Harry’s new manager Jeff Azoff and his father Irving Azoff have not revealed their master plan for guiding Harry Styles to solo superstardom. However, the Azoff clan, who also managed the Eagles and Tori Kelly, have groomed one former tween-market pop star to solo stardom: Christina Aguilera. Irving Azoff was responsible for overseeing Christina Aguilera’s transition from a Disney star to a “Dirrty” girl indeed, as reported by USA Today.
Will we see something similar with Harry? Here are some thoughts.
The Azoffs will fight for good deals at a time when artists are short-changed
LA Times reports that Irving Azoff was honored at the pre-Grammy bash Harry Styles attended recently. Azoff spoke about how tech companies now steal profits from artists.
“A good manager is more important than ever.”
NY Times writes that the outrageous Azoff has built a reputation for “securing top-dollar deals for his clients.” One famous anecdote says the feisty manager “once used a chain saw to cut through a hotel room wall.”
The Azoffs will no doubt take measures to protect Harry from the music streaming culture, which has shaken up the industry and put a huge dent in profitability.
The Azoffs are not averse to a sharp transition
Who could forget the day in 2002 when the “Dirrty” video dropped and we got our first look at former Disney princess Christina Aguilera in those butt-flashing chaps?
[Aguilera] changed management in late 2000, and she is now represented by music-biz veteran Irving Azoff. “I don’t want to dwell on negativity, because the results are positive,” she says. “I learned you have to watch out for yourself and be true to yourself.”
Christina Aguilera in chaps for @johnjohnn82 pic.twitter.com/Ad6qR1PRPg
— Stephen Hunter (@SnrHunter) January 1, 2016
Some people have called the period immediately after she teamed up with Azoff — 2000 to 2004 — Aguilera’s worst era. Others, such as Buzzfeed, praise Stripped era Christina as “iconic” and ahead of her time.
Will Azoff encourage or discourage Harry Styles from exploring the “pansexual” tendencies Harry is rumored to have admitted to?
They encourage self-expression and the shattering of taboos
Christina Aguilera’s flesh-flashing antics were truly radical in her day — it was a decade-and-a-half before Miley Cyrus repeated the Disney Princess-to-nightclub sexpot template set down by Aguilera, and threw her own gay rights advocacy statements into the mix. Aguilera made waves when she showed two gay men kissing in her video for “Beautiful.” Cyrus passionately praised last years Supreme Court gay marriage ruling.
With so few taboos left to shatter in our progressive times, it’s hard to even think of a jaw-dropping strategy. The most radical thing would probably be for bisexual boss Clive Davis to hook up with Harry in a Mariah Carey/Tommy Mottolla-style relationship.
It’s not like Davis has never considered a dalliance with a young charge before. The outrageous Sony boss was offered a sexual service from Janice Joplin to seal her music deal, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“Clarry” (Hive?) will almost certainly not happen and it will be because 1) Harry is not gay/bi, 2) there is no attraction, 3) there is no “fan fiction” to fire fans’ imaginations on the topic and render such a move profitable, 4) Clive Davis lacks the conventional sex appeal of Louis Tomlinson and Harry Styles — a critical factor in getting most fan “ships” off the ground and/or 5) fit hottie Harry Styles has his own fortune and is not in the market for a sugar daddy, thank you very much.
It’s an interesting thought-experiment, however. Could it be that a May-December relationship between a gay older man and his youthful male lover is the last real taboo?
When the “Larry” ship was rampant in the One Direction fandom, people often criticized Larries for their naivety in assuming that gay first loves have a longevity that is, in fact, rarely seen in either straight or gay relationships. “Even if they did like each other when they were sixteen, how likely is it that they would still be together?” many people asked, exasperated, as the Larry theorists insisted that Styles and Tomlinson had been together monogamously for five years, since Harry was only sixteen.
A more realistic scenario would be that Harry broke up with his first love, then went through years of experimenting with different partners in the gay scene (“finding himself”) before settling down with a long-term partner. This eventual marriage partner could very well have been an older man. High profile gay May/December romances have been celebrated in the pages of Queerty and New Now Next.
The wild partner-swapping and promiscuity of young men in the London gay scene was documented at the turn of the century in the explosive television series Queer As Folk, as reported by the Guardian.
They will encourage Harry to be true to himself
Whatever creative expression and sexual expression we see from Harry during the Azoff years, you can be sure that it is coming from him and him only. Christina Aguilera reported that she signed with the Azoffs because she was sick of being manipulated and branded by her former managers, according to USA Today.
People try to tell you what you should do, how you should act, what you should wear, who you should be with. At the time things started happening for me, it was popular to be the squeaky-clean, cookie-cutter pop singer. But that role didn’t speak to me, because it’s so boring and superficial
The songstress said she was sick of being ordered to act in a way that was not true to her nature.
I just want to be real, to be myself. People don’t really know who I am yet. That’s where the title of my new album came from — it’s about being emotionally stripped down for the first time.”
No more excuses, Larries!
They are in it for the long haul
Just last year, Azoff was saying that Aguilera has not peaked yet. He also dissed Britney for good measure. That’s client commitment!
(Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)