It’s been over a year since boy band One Direction began their official hiatus in March 2016. Since then, the band members gone their separate ways and released solo music that showed off more of their individual personalities.
In May this year, Harry Styles became the first member of 1D to drop a full album, releasing his self-titled debut to both critical and commercial success, performing on Saturday Night Live and announcing a world tour that will kick off in September.
Niall Horan has released his first two solo singles, including “This Town” and “Slow Hands,” performing both songs at the 2017 iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards in June (watch here). Niall has also announced a small tour, promising to expand on these dates and release his full album in the near future.
Louis Tomlinson has taken his time returning to the studio. In December 2016, Tomlinson teamed up with DJ Steve Aoki for the track “Just Hold On,” with promotion for the single cut short following the sudden and tragic that of Tomlinson’s mother.
Now Tomlinson is back with his first official solo single, although once again he’s not quite ready to hit the studio alone. “Back To You” features music from British DJ Digital Farm Animals and vocals from American singer Bebe Rexha. The track opens with a verse from Bebe, while Louis’ voice isn’t heard until one minute into the song.
Speaking with the BBC, Tomlinson said “We recorded a version where I sang first, but you’ve got to do what’s best by the song. With the emotion she (Bebe) gives it, and the way she opens up the song, it always had to be her, really.”
While we would love to hear a song featuring a solo Tomlinson, the back and forth of Louis’ voice and Rexha’s works, with the pair playfully trading off on verses.
Tomlinson told the BBC that he hopes his debut album will be released by the end of the year and says that his new music is inspired by his disdain for the ‘fakeness’ of Hollywood and his love of the lyrical honestly of favourites like Arctic Monkeys and Oasis.
Speaking about the new album, Tomlinson said “There’s one song I’m really attached to called ‘Just Like You,’ which is all about this view of celebrities that we’re impenetrable and almost not human, but fundamentally we all have the same problems. Heartbreak feels the same, loss feels the same, all these feelings are the same for all of us. Mine just look a load different to, maybe, Tom who works in the chippy from nine to five.”
Tomlinson and Rexha shot a video for “Back To You” in the English singers’ hometown of Doncaster. The pair hang out at local restaurants and perform on the street before meeting up at the Doncaster Rovers Football Club, which signed Louis in 2013 as a non-contractual member.