While his stay in the solo singing portion of the competition was short-lived, Cowell used his producer privileges to make a decision that would forever alter the path of Styles’ life and reverberate throughout the music industry in the years to come. He grabbed four other teen singers from the show who weren’t able to get far in the solo competition either—Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Zayn Malik—and united them with Styles, thus creating the band, One Direction (Styles is said to have come up with the name), right then and there. The new band entered the group stage of The X Factor, and while One Direction didn’t win the competition, they did turn heads. Cowell signed them to a recording contract, and they quickly began gathering fans during a tour throughout the British Isles with other X Factor contestants. Then they stepped into the recording studios and rolled out their debut album Up All Night in 2011. During the ensuing years, Styles and the band became global

superstars. They churned out five albums, crisscrossed the globe for four world tours, and frequently resided all over the Billboard charts nearly every time they released a new song. They even pulled off the unthinkable, breaking a Beatles record by having fiveTop 10 debuts among the Hot 100. The record-breaking song was titled “Perfect,” which also perfectly describes the career of Styles. At the end of 2015, amid a haze of stunning success, One Direction took a much-needed break that quickly turned into a breakup. For Styles, unquestionably the most talented among the five, it was time to venture out on his own. Curious and creative, he was excited to confront new challenges and ready to push boundaries while untangling himself from the boy band label that had been attached to everything he did. Styles began writing songs and recording music, and his fan base swelled, and the rave reviews tumbled in. His solo career was off and running and rocketing in one direction—straight to the top.



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