Former One Direction star Harry Styles has performed his new single “Sign of the Times” on Saturday Night Live. The occasion marks the first time Styles has performed the single live after releasing it Friday of last week. The episode also marks the first time Styles appeared on SNL since his split from One Direction. In the lead up to his appearance, Styles expressed his excitement to be back on the show, saying, “It is so great to be back on here on Saturday Night Live where it all started for me. Tonight is bigger than a show. It’s a party.”
Ahead of his performance on Saturday Night Live, a line had formed around the block of NBC Studios in Manhattan with One Direction fans waiting for up to 24 hours in the hopes of seeing their idol. In what has been interpreted as a nod to the seventh song on the album, mysteriously titled “Kiwi,” Styles sent out plates of the fruit to satisfy the hunger of the waiting fans.
The episode opened with an impromptu dance number in the opening sequence, with host Jimmy Fallon leading a group of guests through an interpretation of David Bowie’s classic hit “Let’s Dance.” Styles’ 15-second appearance was enough to set Twitter alight, with fans gushing over the star’s dancing and “irresistible smile.”
Styles also made time to poke fun at himself and his burgeoning solo career. In a skit playing rock legend Mick Jagger, Styles responded to a compliment from SNL regular Kenan Thompson on Jagger’s successful solo project, saying, “Solo? Why would anyone in a successful band go solo? That is insane!”
Styles initially teased the release of the debut, self-titled album with a series of blank Instagram posts, followed by an equally baffling ad aired during the semi-final of The Voice UK. The star then took to Instagram to further hype the album, this time with the complete track list and cover art.
The track list is as follows.
- Meet Me in the Hallway
- Sign of the Times
- Two Ghosts
- Sweet Creature
- Only Angel
- Ever Since New York
- From the Dining Table
The cover art has set Twitter alight with fans musing about the possible meaning of the imagery. While theories abound, a common theme seems to be the shot of Styles emerging from the water signifies his transformation from One Direction pop star to bona fide solo musician.
While the release of “Sign of the Times” has been met with unwavering support and excitement from fans, in an interview with British radio host Nick Grimshaw on the Radio One Breakfast Show, Styles shared some lesser known reviews of his work. The singer reportedly went to fellow musician Ed Sheeran for advice after completing the album, and while Sheeran reportedly had nothing negative to say about the album, he did approve of one of the tracks that didn’t make the cut. Styles went on to reveal that after he finished playing the album for his parents, his Dad likened the vocal effects in one of the tracks to the sound of a duck.
In addition to seeking advice from Sheeran, Styles has opened up about the support he had received throughout the recording process from fellow Brit Adele. Speaking to Grimshaw, Styles explained that “I’ve spoken to her a little bit, she knows one of the guys that I wrote it with a lot. But I don’t think so much advice, I just like how she does stuff.”
Harry Styles’ self-titled debut album is out May 12, with pre-orders now open.
[Featured Image by Star Max 2/AP Images]