Debut solo single from Harry Styles
A “nervous” Harry Styles unveiled his debut solo single on Friday, the singer’s first own music release since hugely popular boy band One Direction announced it was taking a break.
With rock ballad “Sign of the Times”, the 23-year-old follows in the footsteps of One Direction bandmates Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson in putting out solo material in the last year.
Speaking on Britain’s BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw, Styles, who stars in upcoming World War Two drama “Dunkirk”, said he was “nervous” before introducing the track.
“It’s a bit weird. I feel like I’ve been hibernating in the studio for so long,” he said. “You hear it in the safety of the studio… (and now) it’s time to give birth.”
Upon its debut, British media were quick to draw comparisons with the late David Bowie’s music. “It’s the song I’m most proud of writing I think,” Styles said.
The originally five-member One Direction formed on British television talent show “The X Factor” in 2010 and won legions of fans around the world soon after. The best-selling group was reduced to four members in March 2015 when Zayn Malik announced he was quitting the band.
A few months later, Styles, Horan, Tomlinson and fellow member Liam Payne said the group would be taking a break from early 2016.
Styles is defying critics and cynics as he morphs into the fourth singer with “1-D,” including both past and present members, to go it alone in the studio.
Styles, 23, could also be the second to score a chart-topping single, following Zayn Malik. Zayn left the band and entered at the top of the UK Official Singles Chart in January 2016 with “Pillowtalk.”
In their native Britain, the Styles song has shifted 30,000 copies across all formats so far this week, leading its nearest rival, recorded by Sheeran, by two to one. While things may change between today’s Official Chart Update and Friday’s Official Singles Chart, there is a strong chance that Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” (also on Asylum) may be about to lose its top spot and possibly drop to No 4, behind Sheeran’s own “Galway Girl.”
In the US, the Styles song is already in the Top 30 of Billboard’s Pop Songs airplay chart and is showing up at the top of Twitter trends. One Direction started a hiatus in 2016, with Styles still a member, along with Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson who have also tried solo material. Fans say that Liam Payne is set to follow.
Malik, 24, followed his debut single with “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” recorded with Taylor Swift for the soundtrack of the movie Fifty Shades Darker.
In 2010, Styles auditioned as a solo artist for the British television series The X Factor. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Styles was brought back into the competition, along with four other contestants, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, to form One Direction.
In addition to singing, Styles has also appeared in television and film, including the Nickelodeon series iCarly and the concert film One Direction: This Is Us. —IANS