Harry Styles has embarked on a solo musical journey that is already off to a great start. With the release of his first song as a solo artist "Sign of the Times," the One Direction singer has given his fans a taste of what they can expect from him from this point forward and given them a glimpse of what goes on inside his head with his latest in-depth interview with Rolling Stone.
— Harry Styles. (@Harry_Styles) April 18, 2017
There is an air of mystery that surrounds H, from his barely active Instagram presence to his rare appearance on Twitter, fans are always left wanting more from the singer and that has been his intention all along. Below you can find some of the fascinating things Harry revealed in his in-depth interview about himself and this brand new era of his life.
How does Harry really feel about his teenage fans?
"Who's to say that young girls who like pop music – short for popular, right? – have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That's not up to you to say. Music is something that's always changing. There's no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they're not serious? How can you say young girls don't get it? They're our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans – they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool.' They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick."
Harry opens up about his first real girlfriend
"My first proper girlfriend used to have one of those laughs. There was also a little bit of mystery with her because she didn't go to our school. I just worshipped the ground she walked on. And she knew, probably to a fault, a little. That was a tough one. I was 15. She used to live an hour and a half away on the train, and I worked in a bakery for three years. I'd finish on Saturdays at 4:30 and it was a 4:42 train, and if I missed it there wasn't one for another hour or two. So I'd finish and sprint to the train station. Spent 70 percent of my wages on train tickets. Later, I'd remember her perfume. Little things. I smell that perfume all the time. I'll be in a lift or a reception and say to someone, 'Alien, right?' And sometimes they're impressed and sometimes they're a little creeped out. 'Stop smelling me.'"
Note to self: Order Harry's ex's favorite perfume immediately.
Harry's thoughts on ex-bandmate Zayn Malik
Zayn has repeatedly said how dissatisfied he was with the type of music One Direction was making. "I think it's a shame he felt that way, but I never wish anything but luck to anyone doing what they love," Harry said. "If you're not enjoying something and need to do something else, you absolutely should do that. I'm glad he's doing what he likes, and good luck to him."
Harry's thoughts on writing his songs
"I didn't want to write 'stories. I wanted to write my stories, things that happened to me. The number-one thing was I wanted to be honest. I hadn't done that before. I wanted to step up. There were songs I wanted to write and record, and not just have it be 'Here's a demo I wrote.' Every decision I've made since I was 16 was made in a democracy. I felt like it was time to make a decision about the future … and maybe I shouldn't rely on others."
"The one subject that hits the hardest is love, whether it's platonic, romantic, loving it, gaining it, losing it … it always hits you hardest. I don't think people want to hear me talk about going to bars, and how great everything is. The champagne popping … who wants to hear about it? I don't want to hear my favorite artists talk about all the amazing sh-t they get to do. I want to hear, 'How did you feel when you were alone in that hotel room because you chose to be alone?'"
It was Harry's idea for One Direction to take a break
"I didn't want to exhaust our fan base. If you're shortsighted, you can think, 'Let's just keep touring,' but we all thought too much of the group than to let that happen. You realize you're exhausted and you don't want to drain people's belief in you. I love the band, and would never rule out anything in the future. The band changed my life, gave me everything."
Why H chooses to be mysterious.
"With an artist like Prince, all you wanted to do was know more. And that mystery – it's why those people are so magical! That mystery … it's just what I like. I like to separate my personal life and work. It helps, I think, for me to compartmentalize. It's not about trying to make my career longer like I'm trying to be this 'mysterious character,' because I'm not. When I go home, I feel like the same person I was at school. You can't expect to keep that if you show everything. There's the work and the personal stuff, and going between the two is my favorite shit. It's amazing to me."
The inspiration behind "Sign of the Times"
"Most of the stuff that hurts me about what's going on at the moment is not politics, it's fundamentals. Equal rights. For everyone, all races, sexes, everything. … 'Sign of the Times' came from 'This isn't the first time we've been in a hard time, and it's not going to be the last time.' The song is written from a point of view as if a mother was giving birth to a child and there's a complication. The mother is told, 'The child is fine, but you're not going to make it.' The mother has five minutes to tell the child, 'Go forth and conquer.'"
Why he chooses to stay authentic
"People romanticize places they can't get to themselves. That's why it's fascinating when people go dark. You romanticize those people, sometimes out of proportion. It's the same with music. You want a piece of that darkness, to feel their pain but also to step back into your own [safer] life. I can't say I had that. I had a really nice upbringing. I feel very lucky. I had a great family and always felt loved. There's nothing worse than an inauthentic tortured person."
Harry Styles lived in an attic
After becoming a member of One Direction, Harry lived in TV producer Ben Winston and his wife's attic and slept on a mattress for 20 months while he was trying to buy a house of his own.
Harry Styles on his parents and his future
"I think, as a parent, especially with the band stuff, it was such a roller coaster," he says. "I feel like they were always thinking, 'OK, this ride could stop at any point and we're going to have to be there when it does.' There was something about playing the album and how happy I was that told them, 'If all I get is to make this music, I'm content. If I'm never on that big ride again, I'm happy and proud of it.'
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