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Harry Edward Styles (born 1 February 1994) is an English singer, songwriter, and actor. His musical career began in 2010 when he auditioned for the British singing competition The X Factor. He was eliminated early on, but was brought back to form the boy bandOne Direction. The band finished in third place and signed with Syco. They earned four number-one studio albums on the Billboard 200, and earned four top-five singles on the Billboard Hot 100. They embarked on four world tours and won a number of accolades. The band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016.
Harry Edward Styles was born on 1 February 1994 in Redditch, Worcestershire. He is the son of Anne Cox (née Selley) and Desmond "Des" Styles, who worked in finance. Many of his ancestors were farm labourers in Norfolk. Styles was raised in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, after his parents moved there along with his older sister, Gemma, when he was a child. His earliest memory is of going to Disney World. He attended Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School. Styles's parents divorced when he was seven and his mother later was remarried to Robin Twist, who died of cancer in 2017. Styles has an older stepbrother named Mike and a stepsister named Amy, children of Twist. As a sixteen-year-old, he worked part-time at the W. Mandeville Bakery in Holmes Chapel.
As a child, Styles loved singing, covering songs from Elvis Presley. While at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive, Styles was the lead singer for the band White Eskimo, which won a local Battle of the Bands competition.
2010-2015: The X Factor and One Direction
Styles (left) with One Direction on The X Factor Live Tour in 2011
Following a suggestion from his mother, on 11 April 2010, Styles auditioned as a solo contestant for the seventh series of the British televised singing competition The X Factor, singing a rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely". He advanced to bootcamp, but failed to progress to the "Boys" category at "judges' houses". Four others in his age group also failed, but they were put together as an ensemble in July 2010, during the "bootcamp" stage of the competition, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category.Nicole Scherzinger, a guest judge, and Simon Cowell have both claimed to have come up with the idea of forming the band. The group consisting of Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Zayn Malik, got together for two weeks to practise. Styles said he had suggested the name One Direction to his bandmates and they agreed to keep it. Within the first four weeks of the live shows, they were Cowell's last act in the competition. The group quickly gained popularity in the UK. In December 2010, One Direction finished The X Factor in third place behind Rebecca Ferguson and Matt Cardle, who won.
In January 2011, it was confirmed that One Direction had been signed by Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco Records record contract. One Direction's debut single, "What Makes You Beautiful", bowed at number one on the UK Singles Chart in September 2011, and their first studio album, Up All Night, was released two months later. One Direction became the first UK group to have their debut album reach number one in the United States. The album featured a multitude of writers, but included three songs written by Styles and his groupmates. In November 2012, One Direction released their second album, Take Me Home, which spawned the group's second number one single in the UK, "Little Things". Styles briefly dated American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift in the year of its release, leading to fan and media speculation about them writings songs about each other after their break-up. At around this period, Styles lived in the attic of producer Ben Winston's home in Hampstead Heath, London, for 20 months while he looked for his own house.
His self-titled debut album was released in May 2017, whereupon it debuted at number one in several countries, including the UK, US, and Australia. The record was heavily influenced by 1970s soft rock and was described by Variety as a "classic cocktail of psychedelia, Britpop, and balladry". The other singles from the album are "Two Ghosts" and "Kiwi".Harry Styles received generally favourable reviews from critics, and was included in several publications' lists of the best albums of 2017. The film, Harry Styles: Behind the Album, which documented the writing and recording process for the album, was released in May exclusively on Apple Music. In support of the album, Styles embarked on his first headlining concert tour, Harry Styles: Live on Tour, from September 2017 through to July 2018, performing in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The tour setlist included covers of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain", several One Direction songs, as well as previously unreleased material.
"Lights Up", the lead single from Styles' second album, was released in October 2019. It features a "soft-touch re-entry into the pop slipstream" according to music writer Jon Caramanica. On 22 October, Styles mentioned the song title "Watermelon Sugar" in a tweet.
