It’s finally happened: singer Harry Styles of One Direction has signed a solo recording deal with Columbia Records. After months of speculation and occasional song registrations, the 22-year-old entertainer officially put his name on the dotted line to begin a music path that’s all his own, according to Billboard.
The specifics of the deal and the time allotted for Styles to deliver his first record have not been made public, but plans to move him away from the group that made him a household name have seemingly been in the works for some time now.
In early February, just a month after Styles and the remaining members of One Direction (Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne) began a rumored 18-month break to work on solo endeavors, the Holmes Chapel-native tore away from longtime management team, Modest!, and signed with Jeffrey Azoff’s burgeoning Full Stop Management. Billboard reported that the switch was the first real sign that Styles was planning a solo excursion, but sources close to the “What Makes You Beautiful” quartet told the music publication that nothing had changed in regards to the band reuniting at some point in the future.
Music insiders, however, saw things differently.
“Harry is done with One Direction,” an unnamed professional expressed to The Sun. “He wants to completely disassociate with the band, and that includes any professional connection. His new team will be about launching him as a solo superstar by around this time next year, so the work is starting now.”
There are several facts that loan some validity to that statement. For starters, Styles has not been seen with any of his fellow One Direction members since the group parted ways in December of 2015. While this may not seem out of the ordinary for a group on a supposed hiatus, there have been several small reunions that have occurred between the three other members at various times this year. Styles was noticeably MIA during all of them, but none more so than at January’s BRIT Awards, which took place in London. Although he was seen out-and-about in the city by many people, Entertainment Weekly states that he declined to turn up at the music ceremony at the very last minute (both Tomlinson and Payne were in attendance, which made Styles’ self-omission all the more peculiar).
Also, there’s Styles’ overall absence from the world-at-large. Granted, the young star is currently working on his first major film role in the movie Dunkirk, which takes up a lot of his time — but past actions tell a story of a very different Styles; one that was often bar hopping, partying with friends, and taking in the occasional fashion show. Now, the most we hear of the young talent is the occasional tweet or Instagram post, which tends to be not too descriptive on his current feelings or actions (remember “The Oooly Toooly”?) Could there be some kind of image rehabilitation going on to reintroduce Styles as a solo star?
The Oooly Toooly.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) September 5, 2014
The truth is, no one really knows what’s Harry Styles has got planned for the future other than solo music. What we do know is that in spite of everything that is seemingly tearing him away from the group, he is still legally bound to them by the Syco Music contract extension that he signed with One Direction back in 2014. Because of this, Sugarscape says that the group must deliver at least one more LP before they can officially walk away forever. Of course, we also know that deals can be broken if you have the right people in your corner — just ask Zayn Malik. Either way, One Direction fans will surely look forward to seeing what Harry Styles, solo star, brings to the entertainment table.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]