Harry Edward Styles is an English singer, songwriter and actor. His musical career began in 2010 as a solo contestant on the British music competition series The X Factor. Following his elimination, he was brought back to join the boy band One Direction, which went on to become one of the best-selling boy bands of all time before going on an indefinite hiatus in 2016.
Styles released his self-titled debut solo album through Columbia Records in 2017. It debuted at number one in the UK and the US and was one of the world's top-ten best-selling albums of the year, while its lead single, "Sign of the Times", topped the UK Singles Chart. Styles' second album, Fine Line (2019), debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with the biggest ever first-week sales by an English male artist, and was the most recent album to be included in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" in 2020. Its fourth single, "Watermelon Sugar", topped the US Billboard Hot 100. Styles will follow it with his third album, Harry's House (2022), which spawned the chart-topping single "As It Was".
Throughout his career, Styles has received several accolades, including two Brit Awards, a Grammy Award, an Ivor Novello Award, and an American Music Award. Styles made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan's 2017 war film Dunkirk. Aside from music and acting, he is known for his flamboyant fashion. He is the first man to appear solo on the cover of Vogue magazine.
Harry Edward Styles was born on 1 February 1994 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England, the son of landlady Anne Twist (née Selley, formerly Cox) and finance worker Desmond "Des" Styles. When he was a child, he moved with his parents and older sister, Gemma, to the village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. His parents divorced when he was seven years old, and his mother later remarried business partner John Cox, although they divorced years later. Through her subsequent marriage in 2013 to Robin Twist, who died of cancer in 2017, Styles has an older stepbrother named Mike and a stepsister named Amy.
Styles said he had a "great childhood" and was always supported by his parents. As a child, he sang covers on a karaoke machine he was given by his grandfather, and the first song he recorded was Elvis Presley's "The Girl of My Best Friend". Styles attended the Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, where he was the lead singer for the band White Eskimo, which won a local Battle of the Bands competition.t the age of 16, he worked part-time at the W. Mandeville Bakery in Holmes Chapel.
2010–2015: The X Factor and One Direction
Following a suggestion from his mother, on 11 April 2010, Styles auditioned as a solo contestant for the seventh series of the British televised singing competition The X Factor, singing a rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely". He advanced to bootcamp but failed to progress further. Four others in his age group who were also eliminated were put together to form a band in July 2010 to compete in the "Groups" category, mentored by Simon Cowell. The group consisting of Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik practised for two weeks; Styles suggested the name One Direction to his bandmates, and they agreed to keep it. They began to gain considerable popularity in the UK, and within the first four weeks of the live shows, were Cowell's last act in the competition. The group eventually reached the final of The X Factor and finished in third place.
In January 2011, One Direction signed a recording contract with Cowell's label Syco Records. Their UK number one debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful", and their debut studio album, Up All Night, were released later that year. The album, which contained three songs co-written by Styles, made One Direction the first British group to have their debut album reach number one in the United States. Their four succeeding studio albums—Take Me Home (2012), Midnight Memories (2013), Four (2014) and Made in the A.M. (2015)—all debuted at number one in the UK. Midnight Memories was the world's best-selling album of 2013, and its accompanying Where We Are Tour was the highest-grossing tour of 2014 and remains the highest-grossing tour of all time by a vocal group. After the release of Four, One Direction became the only group in the 58-year history of the Billboard 200 albums chart to have their first four albums debut at number one. The albums spawned a string of successful singles, including "Live While We're Young", "Little Things", "Best Song Ever", "Story of My Life", "Drag Me Down" and "History". Styles also co-wrote the song "Just a Little Bit of Your Heart" for Ariana Grande's 2014 album My Everything.
Not wanting to "exhaust" the fan base, upon Styles' suggestion, the band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016, after completing promotional activities related to Made in the A.M. Since their debut, One Direction have sold 70 million records worldwide, including 7.6 million albums and 26 million singles in the US, becoming one of the best-selling boy bands of all time. The group amassed numerous accolades, including seven Brit Awards, seven American Music Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, and four MTV Video Music Awards.
2016–2018: Harry Styles and Dunkirk
As a solo artist, Styles joined Jeffrey Azoff's Full Stop Management and talent agency CAA, signing a recording contract with Columbia Records in the first half of 2016. Around this time, he also launched his own record label, Erskine Records. Recording for Styles's debut album occurred throughout 2016 in Los Angeles, London and Port Antonio, Jamaica, where Styles and his collaborators had a two-month writing retreat in the autumn. In March 2017, he announced that his first solo single, "Sign of the Times", would be released on 7 April. The song peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100. A glam rock-influenced soft rock power ballad, it drew comparisons to the work of David Bowie. Rolling Stone ranked "Sign of the Times" as the best song of 2017. Its music video featured Styles flying and walking on water and won the Brit Award for British Video of the Year. In April, Styles was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in the US and made his debut televised solo performance in the UK on The Graham Norton Show.