Regarding Styles' time in One Direction, AllMusic writer Tim Sendra opined his "charming persona and elastic vocals had him positioned as the Timberlake of the group." Styles seemed "a dimpled, rakish prankster happy to wear the mantle of Class Clown... maybe because he knew that Most Likely to Succeed belonged to him too," said Entertainment Weeklys Leah Greenblatt. During public appearances, Styles' fashion evolution has traded "teen-friendly" Jack Wills tracksuits for a selection of Saint Laurent, Burberry and Gucci, appearing in a number of campaigns for the latter.
As his time in the band progressed, the singer started wearing skinny jeans and boots. For Billboards Chris Payne, "From his influences to his fashion to his onstage persona to his (formerly) flowing locks, Styles' vibe has always screamed rock star." The same publication noted over the course of his five-year stint with the group, Styles' taste in fashion "has blossomed from a teen wearing purple Jack Wills hoodies to a carefully executed blend of '70s rock with a glamorous magpie feel." In September 2016, Styles appeared on the cover of Another Man magazine, prompting an editor from The Guardian to label the lack of shirtlessness and the focus on fashion for a niche publication as the death of a "heartthrob" and birth of an "artthrob". During his debut solo album promotions in 2017, Styles opted for "candyfloss" pink suits, printed satin flares, gradually heightening heels, a style described as "flamboyant look". Regarding his favouritism for pink, he quoted The Clash's Paul Simonon in an interview: "Pink is the only true rock & roll colour." According to fashion designer Michael Kors, "Harry is the modern embodiment of British rocker style: edgy, flamboyant and worn with unapologetic swagger."
He was ranked first and fifth in 2016 and 2017 respectively on British Vogue's "The 50 Fittest Boys". He was voted the "Sexiest Male in Pop" for 2016, 2017, and 2018 in a poll by British radio network Capital. In 2018, Styles was voted fourth by British GQ on their list of "50 best-dressed men".
Styles has dozens of tattoos and had the words "Late Late" tattooed onto his arm during an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden in 2015. In May 2019, Styles was named second on the Sunday Times Rich List of musicians in the UK under 30, with an estimated net worth of £58 million, having previously featured third on the previous year's list.
In 2013, Styles along with One Direction member Liam Payne became ambassadors for the cancer charity Trekstock, and raised more than $800,000 through the online fundraising platform Prizeo. In 2015, Styles sponsored water wells in India via Drop4Drop in support of Life Water's World Water Day campaign. In 2016, Styles donated his hair to the UK charity Little Princess Trust, which supplies and funds high quality wigs made of real hair to children who have hair loss as a result of cancer treatment or other illnesses. In 2017, to celebrate the release of his debut album, Styles played intimate shows at The Garage in London and at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, with all proceeds benefiting charities. In October the same year, Styles alongside other artists performed at CBS Radio's 5th Annual We Can Survive concert at the Hollywood Bowl, held in honour of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with proceeds going to Young Survival Coalition. By the end of his first tour in 2018, Styles had raised $1.2 million in charity donations from a portion of ticket and merchandise sales and Live Nation's contributions for 62 charities around the world. During the tour, Styles led a major effort in water conservation that saved upwards of 13,000 single-use water bottles, and recycled more than 6,500 gallons of water from buses, dressing rooms and other backstage areas.
Styles has supported various causes and social movements. He has been a long-standing advocate for equality and an ardent supporter of the LGBT community and is frequently seen waving the rainbow flag on stage. In 2018, he released T-shirts with the slogan "Treat People With Kindness" in a rainbow print in celebration of Pride Month, with all proceeds benefiting GLSEN. Styles has also advocated for gender equality and stricter gun control in the United States.
^Weingarten, Christopher R.; Spanos, Brittany; Aaron, Charles; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Sheffield, Rob (29 November 2017). "50 Best Songs of 2017". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 15 September 2018. Retrieved 2017.
^Weingarten, Christopher R.; Dolan, Jon; Shteamer, Hank; Spanos, Brittany; Exposito, Suzy; Hudak, Joseph; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Harris, Keith; Johnston, Maura; Levy, Joe; Hermes, Will; Sheffield, Rob (27 November 2017). "50 Best Albums of 2017". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 2018.