One Direction’s Niall Horan has released his first solo single.
The song, “This Town,” debuted Thursday on Kiss FM. Horan also tweeted out a link to the video for the acoustic song, which premiered on Vevo. “Been workin in the studio, wanted to share this song I just wrote with u guys,” he wrote. “Thank you for always being there.”
In the black-and-white video, the Irish singer-songwriter croons about a girl he can’t get over as he stands in front of a microphone while strumming a guitar. “If the whole world was watching I’d still dance with you,” he sings. “Them butterflies they come alive when I’m next to you, over and over the only truth, everything comes back to you.”
In a statement, Horan expressed his enthusiasm for this new stage in his career. “I’m excited to announce I have signed a record deal with Capitol Records USA and released my first solo song,” he said. “Thank you to all the One Direction fans for your love and support as always. I’m looking forward to the next part of this journey together.”
After playing the song on his radio show, Ryan Seacrest spoke with Horan on the phone about his new music. He told the radio host that “This Town” has “a double meaning, and people from small towns will understand — that one individual you end up seeing when you’re going home or whatever.”
He also shared that he’d always loved writing and started doing sessions at the start of the year, inspired by the music of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel. The singer said that although his upcoming album isn’t finished yet, the sound of the record is similar to the first single and “more upbeat but that kind of vibe — the acoustic guitar, that kind of feel to it, nice strings.”
The 23-year-old follows in the footsteps of One Direction (who are currently on hiatus) bandmates Harry Styles and Liam Payne, who have recently signed solo contracts with Columbia and Capitol Records, respectively, as well as former One Direction member Zayn Malik, whose solo album Mind of Mine came out in March 2016.
“I always gave it 100 percent,” he told Seacrest of his time in the band, “but I always knew what kind of music I like and what I grew up on, so I knew where I was going sound-wise.”
But don’t worry, 1D fans: Despite all the solo music, a reunion isn’t necessarily out of the question. “Everyone’s kind of doing their own things,” he explained. “I still talk to them all the time, but I definitely wouldn’t rule it out.”
Greg Kurstin produced the track, which Horan wrote with Jamie Scott, Mike Needle, and Daniel Bryer. Hear it below.
Reporting by Lanford Beard