The 26-year-old singer/songwriter revealed that Rice's debut studio album 'O', released in 2002, has been hugely influential to his career and affected how he wrote and recorded many of his solo songs, including 'Flicker' and 'Paper Houses' on his 2017 debut solo record.
Writing in www.independent.co.uk, Niall explained: ''Just listening to his voice, how simple but effectively he uses it, the wrenching way he delivers a certain note, struck me. Songs of mine like 'Flicker' and 'Paper Houses'... Rice's approach is beaten into my subconscious, particularly that style of finger-picking on the acoustic guitar. He also changed the way I actually record albums - I try not to be quite so obsessive about everything going in exactly the right place. Ed Sheeran does the same - if you listen to his first album, '+', it's so influenced by Rice. If you hear a vocal crack on the song it's because he left it in on purpose.''
'Black and White' singer Niall also revealed that he still returns to the album almost 20 years later and listens to it when he wants to relax.
He said: ''I went through a phase a few years ago where I didn't listen to it much, but now I've got back into it. I always play it on planes when I'm struggling to relax. The way each song unfolds, those lush melodies, and how he'll go from this really low murmur into a cry that rips your heart into pieces. Coming from Ireland, obviously I was raised on that singer-songwriter tradition, but Rice is the one who's always stood out for me. Him and the Eagles - those are my two biggest influences.''
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