One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, And Zayn Malik: Why Solo Work Doesn’t Mean The Band Is Breaking Up

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, And Zayn Malik are all doing solo work, and many fans are afraid that means the band is breaking up. Some in media are playing it up and making it sound like Directioners don’t have a band anymore.

One Direction with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson will be back together, though. Perhaps Zayn Malik will join them. It is sad that so many young people are being made to worry needlessly.

A lot of the confusion is coming from the concept of One Direction as just another teen pop boy band. Harry Styles, like Zayn Malik, is trying to build a more mature image, which will allow One Direction to grow up. Rock bands of the adult variety do not have to tour every year to stay together. Rock bands, R&B groups, and other serious musicians also do solo material without breaking up. Older bands who survive, learn to pace themselves.

Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson are bound to be exhausted in every way possible after so many nearly back-to-back tours. Zayn Malik was seriously ill when he left the band. Give the boys a break, and let them hone their skills on solo material.

One Direction fans are being led to believe that solo albums mean the band is breaking up, and that taking a year or two off is unheard of. None of that is true. Ozzy Osbourne made solo albums, but he was still in Black Sabbath, Greg Allman, made an album with Cher, but he was still part of Allman Brothers, Marty Friedman released a couple of solo albums while he was with Megadeth, and Alice Cooper is essentially in two bands at once. He is in his own Alice Cooper band and also sings with Hollywood Vampires.

Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne have been working hard toward building a serious image. One Direction toured practically nonstop for five years, and they had a Simon Cowell-created boy band image. The idea behind boy bands is to make money while one can. Boy bands usually retain their star power for only a few years. One Direction, however, only got bigger.

Niall Horan at the American Music Awards performing This Town
One Direction's Niall Horan at the American Music Awards performing This Town [Image by Kevin WinterGetty Images

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne just kept touring and touring. That, however, only works for so long, though. Most groups, no matter how in demand, can’t stay on tour forever. It’s too exhausting. Zayn Malik developed an anxiety-based eating disorder and had little choice but to quit during the tour. Niall, Louis, and Liam may not have been far behind. Harry Styles, of course, seems tireless and has worked through most of the hiatus.

One Direction was exhausted and entangled in an option contract with Simon Cowell, Syco Records and Modest Management that was no longer advantageous at all. It is likely from watching the behaviors of Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne that there is a contractual agreement that prevents them from appearing together during this hiatus.

But Harry Styles, Niall Horan, and Liam Payne did appear in the audience of X-Factor to support Louis Tomlinson last week, after the loss of his mother. One might wonder how this could be, except that Simon Cowell was there and reaping the publicity benefits of their appearance.

It appears that Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson are waiting out a contractual obligation, during which time their appearances together are either not allowed or controlled by Simon Cowell. That is called a non-compete clause and it often occurs after a contractual agreement has been terminated, especially if it is terminated by the musicians before the record company wanted it to end.

One Direction's Harry Styles
One Direction's Harry Styles [Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]

Niall Horan has assured fans repeatedly that One Direction will be back together again in 18 months, counted from March of 2016, yet many seem to doubt his words. When has Niall Horan ever lied to fans? Pop Crush reported one of Niall’s statements.

“We will back. We would be silly not to… ridiculous. At the moment we are all doing our own thing. [Harry Styles] wanted to do his movie [2017’s Dunkirk] and everyone is just chilling. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about us. We are fine.”

One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson said it would be within two years, perhaps giving time to reorganize a bit. Niall Horan has said the reunion is in the foreseeable future and that there would be more music, more tours and more concert dates to come.

Neither Harry Styles, Liam Payne, or Zayn Malik have said One Direction was breaking up, and both Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan have said the group would get back together within two years.

Zayn Malik has even spoken of joining the One Direction reunion when the time is right. Billboard reports Malik explaining he might be up for a One Direction reunion.

“Who knows?…I don’t know. If the time was right and that was the thing to do, then I would make that decision when it came around.”


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When One Direction reunites, or at some point after that, Zayn Malik could join them. The problems Zayn had in One Direction would largely disappear if One Direction reunites as adults and away from their former management that drove them so hard.

Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan will reunite, though. Niall Horan has assured Directioners over and over that is a “guarantee.” So when will the time be right?

One Direction including Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan will reunite in about 18 months, give or take, and Zayn Malik might join them.

[Featured Image by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images]