Harry Styles says his upcoming debut solo album is currently his favourite record to listen to.
The One Direction singer will release the record’s first track, Sign Of The Times, on Friday and said he wrote around 70 songs before narrowing them down, most of which were penned in Jamaica.
“I just wanted to not be somewhere that I’d get distracted. It was 360 of writing, you’d go home for dinner, write at the house then go back to the studio. I liked being away from everything and doing it like that,” Styles said on radio Breakfast 1.
“I was with the guys who I was writing it with and we just wanted to make what we wanted to listen to and that has been the most fun part for me about making the whole album. “In the least weird way possible, it’s my favourite album to listen to at the moment.”
The musician said he had to put the album on hold after being cast in World War Two film, Dunkirk, which he thinks was good for the writing process.
“For a while before, all I thought about it was stressing about what it was going to be. It gave me a chance to completely step away from it for a bit and have a real break,” he said.
“By the end of the movie, because we were swimming so much, I just wanted to write songs. I think we wrote about 70 songs. We did 50 songs and ideas in Jamaica and that’s including like little ideas … full songs, I say there are 30 songs probably.”
Quizzed on whether he had sought advice on cutting the songs down to an album, Styles revealed Ed Sheeran had offered his thoughts.
“I played him (Sheeran) a few songs after the album was finished. He didn’t say that he didn’t like any, but he did like one song that isn’t on the album,” he said.
The meticulously planned debut of the single at 8am (UK time) on Friday will kick off an Adele-style campaign to establish Harry as the world’s biggest male star. The superfan of David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney wants to be taken seriously as a songwriter and musician – and will distance himself from the teen pop direction of his former band. A source close to the star tells The Sun:
“Harry isn’t a typical popstar. This is an art rock project – and he wants to let the music do the talking.”
Harry has spent months secretly ensuring that the music has a timeless quality reminiscent of Bowie and Prince at their peaks in the 70s and 80s. He has rejected the current move towards dance music and his first release will, in fact, run to five minutes long. The song is so shrouded in secrecy that it is on just two iPods, which have no internet connection to stop hackers leaking the tune. Many who have listened to the song have been asked to sign legally binding non-disclosure agreements. Quietly determined Harry has been very personally involved in every aspect of the music, which has been produced by Jeff Bhasker who was behind the international smash hit Uptown Funk. The source adds:
“Harry has written the songs and the meanings are very personal to him, based on his life. He has also been playing the guitar and the piano as well. He’s a very modest guy, but it was important to him that this music represented him totally.”
Access to Harry is going to be severely limited during the international campaign. The headline-grabbing star is desperate to avoid discussion of his personal life, especially romances with celebs such as Taylor Swift, Kendall Jenner and Caroline Flack. And he also wants to avoid any discussion about his relationship with his 1D band members, who he has seen just a handful of times in the year-and-a-half since the split.
Harry has agreed to appear on BBC1 favourite Graham Norton – but he will only perform and not join the other A-listers on the sofa of the hit chat show. He’ll also appear on US TV institution Saturday Night Live and give one in-depth interview to his BFF Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 to coincide with the single release.
The source explains:
“Harry doesn’t want to talk about his personal life or be asked constantly about One Direction. It’s not his style. He’s spent his entire life having his every move scrutinised. He doesn’t feel the need to do interviews or the promo circuit. There will be a couple of very big appearances to keep TV and radio on board, but it will be very limited and he’s learnt how to say very little. Harry’s idols are people like Bowie and Jagger. He’s closely studied their careers and that’s the direction he is heading in. He loves the sense of mystery they maintained around them.”
Harry’s small team of advisers is led by his manager and close friend Jeff Azoff, the son of music giant and Eagles manager Irving. Also intimately involved are Sony Music Entertainment chief executive Rob Stringer and Sony Music UK chairman Jason Iley – a sign in the importance of Harry’s success to the future of the company. He is being advised on PR by Dawbell, the company that also represents Harry’s close friends and personal mentors James Corden and Gary Barlow. Stringer has said of the project:
“We obviously want everything to be beautifully done, because we think he’s here to stay. Harry has stepped up with the vision of someone who’s authentic.”
