Biography of Harry Styles

Harry Styles
Harry Styles. Photo by Steve Jennings / WireImage

Harry Styles ( born February 1, 1994 ) is a singer-songwriter who became a member of the boy band One Direction after being eliminated as a solo contestant on the UK music competition show X Factor. With four bandmates, he became part of one of the biggest boy bands of all time. Harry Styles released his first solo single in April 2017.

Early Years

Harry Styles was born in Redditch, Worcestershire, England. His father worked in finance. His family moved to Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England where he grew up and attended school. Harry Styles' parents divorced when he was seven, and his mother remarried. He has and older sister and a stepbrother. While attending school, he was the lead vocalist for a band called White Eskimo that won a local band competition.

Personal Life

Harry Styles has been involved in two high profile dating relationships. From November 2011 to January 2012, he dated Caroline Flack, a presenter on the UK's The Xtra Factor. Their relationship was criticized for the fact that there was a 14-year age gap, and Harry Styles was only 17 at the time.

From October 2012 through January 2013, he dated singer Taylor Swift. After they broke up, Taylor Swift described the relationship as "fragile" and full of "anxiety and roadblocks." The songs "Style" and "Out of the Woods" on Taylor Swift's 1989 were inspired by their relationship. The latter song references a December 2012 snowmobile accident experienced by the pair. In a 2017 interview published in Rolling Stone, Harry Styles said, "Certain things don't work out. There's a lot of things that can be right, and it's still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together. You're celebrating the fact that it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than this didn't work out, and that's bad."

X Factor

At age 16, Harry Styles auditioned as a solo artist for X Factor in April 2010. He performed Stevie Wonder's song "Isn't She Lovely." Two of the judges, Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger, praised his performance and put him through to the next round while Louis Walsh expressed doubts. Ultimately, he was eliminated as a solo contestant when competitors were being selected for the "judges' houses" round. However, the judges suggested putting together a group consisting of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson. All had been eliminated as soloists, and they all said yes to forming the boy band One Direction. Ultimately, One Direction, coached by Simon Cowell, finished third on X Factor behind Matt Cardle and Rebecca Ferguson.

One Direction

One Direction were nearly an instant success. Shortly after the X Factor season ended, they were signed by Simon Cowell to a recording contact valued at an estimated two million pounds. They began recording their debut album in January 2011 flying to Los Angeles to work with producer RedOne. An official group biography was published in February and it topped the UK bestsellers list. 

One Direction's debut single "What Makes You Beautiful" was released in September 2011. It went to #1 on the UK pop singles chart. It was officially released in the US in February 2012 and landed inside the top 5. Released in March 2012, the group's first album Up All Night became the first ever by a British group to debut at #1 on the US albums chart.

The success of One Direction proved to be more durable than many boy bands. Their first four albums all debuted at #1 on the album chart. Six of the group's singles hit the top 10 on the US pop singles chart. At home in the UK a stunning fourteen songs reached the pop singles chart top 10. In order to work on individual projects, One Direction announced a hiatus beginning in January 2016. 

As early as 2014, Harry Styles was listed as a co-songwriter on songs recorded by other artists. The song "Just a Little Bit Of Your Heart" co-written with Johan Carlsson, of Swedish-American band Carolina Liar, was included on Ariana Grande's album My Everything. Alex & Sierra, winners of the third season of X Factor USA, recorded another Styles-Carlsson composition "I Love You" for their debut album It's About Us. In 2016, Michael Buble recorded "Someday," a duet with Meghan Trainor for his album Nobody But Me. It was co-written by Trainor and Harry Styles.

Solo Single

  • 2017 - "Sign Of the Times" - Harry Styles' debut single as a solo artist was co-written with a team that included producer Jeff Bhasker, known for his work with fun and Kanye West, and frequent collaborators Alex Salibian and Tyler Johnson. Rumors about Harry Styles' solo career began in 2015 when negotiations began with Sony Music for release of a solo album. "Sign Of the Times" is a piano ballad, and observers have noted that it is heavily reminiscent of early 1970s British rock. Many have noted the influence of David Bowie. Upon release in April 2017, "Sign Of the Times" temporarily knocked Ed Sheeran from the top of the UK pop singles chart. In the US, it debuted at #4. Harry Styles performed the song live on Saturday Night Live April 15, 2017. The song will be included on Harry Styles' self-titled debut album set for a May 2017 release. 


In addition to his musical aspirations, Harry Styles is also interested in acting. His film debut is in the World War II drama Dunkirk set to be released in July 2017. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film will also star Kenneth Branagh, Tom Hardy, and Mark Rylance. Co-stars have made positive public statements about Harry Styles' acting talents. Harry Styles has also been recognized for his interest in fashion. GQ magazine listed him as one of the 50 Best Dressed Men for 2017. 

Rumors flourished that Harry Styles would be the first member to leave One Direction due to his high profile as a major heartthrob. However, Zayn Malik was the first to leave, and Harry Styles stuck with the group until the 2016 hiatus began. Although his initial solo release was beaten to the market by Niall Horan, most observers peg Harry Styles as the group member with highest potential to be an enduring solo star.