The singer Louis Tomlinson achieved his international breakthrough with the band One Direction. He has now started a solo career. In the FOCUS online interview, Louis Tomlinson talks about his personal success story. And explains how to inspire an audience and overcome stage fright.

FOCUS online: How would you briefly summarize your career so far?

Louis Tomlinson: Challenging at times, but very rewarding at the same time.

You experienced your musical breakthrough with your former band One Direction. What were the craziest experiences in your One Direction time?

Tomlinson: The shows and tours. But also traveling the world at such a young age. It was incredible to have touring shows like this. But somehow the time with One Direction just flew by. It feels like we blink and then all of a sudden we’re playing at these massive venues. This entire experience was just like a hurricane!

Are there any mistakes you regret today?

Tomlinson: I know the cliché, but apart from some really questionable outfits I wore in One Direction’s first year, I can’t think of anything. I think everything I’ve done has brought me to where I am today. All of that was relevant to my trip. In that respect, I wouldn’t necessarily do anything differently.

What was the best piece of advice you received in your career?

Tomlinson: It was probably going with my gut. That’s something that I think continues to be very relevant. This is especially important when you are an artist standing on your own two feet for the first time.

How important is networking for artists in the music business?

Tomlinson: Too important! Unfortunately, I’m not that good at it myself. Yes, it is very important and plays a big role in the industry. Especially when starting a career. You have to sell yourself to the network and I’ve never been good at that.

Your new album “Faith In The Future” will be released in November 2022. What message do you want to convey with it?

Tomlinson: This album means everything to me because it’s the first time I’ve felt that every single song suits me as an artist and defines who I want to be musically. And I’m proud of that feeling. Of course, when writing the record, I had the tour in mind because I want to try to create exciting live moments. So I hope that people will hear the album and look forward to the upcoming shows.

I guess everyone has to perform in front of an audience at some point. What are your tips for inspiring rhetoric?

Tomlinson: I think it depends on what you’re doing: speaking in front of an audience, for example, it depends on what kind of person you are. I personally prefer to improvise. Others drive better if they prepare well.

A helpful tip?

Tomlinson: Regardless of what type you are, stop telling yourself you can’t! In all these situations that deviate from normal everyday life, for example in the case of a lecture in front of an audience, the brain always says immediately: “I’m not sure if I can do that.” Consequently, rhetoric is about ignoring that mental cinema and being brave enough to just do it!

What are your tips for dealing professionally with stage fright?

Tomlinson: The mental cinema applies even more here! Ignore the brain at times when it’s clearly working against you. What helps me personally: Before I go on stage, I take a few deep breaths. I’m just trying to collect myself because sometimes the heart can be racing before you go out there.

And another trick someone has told me over time is: visualize the show before you go out there. But make it positive! See yourself rocking the show! It crazily gives you that confidence before you go out.

How does healthy self-confidence develop?

Tomlinson: I think through consistency. I’ve been fortunate to have a consistent number of shows this year. So there really was no room for anything other than confidence.

What is your advice to people who tend to be shy?

Tomlinson: I would say in any situation where you feel shy, you should go back to a time when you felt that way before. But then you have to get out of your comfort zone! And if you think about those times more closely, you’ll find that it was never obvious because that movie was in your head.

What inspires you when writing songs?

Tomlinson: People. Definitely people. I draw from my own personal experience. Sometimes writing songs is just about observing the people around you in a creative way. This is how you win the best stories and interesting visual moments. But the live shows have also shaped my current album. I always had the desire to create great moments for my fans and myself.

Do you have a tip on how to unleash your creative potential?

Tomlinson: Just get started! I know this is really very general advice, but honestly I think it’s good. Everyone has the potential to be creative.

And again, our minds may be fooling us into thinking that if you’ve never been creative before, you really couldn’t. But we can definitely be creative! It’s just about making it!

I recently watched a video that said creativity is basically a muscle and needs to be exercised. Of course it’s not a real muscle, but I think you know what I mean.

Do you wish for a reunion of band One Direction?

Tomlinson: Yes, definitely! I don’t mean now because I’m doing my own tour first. But at a certain point in time, definitely yes!