Harry Styles and One Direction told us back in August that they were going in a new Direction. Styles and his bandmates have undergone a grueling touring and recording schedule for more than five-years. Lets face it, the pressure that Styles and his pals have endured for all of those years would leave anyone exhausted, washed out and longing for a change. One Direction have been clear from the outset that Styles, along with Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, were taking a break to pursue their solo ambitions. That being the case, you have to wonder why Styles signing a solo deal is feted as the demise of One Direction.
Styles is of course testing out the possibility of a lucrative career on the silver screen. Tomlinson is expected to follow his lead by starring in a biopic of soccer star Jamie Vardy. Louis is also to appear on America’s Got Talent beside Simon Cowell. Niall Horan has launched a sports management company in partnership with One Direction’s management team and Liam Payne is reportedly using his time to concentrate on songwriting.
What is abundantly clear is that all of the members of One Direction still have close links with their management structure. Harry may have signed with Jeff Azoff’s management team and Dawbell PR to look after his solo interests, there is no surprise in that, but by signing with Columbia Records for his solo work, Styles may have given the strongest hint yet that he is not distancing himself from One Direction.
Harry Styles' solo album: What we do (and don't) want to hear https://t.co/JODXsNPgK7
— billboard (@billboard) June 26, 2016
Since Billboard announced that Harry had signed a deal with Columbia the merchants of doom have been claiming that the end is nigh for One Direction.
As reported by the BBC the news of Harry’s deal has provoked a great deal of worry amongst fans still reeling from Zayn Malik’s departure from the hit band. Many outlets have followed Billboard’s lead by noting that all of One Direction’s five albums have also been released by Columbia in conjunction with Cowell’s SyCo.
Just think for a moment. It can’t be denied that Harry Styles is big news. Styles is a surefire bet for solo success so you can be pretty sure that just about every record label on the planet would have been battling for Harry’s signature. The fact that Styles signed to Columbia shows that he has faith in the label and it keeps his links with both Sony and Simon Cowell alive. Had Harry been desperate to quit One Direction, he would surely have signed with another label.
— Girlfriend (@GirlfriendMAG) June 27, 2016
As reported by the Daily Mail, we have known for some time that Harry is working on solo material. Styles registered four songs with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Styles has been working with the like of Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid who recently said that Harry’s solo music will “blow the socks off the world.”
One Republic frontman, Ryan Tedder, also revealed that he had been writing with Styles and said that Harry is “always writing songs. He’s a brilliant writer.”
Given that One Direction are taking a break to concentrate on solo work it seems bizarre that, when Harry does exactly that, it is painted as the end of One Direction. The sad reality is that Styles has an enormous fan base and much of the media is happy to turn any piece of gossip about Harry into big news. In the world of One Direction the biggest news of all would be Styles quitting the band as that would surely mark the end.
That said Styles fans are understandably cynical about any story relating to Harry or One Direction. The One Direction fandom has been misled and lied to time and again and have learned to take any story with a huge pinch of salt. The truth is that Harry and the boys are doing exactly what they said they would, there is absolutely no need for fans to panic. Whilst the media are turning out thousands of column inches about Styles it proves only how relevant he is. The time to panic is when stories about Harry and One Direction disappear.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia]