Solo Careers of One Direction Members

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Katelyn Giangregorio

The band One Direction consisted of originally five members, before one member decided to leave in early 2015. The band originated in 2010 from the show ‘ The X Factor UK’ when judge Simon Cowell made the decision to take the five solo artists and create the band. Since then, the band has increasingly gained popularity in the last 10 years despite going on a hiatus in late 2015 to pursue solo careers. Metro Newspaper stated, “From R&B bangers, acoustic-tinged confessionals and big, dramatic rock ballads, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan have certainly kept us entertained since the start of 1D’s indefinite hiatus in 2016.” Each of the boys have gone separate ways but manage to find success in the media world.


Zayn Malik, the first member to leave the band in March 2015, signed a solo contract with RCA Records. The up and coming solo artist released his first solo album “Mind of Mine” in 2016. More recently, he came out with his second solo album “Icarus Falls” in 2018. Though Zayn is producing new music, he is yet to tour solo. Zayn and his girlfriend Gigi Hadid welcomed a baby in September 2020 and seem to be enjoying time away from the spotlight, according to GQ, where he stated “I don’t want to be a star”.


The second member to start on his solo career was Harry Styles when he signed to Columbia Records in June 2016. Since then, Styles has dropped two solo albums. His first album was self-titled in 2017, and his second album “Fine Line” released in December 2019. You may be familiar with Styles’ song “Watermelon Sugar” as it was number 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Peak for 7 weeks and has been on the charts for 32 weeks now. Harry has toured worldwide for ‘Harry Styles – Live on Tour’ in 2017-2018, and will be performing on tour in 2021-2022 for ‘Love on Tour’. Harry has been experimenting within his solo career, and according to, Erica Gonzala states “The “Watermelon Sugar” singer has nabbed a role in the Olivia Wilde-helmed Don’t Worry Darling, alongside Florence Pugh and Chris Pine, Deadline reports”. This is the second film he has taken part in, next to Dunkirk, released in 2017.


Following Harry, Niall Horan signed with Capitol Records in September 2016. In October 2017, he released his first album “Flicker”, and more recently in March 2020 he released his second album “Heartbreak Weather”. Horan, the only Irish member of the band, has been quite successful as he is exploring his solo career. So far, he has had two tours, ‘Flicker Sessions’ in 2017, and ‘Flicker World Tour’ in 2018. 


The last two members to begin their solo careers Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson. Liam signed to Republic Records in October 2016, and released only one album so far,  titled LP1. It was released December 6, 2019 and though he only has one album, he has collaborated with many other artists for singles and EP’s. Liam has not toured on his own quite yet, but he has performed live numerous times at various events. According to Capital FM, Liam also co-parents with his ex girlfriend Cheryl Cole as they welcomed their son Bear in 2017.


Louis is now signed with Arista Records after previously being signed with Syco Records and Epic Records. The start to his career after One Direction was difficult due to the passing of his mother, and sister. He took it to his music to write about his feelings and describe his hardships. Louis came out with his debut album ‘Walls’ in 2020 and continuously released singles with other artists. Louis’ album climbed the charts and was number one in 53 countries. Unfortunately, his first tour was postponed after only two shows in Europe due to the ongoing pandemic.


Each member has displayed success within their solo careers, and it is undeniable that they are passionate about their new music and ideas. Currently, it is unknown if the group will ever come back together as one, but the individuals are thriving through their own careers.