Who Is Harry Styles?
Born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England, on February 1, 1994, Harry Styles first sang in a band in a school competition. In 2010 he performed on the television show The X Factor, where the judges combined him with four other young male singers to form One Direction. The boy band became a pop music sensation, delivering hits like "Best Song Ever" and "Story of My Life" through five immensely successful studio albums. Styles then made a solo splash in 2017 with his debut single, "Sign of the Times," and a self-titled album.
Childhood and School Years
Harry Edward Styles was born on February 1, 1994, in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, in the West Midlands region of England. His parents, Des and Anne, divorced when he was 7 years old. He and his sister Gemma were brought up by their mother in the town of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. His mother was later remarried, to Robin Twist.
Styles attended Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, where he and three of his friends formed a band called White Eskimo. Styles was White Eskimo's lead singer, and the band was popular enough to win a band competition at their school. After school and on weekends, Styles worked at the W. Mandeville bakery in Holmes Chapel.
'The X Factor'
In 2010, when he was 16 years old, Harry competed in the seventh season of the television show The X Factor, singing Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" as his audition song and Oasis' "Stop Crying Your Heart Out" in a later round. He was cut before the finals, but in a surprise move, judges Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell put him together with fellow competitors Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik to form a new group act for the remainder of the competition.
Performing as One Direction (a name reportedly suggested by Styles), the five boys became one of the most popular contenders in the X Factor finals that season. Although they finished the competition in third place, they were immediately signed to Cowell's Syco music label.
Styles, the youngest member of One Direction, became a fan favorite for his curly hair, wide smile and sweet-yet-naughty demeanor. He sang some of the lead vocals on the band's first single, "What Makes You Beautiful," which was released in September 2011 in the United Kingdom. One Direction's debut album, Up All Night, was a best seller in both the United Kingdom and the United States the following year. In another highlight of 2012, Styles and the rest of One Direction performed at the Olympics closing ceremony in London.
Styles went on to enjoy immense success with his bandmates, One Direction following Up All Night with Take Me Home (2012), Midnight Memories (2013) and Four (2014), all debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The group's final album, Made in the A.M., just missed the cut by arriving at No. 2 in 2015, before the band split for a lengthy hiatus.
Solo Star: 'Sign of the Times' and 'Harry Styles'
Styles made a successful solo entry in 2017 with the epic single "Sign of the Times," his accompanying self-titled album debuting in the familiar No. 1 spot. Fans then waited another two years for his next single, which came in October 2019 with the soulful "Lights Up." Shortly before the release of his sophomore solo album, Fine Line, the singer announced plans for his 2020 Love On Tour.
After appearing in concert documentaries with One Direction, Styles made his feature film debut in Christopher Nolan's 2017 war thriller Dunkirk, as an Allied solider named Alex.
Dating and Romance
Known as "the flirt" of One Direction, Styles' romantic relationships were followed obsessively by the press and fans as he rose to fame. In 2011 he began dating television presenter Caroline Flack, whom he met when he was competing on The X Factor and she was hosting its companion show, The Xtra Factor. The difference in their ages—Styles was 17 at the time, and Flack was 32—became the subject of discussion.
Styles was then romantically linked to photographer Sarah-Louise Colivet, models Emma Ostilly and Cara Delevingne, and singers Lily Halpern and Rita Ora. His most-publicized relationship of 2012 was a two-month liaison with pop star Taylor Swift, the experience allegedly fueling a couple of Swift's songs. Styles later dated French model Camille Rowe.
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