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From One Direction to his own path: A journey through Harry Styles' solo career

Posted 22 Jul 2023

Harry Styles first stepped into the spotlight in 2010 when he auditioned with the song ‘Isn’t She Lovely’ by Stevie Wonder for the X Factor. He came to the show looking for solo stardom but was eliminated and later paired by Simon Cowell with fellow contestants Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, and Louis Tomlinson to become boy band One Direction. 

Whilst they didn’t win the X Factor (they came third), they became an overnight international sensation. Come November 2011 the boys released their debut album Up All Night which featured hits like One Thing and What Makes You Beautiful. After this they released four more studio albums - Take Me Home, Midnight Memories, Four, and Made in the A.M. 

Zayn Malik left the band in 2015 due to stress right in the middle of their tour, and a year later the boys decided to pursue solo careers. They initially said they were on a broke but at the start of 2016, One Direction announced their permanent split.

Solo music career

Come June 2016, Columbia Records (the label that had signed One Direction) signed Harry, who spent the next 11 months preparing his self-titled debut album. The album was a hit, globally. To celebrate he embarked on his world tour from September 2017 starting in San Francisco, touring across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America before finishing up in California in July 2018.

In December 2019 Harry dropped his second album Fine Line featuring hit songs Adore You, and Watermelon Sugar. The latter winning him his first Grammy for ‘Best Pop Solo Performance’.

In May 2022, Harry released his third album Harry’s House, which went on to win two Grammy Awards, Album of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album. The album has received great praise for its diversity of sound, covering genres from pop, pop-funk, pop rock, synth pop, and new wave. 

Harry said when writing the album that he was influenced by Joni Mitchell, Haruomi Hosono, and 1970’s Japanese City Pop. He also said he wanted the album to share the feeling of being ‘at home’, both physically and emotionally with songs talking about love, loss, self-discovery, and home. 

In September 2021, he embarked on his second solo world tour ‘Love on Tour’ which finished at the end of July 2023. The tour raised an incredible £5million for charities of various causes from reproductive rights, gun control, humanitarian aid, and voting rights.

Acting debut

Successful music career aside, Harry has also ventured into film and television. He made his acting debut in the 2017 movie Dunkirk directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie went on to be nominated for eight Oscars and won three awards. He received rave reviews from critics for his breakthrough role.

He later was the executive-producer on a sitcom called Happy Together. The series followed a young couple whose lives are turned into chaos overnight when a popstar moves into their home. It featured Damon Wayans Jr, Amber Stevens West, Felix Mallard, and Chris Parnell. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled after one season. 

Harry has since gone on to star in psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, and romantic novel adaption, My Policeman.

He guest-hosted ‘The Late Late Show’ with his good friend, James Corden, twice. When speaking about their friendship, James Corden said: “I just think that Styles is so special as a human.” Harry has also appeared on Saturday Night Live five times. 

A fashion icon

Harry Styles has been through quite the fashion evolution, and he earned ‘icon’ status in 2018 when fashion house Gucci announced he was going to be the face of its tailoring campaign. 

He admits fashion was something he never really paid attention to. And as hit pop stardom with One Direction, he swiftly swapped his Jack Willis tracksuits for the likes of Saint Laurent and Burberry. He has no problem wearing candy-floss pink suits, printed satin flares, a fistful of rings, and absolutely no issue with wearing stacked heels. 

What many admire Harry for, is his willingness to experiment and his curiosity around fashion in wanting to push the boundaries. Thus making him the fashion icon he is today.

Missed out and awaiting Harry to announce a third world tour? Keep an eye out for Harry Styles tour tickets with ZenSeats. 

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