she’d be willing to sing on his song “Seeing Blind.”
Morris “happily accepted” the invitation to sing on the acoustic-based track with an “infectious chorus accented by Morris’ vocals,” as Horan described it. Given the folky base of Horan’s debut single, “This Town,” the team-up seems like a smart match for the singer-songwriter vibe the 23 year-old former boy bander appears to be pursuing.
Speaking to Billboard earlier this year, Horan talked about his move to the Laurel Canyon neighborhood in Los Angeles — epicenter of the late 1960s folk-rock culture — and how he’s becoming friendly with Don Henley, drummer of one of his favorite bands, The Eagles. With a list of other favorites that includes Crosby, Stills & Nash; Fleetwood Mac; Jackson Browne, the singer has been honing his sound with a group of producers and songwriters such as Don Was, Tobias Jesso Jr., Greg Kurstin (1D, Sia), Jamie Scott (1D, Olly Murs), Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings of Leon) and Julian Bunetta (1D, Fifth Harmony).
Horan also called out a song called “Flicker,” a pretty, strings-laden early track about the last night in a failing relationship, as one of his favorites, as well as “On the Loose,” a newer recording that reinvents Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” for the tropical-pop set.