It isn’t often that a child star will transition into a successful solo career with appearances in film, but Harry Styles has managed to do that all by the age of 28. Styles hasn’t always been a huge, mega-rich celebrity, he came from humble but creative beginnings in his native town of Homes Chapel, Chesire England that nourished his love of the arts. Throughout his short career, he has been nominated for three Brit Awards and received an ARIA Music Award.
Harry Styles was born on February 1, 1994, in Redditch Worcestershire to Anne Cox and Desmond Styles. When Styles was a young child, his family relocated to Holmes Chapel, Chesire where he and his sister Gemma attended Chapel Comprehensive School. It was there that Styles began to focus a lot of attention on music and became part of the band White Eskimo. While in White Eskimo, he and his band members won a local Battle of the Bands competition. Styles and his sister experienced tragedy at a young age. His mother and father got a divorce and split up the family ruining that close-knit dynamic. Then, his mother remarried a man named Robin Twist. Her marriage to Twist was a stable one and it gained Styles two-siblings. However, in 2017 Twist died from cancer leaving behind his large, blended family. Although both things were difficult on Styles, he does admit that he had a wonderful childhood. When he was a child, he was given a karaoke machine by his grandfather and the first song he recorded on it was Elvis Presley’s “The Girl of My Best Friend.” Before he became the mega singer that he is now, he worked at a bakery in Holmes, Chapel.
X-Factor and formation of One Direction
Since Styles showed such an interest in singing, his mother encouraged him to try out for the British competition show called “X-Factor” and skyrocketed to immediate fame. Styles initially auditioned and wanted to perform as a solo act, however, the showrunners had other ideas. He sang “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder but didn’t pass to the next round. Luckily, the universe worked out in his favor because other young men his age also didn’t progress as solo acts. The judges thought these guys would be better suited to work together. The four other members of this band were Nial Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik and would form what would be known as the explosive boyband, One Direction. Harry Styles was the one that came up with the group’s name. The boys got together for two weeks of practice and performed for the show with much success. The group finished up third in the competition in 2010 but were signed to Simon Cowell’s label later that year. Styles reportedly landing himself in British gossip rags while on the show because he dated the host Caroline Flack. The group’s 14 year age difference. Flack said of the romance, “I’ve never felt I was much older than Harry,” Flack told The Sun, “I still feel 18 and I probably act that way half the time. Although it was just a bit of fun we decided it was best to keep it to ourselves as we were both working for Simon Cowell.” Even though their age difference wasn’t a problem at the time, Flack said that it only got worse when their romance was reported on in the press. Caroline Flack tragically died by suicide on February 20, 2020. Styles paid tribute to the late host on Twitter.
One Direction’s Success
One Direction’s first commercial single was “What Makes You Beautiful” and the song hit number one on the UK Singles Charts in September of 2011. The song was so huge, that the band’s first EP was highly anticipated. That EP was called “Up All Night” and skyrocketed the group to superstardom. The album featured a variety of really successful writers and it also showcased that Styles himself is also a great songwriter. Three songs on the album were written by Styles and his bandmates. November 2012 was a busy time for the band. They released their second album, “Take Me Home” that had another number one single called “Little Things.” Styles became a bonified icon in 2012 landing himself in the tabloid due to him briefly dating fellow singer/songwriter mega-hit writer, Taylor Swift. Swift allegedly wrote a song that coyly described aspects of their short-lived romance. Some even speculated that Styles and Swift even got together to possibly write some music together. During this hectic period, the singer lived with his producer Ben Winston in his attic while he was searching for the perfect place to call home. Like previous mega groups in the past, like Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, and NSYNC, One Direction was a similar marketing machine. Every year, it seemed like the band released something new for their adoring fans to enjoy. 2013 was no exception with the band’s live release, One: Direction: This Is Us. The film was a live documentary about the group and their rise to stardom. It was directed by Morgan Spurlock and had mixed reviews. On the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, the concert film has a 63% rating.Later in 2013, the band released their third studio album “Midnight Memories.” This album had two hit songs “Story of My Life” and “Best Song Ever” that landed in the charts pretty instantaneously. Styles happened to write “Best Song Ever” by himself which was the beginning of him standing out as a solo artist. Midnight Memories was labeled as the best selling album of 2014 which spawned the highest-grossing tour to date. Styles also co-wrote a song entitled “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” for Ariana Grande’s album “My Everything” which was released in the later summer of 2014. The group released their fourth studio album, Four in November of 2014 which was Zayn Malik’s last album with the group. Malik left in early 2015 to the disappointment of many of the groups adoring fans. Shortly after, Malik began his solo career and dated supermodel Gigi Hadid for a while. The transition worked out in Malik’s benefit because he has had a successful solo career and even has been featured in songs with high-profile singers like Styles’ ex-girlfriend, Taylor Swift for the Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. The group became the first group in Billboard Magazine’s 58-year history to land at number one after each release.