Harry was on set on a remote farmland in a secret location in Scotland earlier this week, he was shooting the new music video for debut single Sign of the Times. The star was winched from a helicopter during the dramatic shoot and hung in mid-air as another chopper flew nearby.
Check out the photos: (Click in any image below)
Harry’s release is somewhat awkwardly timed as it means he will be directly competing with all three of his bandmates who are all releasing new singles over the next two months.
The first to follow Harry is likely to be Niall Horan, who will release the follow up to his debut single This Town some time next month. The top ten hit received positive reviews and was popular in the US getting a platinum plaque.
In June, Louis Tomlinson will follow up his massive first single, dance track Just Hold On, which was a No2 hit in the UK.
Also in June, Liam Payne, the last of the five members to go solo, will release his first single, which is expected to take a more urban direction. There is excitement around Liam’s launch so soon after he became a dad, with girlfriend Cheryl giving birth last month.
He has signed David Beckham’s long-time PR Simon Olivera to manage him and has already started the hype campaign with a topless shoot for Rollercoaster magazine, where he pleased 1D’s large female fanbase by posing topless.
Release date: This Friday
Team: Managed by best friend Jeff Azoff. Recruited James Corden’s PR reps Dawbell. Mentored by Sony US boss Rob Stringer and UK chief exec Jason Iley.
Release date: Second single released in June
Team: Only member to stay loyal to Simon Cowell. Signed to Ant and Dec’s management James Grant. Still repped by 1D’s PR Simon Jones.
Release date: Second single released in May
Team: Only member to stay with 1D’s management team Modest, where he has his own golf firm. Also repped by the band’s PR Simon Jones.
Label: Capitol UK / Republic
Release date: First single released in June
Team: Joined up with David Beckham’s manager and BFF Simon Oliveira. Chose the same publicist as Robbie Williams and Elton John in Murray Chalmers.
Nial Horan was recently presented with a plaque by his Capitol Music Group team to commemorate 2.5m global track equivalent sales of his US Platinum single This Town.
Since being released in September last year, the song has clocked up more than 250m combined streams across all platforms.
On Spotify, it currently sits at just under 130m plays, while a ‘1 mic, 1 take’ version on YouTube/Vevo has registered over 31.5m.
The song was co-written by Horan with Jamie Scott, Mike Needle, Daniel Bryer, Aodhán Dorrian and produced by Greg Kurstin.
The former One Directioner is managed by Modest! Management.
Pictured L-R: Ashley Newton, President Capitol Music Group; Michelle Jubelirer, COO Capitol Music Group; Niall Horan; Richard Griffiths, Modest Management; Steve Barnett, Chairman CEO Capitol Music Group
“This Town” will become Niall Horan’s third Top 10 hot adult contemporary hit — and his first as a solo artist.
While Niall Horan’s “This Town” is falling at pop radio, it is still on the rise at hot adult contemporary. This week, it will move into the Top 10.
“This Town” received 2,158 spins during the first four days of the February 5-11 tracking period. Up 12.2% from the count at this point last week, the tally slots “This Town” at #9 on Mediabase’s building chart.
Facing no obvious threat from below, “This Town” should retain its Top 10 position through the close of tracking.
“This Town” is Horan’s first solo single. As part of One Direction, he reached Hot AC radio’s Top 10 with “Story Of My Life” and “What Makes You Beautiful.”
Ray and Jaime Winstone unite with One Direction’s Niall Horan to lead a host of A-list stars who have joined forces with Cancer Research UK ahead of this World Cancer Day.
Every Act Of Unity makes a difference in someone’s fight against cancer, which is why Cancer Research UK is asking everyone to unite in one incredible Act of Unity on 4 February, World Cancer Day. Together we can show our support, raising funds which will accelerate progress in the fight against cancer.