His self-titled debut album was released in May 2017, whereupon it debuted at number one in several countries, including Australia, the UK and the US. The record was influenced by 1970s soft rock and was described by Variety as a "classic cocktail of psychedelia, Britpop, and balladry". It received generally favourable reviews from critics and was included in several publications' lists of the best albums of 2017. Harry Styles yielded two more singles, "Two Ghosts" and "Kiwi". The film Harry Styles: Behind the Album, which documented the writing and recording process for the album, was released in May exclusively on Apple Music. Styles embarked on his first headlining concert tour, Harry Styles: Live on Tour, from September 2017 through to July 2018, performing in North and South Americas, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Styles made his feature film debut in Christopher Nolan's war film Dunkirk, in July 2017, playing a British soldier named Alex in the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II. He appeared alongside an ensemble cast which included Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. Styles won the part over "thousands of young men"; Nolan later admitted he was unaware of the extent of Styles' fame and that he was cast "because he fit the part wonderfully and truly earned a seat at the table". The Daily Telegraph film critic Robbie Collin praised Styles for his "bright, convicted, and unexpectedly not-at-all-jarring performance".
In November 2017, BBC One broadcast Harry Styles at the BBC, a one-hour television special presented by Nick Grimshaw. At 2017 ARIA Music Awards, Styles received the Best International Artist award. He guest-hosted The Late Late Show with James Corden in December. Together with Jack Antonoff and Ilsey Juber, Styles co-wrote "Alfie's Song (Not So Typical Love Song)", performed by the band Bleachers, for the soundtrack of the film Love, Simon (2018). He also served as an executive producer on the CBS sitcom Happy Together, which premiered in October 2018 and was inspired by his time living with television producer Ben Winston. In 2018, Styles began modelling for the Italian fashion house Gucci, appearing in several campaigns for the brand.
2019–2021: Fine Line
"Lights Up", the lead single from Styles's second album, Fine Line, was released in October 2019, debuting at number three in the UK. The song featured a "soft-touch re-entry into the pop slipstream", according to music writer Jon Caramanica. Styles served as both host and musical guest on Saturday Night Live in November. The second single preceding Fine Line, "Adore You", was released in December, peaking at number seven in the UK and at number six in the US. That month, Styles again guest-hosted The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Fine Line was released on 13 December. The album was recorded at the Shangri-La studio in Malibu, California with the same production team behind Styles's debut album and featured a similar sound to Harry Styles while also incorporating elements of funk and soul. It received generally positive reviews from critics. The album peaked at number two in the UK and topped the US charts, breaking the record as the biggest sales debut from an English male artist in the US since Nielsen SoundScan began electronically tracking sales data in 1991. Singer-songwriter Stevie Nicks, who referred to Styles as "the son [she] never had", likened Fine Line to Fleetwood Mac's album Rumours and commented that it inspired her to write new music. Rolling Stone ranked it at number 491 in their 2020 list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Five other singles, "Falling", "Watermelon Sugar", "Golden", "Treat People with Kindness" and the title track, were released from the album. "Watermelon Sugar" became Styles's fourth UK top-ten single, peaking at number four, as well as his first number-one single in the US. A tour to support Fine Line, entitled Love On Tour, which was originally set to take place throughout 2020, was postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the 2020 Brit Awards, Styles was nominated for British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year. In March 2020, he performed an NPR Tiny Desk concert, and in July, he narrated a bedtime story titled Dream with Me for the relaxation app Calm. Later that year, Styles won the Favorite Pop/Rock Album award for Fine Line at the 48th American Music Awards, the Best International Artist award at the 34th ARIA Music Awards, and the Chart Achievement Award at the 27th Billboard Music Awards. He was also named Variety's Hitmaker of the Year. At the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in March 2021, he received three nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album (Fine Line), Best Pop Solo Performance ("Watermelon Sugar") and Best Music Video ("Adore You"), winning for Best Pop Solo Performance. "Watermelon Sugar" also earned Styles his second Brit Award for British Single of the Year during the 2021 ceremony. At the 2021 Ivor Novello Awards, "Adore You" won the award for Most Performed Work. Styles made a cameo appearance as Eros / Starfox, brother of Thanos, in the mid-credits scene of the Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero film Eternals, which was released in November 2021. He launched his cosmetics brand, Pleasing, that month.
2022: Harry's House and further acting roles
The lead single from Styles' third studio album Harry's House, titled "As It Was", was released on 1 April 2022. It debuted atop the UK and US charts, becoming his second solo number one single in both countries.[Styles headlined the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival later that month, ahead of the release of Harry's House on 20 May. He is also set to star as Jack in the upcoming psychological thriller film Don't Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde, and will portray the titular character in My Policeman, a film adaptation of the 2012 novel of the same name.