One Direction's Harry Styles continues to be the subject of rumors that he's planning a solo career. It's a rumor he and the other members of One Direction have repeatedly denied in interviews, but speculation intensified when Kodaline lead singer Steve Garrigan recently told Digital Spy that Styles contacted him to be a songwriting collaborator for a possible Harry Styles solo album: "It was really strange how they came about. He just turned up to a show, and he likes our music. We had a bit of free time and so we went to the studio and wrote a song. It was good fun. There are hundreds of songs flying around. It could be on his album if he does something, but I don't know. Nothing is set in stone."
Garrigan's mention that Styles is planning a solo album caused many One Direction fans to go into a frenzy on the Internet. However, if Styles is doing a solo album, that does not necessarily mean he is quitting One Direction. Gary Barlow of Take That and Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys are just two examples of members of boy bands who released solo albums without quitting the group.
This isn't the first time that it's been reported that Styles has done musical projects outside of One Direction. In June 2013, British singer/songwriter Sam McCarthy (lead singer of indie pop/rock band Burning Beaches) leaked on the Internet the song "Don't Let Me Go" featuring Styles on duet vocals. The song was quickly removed.
And in March 2014, the Daily Mirror reported that Styles and John Legend co-wrote a ballad for Alex & Sierra (winners of "The X Factor U.S. in 2013) for Alex & Sierra's first album, which is due out in 2014. The name of the song has not yet been announced.
Styles and the other members of One Direction have co-written several One Direction songs. Songwriters who have written or co-written One Direction songs include Ed Sheeran, McFly singer/guitarist Tom Fletcher, Julian Bunetta, Savan Kotecha, Carl Falk and Rami Yacoub.
As previously reported, different views on partying and the pressures of a meteoric rise to worldwide fame have caused the members of One Direction to drift apart behind the scenes, according to a Daily Mirror report that was published on May 31, 2014. Although the members of One Direction (who are all in their early 20s) will publicly deny that there are serious problems in the group, sources tell the tabloid that the group has divided into multiple factions, based on their loyalties and partying habits. Meanwhile, Styles (the One Direction member who gets the most attention from fans and the media) has been carefully planning his life after One Direction, which he views as a stepping stone to a larger solo career, according to the sources.
Unnamed insiders are telling the Daily Mirror and other tabloids that Styles is already acting like a solo artist, by traveling separately from the rest of One Direction and spending most of his free time away from the other members of the group. In interviews, the members of One Direction repeatedly deny that the group is breaking up or that any of the members is going solo.
Because One Direction is locked into contracts to make albums and do tours through at least 2018, the group probably won't be breaking up before then. However, the history of massively popular boy bands has shown time and again that they will either break up within 10 years after they were formed or one of the members will go solo or leave the group.
Many people are predicting that Styles will become another Justin Timberlake, who found fame as the breakout star in the boy band *NSYNC and went on to a Grammy-winning solo career and starring roles in movies after *NSYNC disbanded. Styles has similar ambitions, according to the Daily Mirror, which reports that Styles has already met with Hollywood agents to discuss a career in acting.
One Direction is the world's biggest-selling act to emerge from "The X Factor." The group was formed in 2010 by Simon Cowell and other "X Factor" decision makers who put five "X Factor" U.K. solo contestants (Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan) together in a group. After One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010, Cowell signed the group to Syco Music, the record company he co-owns with Sony Music. Since then, One Direction has had No. 1 hits and sold-out tours in numerous countries.
According to the Daily Mirror, the members of One Direction definitely do not travel as a united group: "They have two private jets: one for Harry, who prefers the quiet life while the other is the party plane. The same applies to their tour buses. Louis, Zayn and Liam lark about while Harry relaxes with scented candles. Niall likes to swap between the two. Harry spends little time with his band mates while they’re on tour."
Styles' family background is also different from the other One Direction members' backgrounds, since he grew up in an upper-middle-class environment, while the other members of One Direction have working-class roots. Insiders say that Styles is the member of the group who is coping with fame the best since he wants to have an even bigger career outside of One Direction.
An unnamed source told the Daily Mirror that Styles is the One Direction member who is the least likely to complain about One Direction's rigorous work schedule, while Tomlinson is the most likely to complain and rebel: “Harry’s goal is to have a future, that’s why he goes along with the One Direction roller-coaster without moaning. He gets on with it to ensure that Harry Styles is a global A-list star for the rest of his life.”
The source also commented, "Louis, Liam and Zayn often say that their mates who aren’t famous are enjoying life so much more than they are. They’re worked like dogs. They have such limited freedom. Things are beginning to implode. The boys have grown up but neither their fans nor management want them to. If they want another tattoo, they have to go at 2 a.m. in secret so the event doesn’t become global in 30 minutes. If they want to enjoy their time off outside a hotel room they fly to private islands. Only there are they safe from the chaos that is present in their everyday lives.”
July 14, 2014 update: According to the Daily Mail, Styles and Irish accountant Alan McEvoy have set up a new company called HSA Publishing Ltd., which has Styles and McEvoy as directors. Meanwhile, a One Direction spokesperson told E! News: "There are no plans for Harry to release any solo music at this time. Any writing that he is doing is for potential One Direction songs. It's common knowledge that the boys write separately and bring to each other for the album."