Harry Styles is often termed as the art throb and the fashion throb. His style statement is one that has been admired by critics, fans and many artists. National Public Radio called his dressing sense as “the finery of rock’s legacies” while GQ magazine called him “one of the best dressed men in the world” with “elegance and bold choices”.
Boy bands have always had a charm. It was August 15, 1965, when four boys from Liverpool, already quite famous, conquered America at the Shea Stadium in what would be termed the "Beatle Mania" by the press. Through the 70s and 80s, the likes of the Rolling Stones carried this forward and the 90s saw NSYNC and Backstreet Boys garner their steady fan base. This however faded away for a while before another UK boyband emerged - One Direction.
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Teenagers went gaga over the band members Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik. However, as is the case many a time, after the break up of the band, only one true star has emerged and yesterday the boy who loves Liverpool's football rival club Manchester United, Harry Styles announced himself as a serious musician after grabbing the top award at Grammy 2023 - Album of the Year, his second of the night.
Here is the story of the mercurial rise of the singer-songwriter after the split of One Direction in 2016.
As a solo artist Styles has to date released three albums in his career — Harry Styles (2017), Fine Lines (2019) and Harry’s House (2022). Though Styles still has a large following of young female fans from his One Direction days, his audience today is much broader and driven by the messaging he has created through his music.
A lyricist with vocals
Although fans did get to witness Harry’s vocals through One Direction’s first album ‘Up All Night’ it cannot be neglected that the album was often categorised as an upbeat collection of sickeningly sweet pop songs to rot your teeth and melt your heart.
Then there were some softer versions like “Little Things” and “They Don’t Know About Us” then with Midnight Memories the songs of One Direction took a serious tone.
However, after the split, Harry consciously announced himself as a solo artist - yes, the long locks were trimmed - with a very new and yet mature sound in ‘Sign of Times’ (2017) then with songs like “Woman” and “Kiwi”.
Harry’s creativity as a whole was witnessed in his next album, ‘Harry Styles’ which saw his songwriting taking a leap of maturity and his music reminded listeners of the Rolling Stones, Queen, Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, and Simon and Garfunkel, to name a few inspirations.
Styles' gritty vocals along with guitar riffs from Mitchell Rowland had now distinguished Styles' music from his past at One Direction.
‘Harry Styles’ felt comfortable and real. The songs in the album related to a wider audience than just teenage girls. The album had rock, pop, and indie genres influences at the same time.
Next up was Fine Line (2019) and this changed the game altogether. Fine Lines, as many music pundits wrote, felt like a One Direction album with deeply impactful lyrics.
Then came Harry’s House, the album which won Styles accolades yesterday at the Grammy's. The amalgamation of 80s pop with American alt-rock makes Harry’s House stand out.
Harry Styles accepts the award for the best pop vocal album for "Harry's House" at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Los Angeles. Jennifer Lopez looks on from the far right. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Lyrics like - "If I was a bluebird/I would fly to you/You’d be the spoon/Dip you in honey so I could be sticking to you” (Daylight, 2022) showcased Styles evolving within the romance genre.
The Styles ‘Style’
Apart from his music, Harry Styles is often termed an "art throb" and a "fashion throb". . His style statement has been admired by critics, fans and many artists. National Public Radio called his dressing sense “the finery of rock’s legacies” while GQ magazine called him “one of the best-dressed men in the world” with “elegance and bold choices”.
From donning crop tops, sequin gowns, oversized shirts to painting his nails Harry has given the David Bowie, Leonardo Di Caprio, Freddie Mercury and Robbie Williams vibe. Bowie wore a "man dress" for the cover of his album The Man Who Sold the World in 1970. On the cover of Vogue in 2020, Styles wore a custom-made lace gown from Gucci suggesting the influence.
"I used to wear all black all of the time. But I was realizing
"So, I think
Styles' dressing sense is inspired by the old classics and is also reflected in his music. The singer, who has been on a never-ending world tour after pandemic restrictions were lifted, has often been seen performing his song ‘Treat People With Kindness', draped in a pride flag showing the inclusivity towards the LGBTQIA+ community.
Although he has been questioned about his sexuality a lot and is sometimes blamed for queer batting or capitalising from the queer community, there is no denying the fact that Styles has become a fashion icon standing for genderless fashion and an open ally to the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Celluloid Persona
Styles has accomplished something that very few people are able to do: he has maintained a strongly distinctive individuality while also being the fun jolly colourful vibe that we need from artists.
Styles has dabbled with acting quite a few times already and though he maintains that music is his main passion, a third career door, music and fashion is the first two, is also clearly open.
The singer-songwriter was first spotted in Cristopher Nolan's acclaimed Dunkirk and since has done two interesting lead roles in films like, 'My Policeman' and 'Don't Worry Darling'. And yes, there was a blink-and-miss appearance in Marvel's Eternals as Thor's younger brother, Starfox.
Yes, the Harry Styles stardom era is just setting in.
(Edited by : Abhishek Jha)
First Published: Feb 7, 2023 1:53 PM IST
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