Zayn Malik Leaves One Direction
One Direction released their final album “Made in the A.M.” without Malik with the announcement that the group was going to take an indefinite hiatus. To fans, this news was like a death considering they watched their favorite group grow up from being floppy-haired teens to polished young men. Styles even suggested in interviews that he felt like he was exhausting his fanbase with the oversaturation of the group in the media over the years and wanted to focus on solo work.
One Direction on Indefinite Haitus and Styles Starts Solo Career
Harry Styles launched his record label Erskine Records, in May of 2016 after leaving One Direction’s management company Modest Management and finding his representation with Jeffery Azoff’s Stop Management. That same month, Styles signed with Columbia Records and began work recording. He wrote “Someday” with Meghan Trainor for Michael Buble’s album that was released in October of that year entitled “Nobody but me.” In the fall of 2016, Styles began work on his first, commercial, studio album.
Signs of the Times
The first commercial single off that album entitled “Sign of the Times” was released to critical acclaim in March of 2017. Business Insider said the song “sounds like the orchestral-arrangements-and-guitar-thrashing bombast of Queen.” Styles also saw comparisons to the late British pop powerhouse George Michael. The singer saw success much like he did in his time with One Direction, with the immediate hit landing at number one on the Billboard charts yet again and was called a glam rock power ballad. In April of 2017, Styles was a guest on Saturday Night Live and performed solo on the Grahm Norton Show solidifying his place in superstardom. In May of 2017, he released his self-titled solo album which debuted number one in many different countries. Styles claimed his record was influenced by many different periods of music. Those include the 1970’s soft rock, glam rock, and psychedelia. His other two singles “Two Ghosts” and “Kiwi” were also released to immediate critical acclaim. Many different critics compared the songs to classic rock musicians of the past. Later that year, his first solo movie was released via Apple Music and was entitled “Harry Styles: Behind the Album” which discussed his process of recording his first, solo album.
First Solo Tour
His first solo tour, “Harry Styles: Live On Your” ran from September 2017 through July 2018 which went through North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The tour setlist included a vast array of music from his career in addition to covers from his biggest influences. One of those covers was Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” and a bunch of unreleased material. Later that year, Styles tested his acting chomps staring in the movie “Dunkirk” by Christopher Nolan. In the movie, Styles played a British soldier named Alex who was part of the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II. Styles tried out for the part and reportedly beat out thousands of hopefuls for the part. The singer was praised for his performance in the film and was one of its stand-out stars. Later that year, Styles made many public appearances on late-night television appearing on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Harry Styles didn’t lose any traction after his first album and movie roll. Instead, he went back into the studio and began work on his second album that was released in December 2019 which was entitled “Fine Line.” The first commercial single from that album was “Lights Up” which debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Charts and the second single “Adore You” peaked at number seven. Fine Line debuted at number 3 on the Billboard charts which subsequently broke records in being the artist that broke the most sales coming out of England. His idol, Stevie Nicks even praised his album saying his work even inspired her to start work on brand new music. There was a concert tour scheduled to support Fine Line but unfortunately, it was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic that wreaked havoc on the world in 2020l Although the coronavirus pandemic did slow musicians down in 2020 due to their inability to tour or promote their work, Styles decided to remain active and relevant. He performed an NPR Tiny Desk Concert in March impressing fans and critics. He also dabbled in voice recording for the relaxation app “Calm” and helped people get to sleep with his soothing voice. Don’t count styles out when it comes to acting work. He is reportedly going to star in the thriller film, “Don’t Worry, Darling” which is directed by fellow actor Olivia Wilde.