Harry Styles is the second member of UK boy band One Direction to land a solo recording contract, following Zayn Malik's contract with RCA Records last July.
While Malik officially left the band three months prior to signing, Harry Styles is still technically a member of One Direction. Rumors of solo careers were swirling even before One Direction announced its "temporary hiatus" in January of this year, but Styles is the first to put pen to paper Billboard reports. He's signed with Columbia Records, the label that handled much of One Direction's US business (they were primarily signed to Simon Cowell's UK label Syco Records).
one direction is technically still on "temporary hiatus"
There are no details about when Styles' debut solo album might be coming, or indication as to whether this means One Direction is done for good, but you'll certainly see plenty of speculation if you make a well-phrased Tumblr search. The band is a social media behemoth, on which the well of crowd-sourced theories is virtually bottomless.
The other members of One Direction are also working on solo business pursuits — Niall Horan has started a golf management company, Louis Tomlinson recently founded his own record label under the Syco umbrella, and Liam Payne has started dabbling in production under the somewhat embarrassing moniker "Big Payno."
Styles is also currently filming Dunkirk, a World War II drama directed by Christopher Nolan, and has been rumored to appear in the upcoming season of Fox's Scream Queens.
As a group, One Direction churned out five albums in five years and became an unprecedented trans-Atlantic commercial success. Practically the only accomplishment they never achieved was a single that debuted at number one on the Billboard charts — a feat that Zayn Malik managed with his first solo track, "Pillowtalk." Styles and Malik always seemed fated to duke it out for the band's Justin Timberlake spot, as Malik boasted what was undeniably the best voice of the group and Styles is a charismatic personality huge enough to inspire an entire Taylor Swift album.
What will 2017 be called? Boy Band Bowl? The Year of Two Directions? In any case, you should probably give Malik's Mind of Mine a listen before you place your bets.