It’s Harry Styles 24th birthday and to celebrate the British singer, we’re taking a look at the musicians biggest career accomplishments. From his time in One Direction to branching out as a solo artist, here are the 10 moments that defined Harry Styles’ career.
1. THE X FACTOR
In 2010, a then 16-year-old Harry Styles was unsuccessful in making it to the ‘Boys category’ at the judges house on the seventh season of THE X FACTOR UK. Thanks to the suggestion of singer and judge Nicole Scherzinger, Styles was kept around and grouped with four more boys, including Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Louis Tomlinson. The new group didn’t win their season of the reality show, but they did find a big enough audience base to form the group One Direction.
2. THIS IS US
Less than three years after losing their season of THE X FACTOR UK, One Direction had become the biggest band in the world. In their 2013 Morgan Spurlock-directed documentary This Is Us, the fever of Directioners around the world is visceral, with the cameras showing five lads from working class backgrounds, including Styles, catapulted into overnight superstardom.
3. HIGH PROFILE RELATIONSHIPS
Styles has always tried to maintain a private personal life, but his relationships with Caroline Flack, and their 14-year age gap, as well as his short-lived romance with Taylor Swift, made for headlines around the world. The attention grew even bigger when Swift began releasing music about the pairs failed relationship, including “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Styles finally responded in 2017 with his track “Two Ghosts,” although his version of the events had the clarity of time passed, writing a song about two people who simply grew apart.
4. THE ONE DIRECTION HIATUS
In August 2015, the remaining four members of One Direction (Zayn Malik previously left the band) announced they would be going on hiatus following the release of their fifth studio album, Made In the A.M.. Though reactions were mixed both from fans and the band (Tomlinson said he was not happy about the hiatus), the question of whether Styles, who often took lead vocals on the band’s songs, could make it as a solo artist would soon be answered.
5. THE HAIRCUT
A haircut can symbolize a new stage in life or in the case of an artist, a new stage of their career. We saw it with Keri Russell, Lenny Kravitz, Alanis Morissette, and in 2017, Harry Styles made his own cut. Ditching his trademark long hair, Styles’ main inspiration for the move may have been his upcoming role in the film Dunkirk, but it also symbolized the singer shedding his boy band past and moving into the next phase of his career as a solo artist.
6. SIGN OF THE TIMES
While his former One Direction band mates Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik had already released solo material, fans were still unsure of what to expect from Styles’ upcoming venture. On April 7, 2017, Styles stunned Directioners and anti-boy banders with his soaring debut single “Sign of the Times.” Harry Styles: the solo musician had officially arrived.
7. SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE
Only one week after releasing “Sign of the Times,” Styles made his debut as a solo artist on Saturday Night Live. Going live coast to coast for the first time in the series 40-year history, Styles held his own both as a solo performer and as a guest in a number of skits co-starring the night’s host, Jimmy Fallon.
8. HARRY STYLES
On May 12, Styles debuted his self-titled solo album and cemented himself as not another one hit wonder. Following in the footsteps of Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé, Styles successfully made the transition from pop group member to respected solo artist with his collection of 1970’s inspired folk pop rock.
9. STARRING IN DUNKIRK
In July 2017, Styles appeared in his first film, acting as a young British soldier in Christopher Nolan’s epic war film Dunkirk. In what could have been a cringe-inducing appearance for the new actor who was riding high off the success of his first album, Styles soared in his big screen debut. Boasting one of the highest dialogue counts in the relatively quiet film (language-wise, at least), Styles impressed critics with his acting abilities and cemented himself as a force on screen.
10. THE SOLO TOUR
Styles had previously toured the world, playing sold out stadium shows with One Direction, but whether he could command the stage as a solo act had yet to be seen. Selling out a number of venues in seconds, Styles debut tour opened to rave reviews, with the singer adding additional dates into 2018.