Oftentimes, it’s difficult to stand out in the crowd. For a member of arguably one of the most popular and successful boy bands of all time, it can be twice as difficult. And for former One Direction member Louis Tomlinson, it was exactly just that. In a revealing tell-all, the 25-year-old crooner revealed the insecurities he suffered throughout his time with the band and finding his place and purpose in the group.
At a young age, the boys of One Direction were already catapulted to superstardom. Despite getting recognition from award-giving bodies as a group and selling-out albums and concerts as a united front, each of the five members of One Direction was an authentic individual with a selling point uniquely his own. However, Tomlinson faced a dilemma in measuring himself against bandmates Harry Styles, Liam Payne Niall Horan and Zayn Malik—he felt that he was the one who was “forgettable, to a certain degree.”
Tomlinson told The Observer that each of the One Direction boys had something in them that made them stand out, but he grappled with finding his own winning attribute.
“Like Niall, for example. He’s the most lovely guy in the world. Happy-go-lucky Irish, no sense of arrogance. And he’s fearless. There are times I’ve thought: ‘I’d have a bit of that,'” Tomlinson explained.
He added, “Zayn, back in the day. He could relate to me on a nerves level. In the first year we were both the least confident. But Zayn has a fantastic voice and for him it was always about owning that.” As for Styles and Payne, Tomlinson considered them as having good stage presence even early on.
“Liam always had a good stage presence, same as Harry, they’ve both got that ownership. Harry comes across very cool. Liam’s all about getting the crowd going, doing a bit of dancing… And then there’s you. And then there’s me.”
Tomlinson recalled a time in 2010 when they were still competing on X Factor. At the time, he was never given his own solo performance throughout the competition, making him question his purpose in One Direction. Tomlinson reflected, saying the following.
“What have I really done to contribute here? Sing a lower harmony that you can’t really hear in the mix?”
The singer quipped that he was probably known as “the kid wearing espadrilles, stood in’t [sic] back” during those times.
It was during One Direction’s last year together that Louis Tomlinson said he felt the most confident as a performer.
When the time came for One Direction to take an indefinite hiatus, it was time for the boys to take different career paths. Naturally, Styles was voted most-likely to succeed. Malik was already ahead of everyone else, having released Mind of Mine a year after he left the group in March 2015.
Shortly after the group announced their hiatus, Tomlinson welcomed the birth of his first child with Los Angeles-based stylist Briana Jungwirth, Freddie Reign. Tomlinson and Jungwirth are no longer together but are happily co-parenting their 1-year-old son.
When asked what his favorite part is about being dad, he told 97.1 AMP Radio: “All of it.”
Tomlinson surprised everyone, career-wise, in 2016 when he released his collaboration with DJ Steve Aoki, titled “Just Hold On.”
However, the song’s success didn’t come at the best time for Tomlinson personally. It debuted around the time he lost his mother, Johannah Deakin, after a hard-fought battle with leukemia at the age of 43. His mother has always been his inspiration, and he was really close to her. Despite mourning the loss of his mother, Tomlinson braved the stage of X Factor UK, where he was scheduled to perform the single with Aoki.
And with that, Louis Tomlinson got a standing ovation from the crowd, the judges’ panel, and the rest of the world. Simon Cowell, a judge on the show, praised Tomlinson, saying, “What you’ve just done… the bravery… I respect you as an artist and I respect you as a person.” Fans and non-fans alike had the same thing to say to the singer.
“Just Hold On” peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s UK Singles Chart. It debuted at No. 53 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the highest-charting song for Aoki in the U.S. and U.K.
Louis Tomlinson is set to release his new single “Back To You” featuring Bebe Rexha and Digitial Farm Animals soon.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]