On Saturday night, Styles, 26, stopped by New York City’s Bowery Ballroom to participate in a Q&A and perform for fans as part of an iHeartRadio Secret Session.
Speaking with radio host Tanya Rad from On Air with Ryan Seacrest, Styles discussed an array of topics, including his success and what redefining it means to him.
“I think at the start of this album process I had a little bit of expectations of what I thought people wanted me to do and I kind of tried to tick certain boxes,” he shared. “Every time I try to tick boxes, I make my least favorite music.”
He added, “You have to make the kind of album you want to make right now in the moment and not be like ‘okay, let me make a big commercial album and in 10 years I can make the album I really wanna make.’ It never made me happy, I don’t think it would make anyone that listens to it happy.”
Styles, whose second solo studio album Fine Line went platinum in February, also discussed balancing his music and his happiness.
“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.”
The “Adore You” crooner also spoke to Rad about where he was emotionally and mentally when he made his second album.
“When I start making stuff I don’t think about it coming out, I don’t think about album release day, the first single,” he shared. “I start off with writing it for me, and for you [the fans] but it’s kind of like I start writing it for myself. I just found that I make more honest music that way.”
“There are a lot of parts of it that are vulnerable and emotional and I guess sad, 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 moments of joy and that stuff.”
He added, “I think the exciting thing with music is that that doesn’t have to be a lyric or a line, that can be like a music thing, can be like a little sprinkle of joy in a song but it’s really sad.”
The “Lights Up” singer, who is no stranger to selling out large venues like Madison Square Garden or The Forum in Los Angeles, then performed six of his tunes for the small crowd at the intimate venue.
Styles opened up his set with the Fine Line opening track “Golden” before he sang two other Fine Line hits, “Adore You” and “Watermelon Sugar.”
Styles then introduced his next song, one that he referred to as an “oldie,” which turned out to be his debut solo single, “Sign of the Times.”
Closing out his set he played his latest single, “Falling,” before he added one last song to the setlist last-minute and played fan-favorite “Kiwi” from his self-titled album.
Styles’ stop at the famed NYC venue was just one of the few he participated in over the week and it gave fans an exclusive look at what to expect when the pop rocker goes on tour later this year.
Set to kick off his Love On Tour in April 2020, Styles will stop at several locations in the U.K., before extending across Europe and into Russia. From there he will stop for his U.S. and Canada locations before he finishes up the tour in Mexico in early October.
Styles also recently announced two extra shows at NYC’s famed Madison Square Garden at the end of October on Halloween weekend that he has collectively renamed “Harryween.”
Tickets to see “Love on Tour” can be purchased here.