Harry Styles’ glow-up from One Direction to LGBTQ+ ally and solo success
It’s hard to believe that the Harry Styles who just headlined Coachella is the same pop star we first met on The X Factor all those years ago (12, to be exact. Now we feel old).
The former One Direction star, now 28, is set to release his third solo studio album, Harry’s House, on Friday after a near three-year wait.
No other pop star in recent memory has blossomed quite the way Harry has in a decade.
We’ve known him as a teeny-bopper on ITV’s The X Factor, a heartthrob in the biggest boyband in the world with 1D, and now as a solo artist, carving out his own path despite the early naysayers, who dares to be different.
It’s safe to say, Harry’s direction hasn’t been one for the faint-hearted and we dare to dream with or like it all can be for some that tend to leave it all up to scratch if we can or might be doing.
As we get ready to digest every note, lyric and chord on Harry’s House, let’s take a look back at where Harry started and all the amazing things he’s achieved on the way since…
The X Factor
Harry was just 16 when he auditioned for The X Factor in 2010 singing Stevie Wonder’s Isn’t She Lovely? after being spurred on by his mum Anne.
He originally auditioned as a solo artist and reached bootcamp, but failed to make it further on his own. Cue mastermind Simon Cowell and One Direction was born, putting Harry in a manufactured boy band with Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan, who also auditioned solo.
They won the hearts of teen girls – and mums – all over the country and sailed through to the final before finishing third place.
With their popularity only soaring, it was inevitable that Simon would sign One Direction to his Syco label after The X Factor and his vision was spot on, as 1D-mania was in full swing and so intense it drew comparisons to Beatlemania.
They hit the ground running with their infectious debut single What Makes You Beautiful, which of course topped the charts in the UK, and followed with their first album Up All Night, which made One Direction the first British group to reach number one on the US Billboard 200 chart with their debut album.
The success continued to pour in with mammoth worldwide tours raking in as much as $238million, lucrative merchandise and TVs and blockbuster concert movies and, by the time they released their fourth album Four, One Direction became the only group in the 58-year history of the Billboard 200 chart to have their first four albums debut at number one.
That’s also not to mention the seven Brit Awards and 70million records they’ve won and sold worldwide.
However, all good things come to an end and One Direction embarked on a hiatus in 2016 to embark on solo endeavours.
Harry goes solo
There’s always a little scepticism when a band member attempts to go solo and Harry had his fair share.
It only heightened when it was revealed he was ditching the bubblegum pop 1D were known for, in exchange for a more mature indie-pop vibe.
The likes of Noel Gallagher didn’t think he could pull it off but boy, was he wrong, as Harry smashed it out of the park with his big ballad, Sign of the Times, as his first single without the boys.
His self-titled debut album, released in 2017, went down a hoot with critics and topped the charts around the world including the US and UK.
Since then, it’s been bop after bop after bop with tracks like Watermelon Sugar, Golden and Adore You, from his stunning second album Fine Line, some of the best pop we’ve heard in years.
In April 2022, Harry headlined Coachella music festival cementing his place as an icon in the making.
Harry goes for Hollywood
Oh, did we also mention our Harry is a movie star now? In 2017, Harry made his feature film debut in Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic Dunkirk and did a pretty stellar job, even for a smaller role.
We probably won’t see Harry go down the Marvel route any time soon as he’s opting for more indie roles, with upcoming appearances in My Policeman and psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, which has, ahem, been directed by his current girlfriend Olivia Wilde.
Harry’s allyship for the queer community has become a key point of his artistry, often waving a rainbow flag on stage, helping a fan come out to her mother and even releasing Pride T-shirts with profits going towards a charity.
While on tour in 2017, Harry told the audience in a heartfelt speech: ‘If you are Black, if you are white, if you are gay, if you are straight, if you are transgender – whoever you are, whoever you want to be, I support you.’
In 2021, he was nominated at the British LGBT Awards for his continued advocacy of the community.
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