Harry Styles Explains Why The One Direction Hiatus Wasn’t About Zayn Malik [Opinion]

Harry Styles explained to The Rolling Stone, in an interview promoting Sign of the Times that the One Direction hiatus was essentially his idea, and he had presented that idea before Zayn Malik left the band. For all those fans out there wondering why on earth a successful band would take a hiatus in the midst of insane success, here is Harry’s explanation.

One Direction was exhausted. Harry Styles feared eventually the audiences would become exhausted as well. It is possible the band had no more energy to give, at the time. Could the audience see through One Direction’s false bravado and pick up on their exhaustion and pain? Life on the road wasn’t easy for Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and the rest of One Direction, as explained in the Inquisitr.

Harry Styles was the first to suggest that One Direction needed to take a break. Styles first introduced the idea of a hiatus even before Zayn Malik left the group. It was late in 2014, a few months before Zayn’s sudden departure. Thus it was not Zayn Malik but Harry Styles who first noticed and mentioned the exhaustion in himself and in his bandmates.

One Direction’s unanimous decision to take a hiatus actually came before August of 2016. The band came to a consensus just a few months after Zayn Malik, literally fled the tour and returned home. Harry Styles was reportedly up nearly all night with Zayn Malik in a now famous tearful phone conversation about why Zayn Malik left and what to do now.

Even Harry Styles confides he was exhausted, even though stating it in the second person as if it is subconsciously difficult for Styles to concede to exhaustion. Harry Styles told The Rolling Stone the reason behind the hiatus.

“I didn’t want to exhaust our fan base. If you’re shortsighted, you can think, ‘Let’s just keep touring,’ but we all thought too much of the group than to let that happen. You realize you’re exhausted and you don’t want to drain people’s belief in you.”

Harry Styles, Zayn Malik and the rest of One Direction realized that doing a concert or recording an album takes 110 percent of everything a singer has. What can a band do when there is only about 50 percent left in each one of the guys?

One Direction Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan performing
One DirectionOne Direction Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan [Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]

At Harry Styles suggestion, One Direction determined they needed a huge chunk of time to recharge, and they were unsure how much time they needed. That is why they left the time frame so open, but up front, they knew it would be a year or two, and they were open with fans about that in interviews.

Zayn Malik was totally spent when he left. Malik explained in his autobiography Zayn.

“I just got to a point where I knew I couldn’t go on. I was so tired. I felt like I was faking it and I hated that. I just wanted to go home.”

Zayn Malik was down for the count, he wasn’t eating for days at a time and he wasn’t sleeping enough.

Zayn Malik was staying up all night playing his guitar, singing music that wasn’t One Direction’s style mostly because it was deep, heavy and bluesy. Malik just wanted to go home, and apparently, he wasn’t alone in this feeling.

One Direction’s Harry Styles, who was previously believed to be an inexhaustible source of energy was also spent according to what he told The Rolling Stone. Also, like Zayn Malik, he longed for a release of his raw creativity, and to make his own decisions.

Zayn Malik has been open about the fact he felt he had no control over his life in One Direction. Now, Harry Styles has his own spin on the same basic idea.

One Direction
One Direction Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson [Image by Kevin Winter]

Zayn Malik and Harry Styles were in the same situation, but they do have vastly different ways of explaining that situation. Still, the overarching point of their statements matches up.

Harry Styles admitted to The Rolling Stone that he felt a need to make his own music and his own decisions, apart from One Direction.

“I wanted to step up. There were songs I wanted to write and record, and not just have it be ‘Here’s a demo I wrote.’ Every decision I’ve made since I was 16 was made in a democracy. I felt like it was time to make a decision about the future… and maybe I shouldn’t rely on others.”

One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and the rest went from being normal high school kids to pop stars overnight, and from parental supervision to Modest Management’s watchful eye. It wasn’t easy on these One Direction hunks to spend five years of straight touring and recording.

One Direction was on the road at least 75 percent of the time, according to the One Direction tour date schedule on the One Direction Music website. They were booked tight if not overbooked, and for most men, it would have been a recipe for collapse, but since they were young, they held up for five years, but eventually, even these One Direction powerhouses of youth couldn’t go on anymore.

Harry Styles made the right call and Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Louis Tomlinson have all assured fans that the group will eventually reunite. Harry Styles is more guarded on the subject, but told The Rolling Stone he wasn’t ruling out going back to One Direction.

“I love the band, and would never rule out anything in the future. The band changed my life, gave me everything.”

Zayn Malik has reportedly also said he was not opposed to some sort of reunion. It seems Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, and the rest of the guys were so tired, plus tired of feeling controlled by outside forces. They could not continue to give One Direction fans anywhere near the energy required to put on a good show.

When One Direction does reunite, it will be different. Harry Styles and Zayn Malik learned the hard way, so don’t expect them to overbook, or tour nine months out of the year, every single year. Only boy bands with a limited time frame of a few years do that. Older bands take years off, tour every other year at most, and do solo work on the side.


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Harry Styles new album will be released May 12 according to International Business Times, and the world awaits impatiently. Zayn Malik and Liam Payne are also expected to release albums soon as well, while Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson will release their work later in the year.

One Direction’s Harry Styles called the hiatus due to exhaustion, and Zayn Malik left One Direction early for the same reason.

[Featured Image by Helga Esteb/Shutterstock and Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]