Harry Styles Takes His Own Direction


On Oct. 8, Harry Styles performed in front of thousands of fans in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo credit: Nicole Lago

Harry Styles, who emerged from the quaint village of Holmes Chapel, England, now  carries one of the most recognizable names in the music industry. His fame grew as he appeared in the seventh series of “The X Factor (UK)” and was placed in a group with four other boys in 2010, which later turned into One Direction. Their first pop single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” was what put One Direction on the map, making them international sensations that reached unprecedented standards of fame with millions of album sales and hundreds of sold out concerts.

“I remember Googling them in about 2011 when I heard Zayn’s name in the hallway and I instantly fell in love,” says senior Tatiana Vera.

Styles carried the band as the lead singer with his strong vocals and unruly curly hair breaking millions of hearts around the world. Later, the band slowly transitioned into pop rock in further albums as the members of One Direction got more involved in the process by writing and producing their some of their songs themselves. After four successful world tours and six years of being together, One Direction went on an indefinite hiatus; thus, creating Styles’ solo career.

“I still think they [One Direction] will come back and hit us with something new. Nevertheless, I like Harry’s solo career because he ventured in off into his own style and he changed it up a bit,” said sophomore Kaitlyn McLaughlin.

Styles’ first move as a soloist was landing a role in “Dunkirk,” a summer blockbuster directed by Christopher Nolan. The World War II based movie grossed over $500 million in the box office and had generally positive reviews from critics, according to Forbes.

“The truth is, Harry auditioned for our casting director, he sent the tape along. The casting director rightly pointed out how good it was. We threw him into the mix with many, many other young men and he earned his seat at the table over a series of very hard-fought auditions,” Nolan praised through an interview for Business Insider.

While filming the movie, Styles was simultaneously writing and recording his new self-titled album which was released on May 12. This launched an opportunity to show his musical ability and talent alone, as he did not have the group to lean on anymore. He is able to show his support and his stance on global controversies, and take his own direction with his music.

“I think Harry Styles’ solo career is going amazing, his music is just so great, and he can actually be himself now. Harry’s style is so fashionable, I love his rings and the clothes he wears… they’re so unique and just perfect on him,” junior Valeria Saco stated.

Harry Styles’ debut album did exceptionally well as it topped the Billboard Charts, topping the Billboard 200, selling 230,000 copies his first week. This broke  the record that was previously held by Sam Smith at 166,000 copies. His debut album turned him towards a 1970s rock direction with the prominent use of electric guitars and drums in songs like “Kiwi,” “Only Angel,” and his hit single “Sign of the Times.” However, he does show a more emotional, acoustic side with soft ballads like “At the Dining Table” and “Sweet Creature.”

“I think ‘Sign of the Times’ is my favorite song off the album. It allows us to see another side of him that we didn’t really get to know while he was in One Direction. This song shows his transition from being a member of a boy band to a solo artist, and I love that,” says senior Annabella Monserrate.

Harry Styles has broken the boundaries of a typical boy band artist and has taken the world by storm with the emergence of his solo career.