Harry Styles just adores his fans.
The superstar singer took the stage for an intimate performance at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City on Saturday night, as part of iHeartRadio‘s Secret Session with Harry Styles. The event, hosted by Tanya Rad, is set to broadcast on iHeartMedia’s CHR and Hot AC radio stations across the country and Hit Nation on Sunday, March 1. During his time on the stage, Styles performed a number of his songs off of his hit Fine Line album, from “Golden” to “Adore You” and “Watermelon Sugar,” as well as “Falling.” The 26-year-old singer also delighted fans with “Sign of the Times” and “Kiwi,” off of his debut solo album.
Before serenading the audience, Styles sat down for a Q&A with host Rad, during which he opened up about the “vulnerable” lyrics in Fine Line.
“I think what I like about it is really when I start making stuff, I don’t think about it coming out. I don’t think about album release date, first single, second single,” Styles explained. “I don’t really think about it. I start off writing it for me and for you [the audience]. I start off writing it for myself and I just find that I make more honest music that way.”
“I think there are a lot of parts of it that are vulnerable and emotional and I guess sad at times,” Styles said of the album lyrics. “But I think what I love about the album so much is that, I think even in the saddest moments there’s quite a lot of optimism and there’s like moments of joy and that stuff. I think the exciting thing with music is that, that doesn’t have to be a lyric or a line, that could be like a music thing, it could be a little sprinkle of joy in a song that is really sad.”
On Friday, Styles dropped the emotional music video for his song, “Falling.” And during his sit-down with Rad on Saturday night, the host noted that she had a personal connection to the song lyrics.
“I think the music obviously means so much to me. It’s kind of why I tend not to explain songs too much because I think it’s important for it to, I guess to allow it to mean whatever it means to different people,” Styles shared. “And I know there’s songs that I’ve loved in my life where I find out it’s about something else and I’m almost like, ‘Oh, I wish I didn’t know that, because it used to mean so much to me.'”
“And it’s amazing if people can relate to your music. I’m just a fan of music. I don’t think I operate on any kind of higher level of listening than anybody else,” Styles continued. “I just love music and I make what excites me and I think if somebody else can relate to it and take something from it, then that’s kind of the biggest compliment they can give me.”
When asked about his process of making an album, the One Direction star said it just starts off with him and his friends writing songs that they want to listen to and they want to dance around to.
“I think at the start of this album process I had like a little bit of expectation of what I thought people wanted me to do, and I kind of tried to tick certain boxes,” Styles shared. “And I’ve just found, I can obviously only speak from personal experience, and I’ve just found that every time I try and tick boxes, I make my least favorite music.”
“So, I think just kind of accepting that you have to make the kind of album that you want to make right now in the moment and not be like, ‘OK, let me make like a big commercial album and then in 10 years I can make the album I really wanna make.’ It’d never make me happy, I don’t think it’d make anyone who listens to it happy,” Styles went on to say. “And I just don’t think that’s who I really wanna be. That was like a big turning point, is just realizing just making what you wanna make.”
Styles also shared that he’s been putting an emphasis on doing things that make him happy, adding that it’s been a part of “getting a little bit older.”
“I’m very old now!” Styles joked with the crowd. “I think you just reevaluate things. And I think that happens at like several different points in your life. I don’t think it will be the last time that I reevaluate what’s important to me. But I think you have moments where you go…I think it happens to everyone in different times of your life where you think you want something, and you get it and you go, ‘Oh, that didn’t make me as happy as I thought it was going to make me.'”
Styles added, “And then, you kind of look for different things and I guess I just put a lot more emphasis on trying to find the balance and trying to do what makes me happy rather than trying to work out what I’m supposed to be doing. So that’s been great.”
You can tune into a 30-minute broadcast of Styles’ event on iHeartMedia’s CHR and Hot AC radio stations across the country and Hit Nation on Sunday, March 1 at 7 p.m. local time.