One Direction became international sensations (Picture: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Niall Horan sometimes felt ‘like a prisoner’ during the early days of One Direction.
The resulting line-up, called One Direction, came third on The X Factor behind Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson, but went on to become a global sensation.
Reflecting on the early hysteria surrounding 1D, Niall, 27, admitted that he struggled with the loss of his normal life.
Niall chatted to Dermot O’Leary on his Audible podcast People, Just People, and The X Factor host asked: ‘In the five years, did you ever feel like a prisoner?’
The Slow Hands singer said: ‘A couple of times, yeah. Because we were 17, 18, 19 for the first few years, and I struggled with it.
‘As you know, I have to be doing something all the time and the thoughts of just closing the curtain in the hotel room was just madness to me.
Niall said that the hysteria kicked in when they released their debut single (Picture: Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for iHeart)
‘I really struggled with the idea, “Why won’t you just let us out? We just want to go for a walk!” But you can’t get inside the brain of a fan.
‘Now I completely get it, but at the time we were like, “You’re our age, will you just let us out so we can walk down the street! You must understand!”’
Niall said that while there was a lot of attention on them during The X Factor, things really kicked off when the band released their debut single What Makes You Beautiful.
He said: ‘In the UK it was nuts. We’d go and do signings here and there and bits and pieces and that was crazy. That was the first kind of side of it, you know, banging on car windows.
‘Around the release of What Makes You Beautiful is when it really kicked off. We did a HMV run around the country, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, to do the signings and that was the first time I seen the madness.’
However, it was a four-day promo trip between Italy, Germany, France and Holland that Niall first witnessed the ‘hysteria’, saying: ‘I remember getting to Milan on the first day and I was like, this is a different level now.’
He also recalled a trip to South America when he and his bandmates couldn’t leave their hotel due to 10,000 fans waiting in the streets.
Meanwhile, Niall’s solo music gained a seal of approval from his former bandmate Zayn, who singled out the Irish star as his favourite in the group.
After being grilled about who was ‘number two’ in 1D after him, Zayn said: ‘I’ll tell you what, Niall is my favourite.
‘How about that? There you go. Niall makes the best music, there you go.’
Zayn was asked: ‘Even better than Zayn?’, with the Pillowtalk singer saying: ‘Yeah, I will say that he makes better music than me. Yeah, I’m a Niall fan.’
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