One Direction: Where Are They Now?

by Nicole Iuzzolino
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In 2010, five British/Irish hopefuls competed on the 7th season of The X Factor. Not succeeding as solo acts, Simon Cowell grouped the five together. Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik created the band One Direction.

While competing, they steadily gained a following of young teenagers, which only seemed to grow as they progressed through the show. Despite the following, the five boys placed third overall. In their eyes, their dreams were over, but Simon Cowell had a different plan. He signed them to his record label, Syco Records and watched their careers take off.

Over the years, the band created five albums, won around 200 different awards, had four world tours with many sold out arenas and stadiums and became the first band in the United States to have their first four albums shoot to number one on the Billboard 200.

As a result of the departure of Zayn Malik in 2015, the band announced their hiatus in early 2016. As the boys each began to find their own paths, it became clear that the hiatus would not end.

It is now 2020, officially 10 years of One Direction, and fans from all over are coming together to relive the memories these boys bestowed upon their adoring fans.

Furthermore, a lot can happen in 10 years, whether it be scandals, relationship dramas or their solo careers. What have the boys of One Direction been up to in the past 10 years?

Harry Styles

After announcing One Direction’s Hiatus, Harry Styles signed with Colombia Records to pursue a solo career. in 2017, Harry Styles released his self titled album which helped solidify his career as a solo artist. Hit songs such as “Sweet Creature”, “Kiwi” and more specifically “Sign of the Times”, topped the Billboard 100 chart. Harry Styles even performed “Kiwi” at the 2017 Victoria Secret Fashion Show. In 2019 his second album “Fine Line” was released with even more fan favorite songs such as “Watermelon Sugar”, “Adore You”, and “Lights Up”. He repeatedly mentioned in interviews that this album is about, “having sex and feeling sad.” But even bigger than that, it is about personal growth as a man and as a musician.

Besides music, Harry Styles made his acting debut in Dunkirk, where he played a British soldier during World War II. On television he guest hosted The Late Late Show with James Cordon, and then tried his hand at modeling for Gucci in 2018.

In 2019, Harry Styles became one of the youngest people to be named co-chair of the Met Gala alongside, Lady Gaga, Serena Williams and Alessandro Michele. Styles took the Met Gala by storm with a black, sheer, ruffly blouse, tapered high waisted pants and a single pearl earring.

This is not the first time Harry Styles has broken down the walls of sexuality and societal standards. He repeatedly wears outfits that would not be considered “manly” by societies standards; pathing a way for all male entertainers in the future.

Niall Horan

In 2016, Niall Horan co-founded Modest! Golf, a company that manages elite clients of all aspects of their career. The company signed a variety of golfers and gained its first European tour win with Guido Migliozzi. That same year, Horan signed with Capital Records and released his debut single “This Town”. Upon its release it peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. His second single “Slow Hands” gained the same level of success.

in 2017, Niall Horan began his worldwide tour called the Flicker Sessions, where he began to promote the release of his album. While on tour he released hit singles “Seeing Blind” with Maren Morris, “On My Own” and “Too Much To Ask”.

In October of 2017 Flicker was finally released and he embarked on another world tour in 2018. The same year, Niall released a song called “Finally Free” for the film Smallfoot.

in 2019 Horan began releasing his new batch of singles with songs such as “Nice To Meet Ya”, “Put A Little Love On Me” and “No Judgement”. On March 13th, 2020, his second album Heartbreak Weather was released. This album landed at number four on the US Billboard 200 and number one in the UK.

Liam Payne

Immediately after One Direction, Liam Payne began working as a producer under the names “Big Payno” and ” Payno”.

As a result, Liam was able to produce a variety of songs such as “I Don’t Care” for Cheryl Cole and wrote one of her songs “Only Human” under these nicknames.

Payne began collaborating with Juicy J, Dj Mustard, Miguel and Pharrell Williams. In 2016, Liam Payne signed a record deal with Republic Records. That same year, Payne and Cheryl Cole, one of the judges from his season of the X Factor, began dating.

His first single, “Strip That Down”, was released in May of 2017, featuring Quavo and co-written with Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac. The single instantly rose to the top ten spot on the Billboard 200. In 2017 he welcomed his first child with Cole; a baby boy named Bear. His next two singles, “Bedroom Floor” and “Get Low” with Zedd were released that same year.

In addition, he was featured on the Fifty Shades Freed album with Rita Ora for the song “For You”.

Finally, On December 6, 2019 his debut album LP1 was released and it received a number of negative reviews, despite being pushed back multiple times to be reworked on.

Zayn Malik

A couple months after the debut of their fourth album Four, Zayn Malik announced his departure from the band. He stated that he wanted to live as a, “normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”

In July of 2015, Zayn announced that he signed with RCA Records. However just a year later, in 2016, his first single “Pillow Talk” was released. With this song, Malik became the first UK singer to be on the Hot 100 with their first single. That same year, he released his hit album Mind of Mine. The album shot to number one in multiple countries, including the United States which gave him the title of being the first British, male, solo artist to claim the number one spot with his first album.

Due to this rising success, Zayn Malik was featured in a variety of musical hits in films. “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” for the 50 Shades Darker film and “A Whole New World” for the remake of Aladdin gained massive success. In 2019 he released his second album Icarus Falls.

Moreover, it gained favorable reviews but was not as a commercial success.

As of currently Zayn Malik and on and off again girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, are having their first baby.

Louis Tomlinson

After the planned hiatus of One Direction, Louis Tomlinson released “Just Hold On”, a collaborative song with DJ Steve Aoki. In 2017 Tomlinson released his next single “Back To You” with Bebe Rexha, which then peaked at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. That same year he released two promotional singles, “Just Like You” and “Miss You”.

In between making music, Tomlinson became a judge for the US version of “The X Factor”.

Furthermore, Louis won that season with Dalton Harris, becoming the shows first former contestant to win the whole show.

In 2019, Louis released his next song, “The Two Of Us”. This song was dedicated to his mother who unfortunately passed away from a long battle with cancer in 2016. That same year, Louis’s youngest sister passed away from an accidental overdose.

After the release of a few more hit singles, his first solo album “Walls” was released with moderate reviews. With this, Louis was able to solidify himself as a solo artist.

One Direction and Their Legacy

One Direction defined the 2010’s with their cheeky singles, prompting every teenage fan to swoon instantly. As fans look back on those days, it is hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia or yearning to relive those moments.


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