Syco/Arista RecordsIt’s been a big week for Louis Tomlinson. He finally announced the release date for his debut solo album, Walls, making him the last of his One Direction band mates to release a full-length project. He also released a brand-new single, “We Made It,” and announced dates for his first-ever solo world tour.

Louis tells Billboard the lyrics to the chorus of “We Made It” represent the sense of achievement he now feels thanks to his fans, who have stuck patiently by his side as he worked to set himself apart as a solo artist.

“There’s lyrics in there that relate to me personally — I’ve spoken about times in the past, especially in those first 18 months of One Direction, I struggled to find my place,” Louis says. “It’s kind of just reflecting on those times. Also, like many songs, rooting for the underdog. Trying to capture all of that.”

Now, he’s finally making the music that feels authentic to him. Instead of playing to radio trends, Louis’ sound is heavily influenced by his favorite ’90s bands, like Oasis and Green Day.

Since One Direction went on hiatus in 2015, Louis says it’s been a “massive learning process.”

“The experience that I had in One Direction was absolutely f****** incredible,” he says. “But it’s a very different kind of experience. For the music industry, that’s not a real-life example.”

He explains, “There were conversations before that I never had to get involved with before when I was in the band — I’ve had to think on my feet and learn on the job. It’s all part of making you a better person, better artist, better businessman, all that.”

Walls drops January 31. The North American leg of Louis’ world tour kicks off June 9.

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