As a symbol of strength and unity, the charity is urging supporters to donate or wear a specially designed Unity Band during the two week campaign, launching 19 January, with all proceeds helping pioneer research into all 200 types of cancers, and fund over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses in the UK.
The unisex Unity Bands feature a classic reef knot design which symbolises the strength in the collective, a simple way to show your support in what will be a lifesaving Act Of Unity.
An Act of Unity is a gesture of support in the face of cancer. Whether it’s from a friend, family member or even a stranger. Anyone can play their part by wearing a Unity Band, making a donation, volunteering or fundraising for Cancer Research UK. Show your support, whether it’s to celebrate people who have overcome cancer, show solidarity with those going through treatment, remember loved ones or to simply to reduce the impact of cancer on future generations.
As well as the main unisex design, for the first time, Cancer Research UK has also created special Unity Bands for Kids & Teens, a men’s leather Unity Band and a limited edition ‘Collection’ made of copper plated in silver and rose gold as a lasting memory of support.
Thanks to research, cancer survival rates have doubled over the past 40 years. Today, 2 in 4 people survive their cancer for at least 10 years. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to use World Cancer Day to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people survive their cancer. With no government funding, the charity relies on every single donation and the united support of each person on 4 February to help make this goal a reality.
Unity Bands® are available from January 2017 in all Cancer Research UK stores, partner outlets and online – Join the #ActofUnity Right Now at cruk.org/worldcancerday for a suggested donation of £2. Funds raised will help to continue our lifesaving research.
The 25-year-old singer – who has 11-month-old son Freddie with his former partner Briana Jungwirth – doesn’t think having a child has influenced him but it has changed him as a person.
Speaking about his life now he is a parent, the One Direction band member said:
“I don’t think it’s changed my writing very much. Writing in particular, it’s not as if I’m writing songs about my son. I love him obviously. It’s affected how I am as a person, a little bit. I’d like to say it’s made me a bit more mature, I don’t know if that’s true.”
And the dark-haired hunk has admitted every moment he spends with his child is “precious” and totally absorbs him to the point he doesn’t want to do “anything other” than be by his side and out of view from prying eyes.
“With fans I’ll always be super polite. But my time with my son is precious. So I am kind of reluctant to do anything other than spend all of my time with my son when I’m with Freddie. So, that’s just the way it is. Sometimes it’s irritating with paparazzi, but that’s the job that I’m ion. Sometimes I’ll get a few stern words that you may hear on TMZ one day.”
Although Louis – who is in a relationship with Danielle Campbell – is besotted with Freddie he has admitted he “definitely” wants to expand his brood, although his career is currently his main focus.
Speaking on SiriusXM Hits 1 Radio about his future family plans, he said:
“Bloody hell. I’ve not thought about that. Definitely in the future, yeah. At the moment I’ve got Freddie and I’m trying to stay career driven.”
On paper Steve Aoki (the guy famous for throwing cake at fans) and Louis Tomlinson (the heartthrob from One Direction) seem worlds apart. But over summer the pair dropped an absolute banger together.
As soon as they released ‘Just Hold On’ much to the delight of Steve it screamed up the charts. Possibly due to the fact that a One Direction member played a part in it. When Smallzy caught up with Steve, he discussed the devotion of the 1D fans and how they contributed to the success of ‘Just Hold On’:
“I never knew how insane, how devoted, how committed. They are the definition of what fans should be. They’re the ones that made the song so, it was an organic thing first. It was the fans that channeled the energy to get it out there first. Being in the middle of the hurricane and watch these guys do their magic and get together and become an army… it’s an incredible thing to be a part of.”
But the question on everyone’s lips is how did this collab come about?
Steve told Smallzy that through a cancelled show and a few sneaky DM’s the song came to life.
“Well, I play in Vegas a lot and Louis went to a Calvin Harris show and that night he canceled. So I DJ’d Calvin’s night and Louis and his friends were there. They were blown away from the set and he followed me on Twitter. Never underestimate the old Twitter. Twitter still works. With Twitter, communication will just gradually happen, if there’s mutual respect there.”
Listen to the full interview here!