Tonight Niall Horan will return to the place it all began for him, as he takes to the stage at a sell-out crowd at Croke Park.
As with all superstars, the back stage team will make sure his dressing room is stocked with all his favourite goodies – although, Niall seems to have simple tastes, preferring sausages to caviar, and tea to champagne.
At the same venue, a little over four years ago, a brash, over-confident 16-year-old Niall was being slammed by the X Factor judges, with Simon Cowell telling him: “You’re not as good as you think you are.”
His future was in the balance as the judges were not over-impressed with his rendition of Ne Yo’s So Sick. On deciding whether to allow him to stay in the competition, Horan received votes of Yes from Cowell and Louis Walsh, and a No from Cheryl Cole. His hopes and dreams rested in the hands of American pop queen Katy Perry who decided in his favour and sent him off to boot camp.
He’s not looked back since. It was decided that Horan was better suited to be part of a boyband rather than a solo artist, and he was teamed up with four other unknown hopefuls; Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne.
The result was the world’s most sought after boyband One Direction. The lads have sold millions of records in the past four years, and are now each worth an estimated €17m.
Tonight Horan returns to where it all began, and despite his fortune and fame, those closest to him say he has not changed. He is still the same charming, confident young man, who sees his friends and family whenever he can, and enjoys the comforts of home.
His rider for his dressing room tonight tells its own story about the Mullingar-born star. While he could have demanded expensive and extravagant items that are often associated with global music stars, Horan has requested classic Irish favourites, Clonakilty sausages, Haribo jellies and Barry’s Tea.
Good man Niall, your mammy did a good job.