In a new interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio, Harry Styles opened up about the transformative and emotional period that led to the creation of his third solo studio album Harry’s House, out May 20.
For Styles, one of the most essential elements of creating the record consisted of making up for lost time — and not just what was lost to the pandemic. Styles reflected on the whirlwind start to his career when he was sorted into One Direction as a teenager and the lighting speed he maintained after going solo.
“You miss so many birthdays and stuff like that. And then eventually, it’s just assumed that you’re unable to be at stuff,” Styles told Lowe. “And I think that was one of the things where I was like, ‘Oh, I want to take a second to invest some more time into balancing my life out a little bit.’ This working is not everything about who I am, it’s something I do. And I don’t want to be defined as a person necessarily by what I do all the time. I want to be able to put that down.”
He added: “And for a really long time, I didn’t really know who I was if I didn’t do this. And that’s really scary because you go like, ‘OK, well if this ends, am I going to be good at handling it? What am I going to feel like?’ And I think it just gave me an opportunity to get comfortable with who I am and get to know that person a little bit more. And putting out the first single from this album was far and away the most relaxed I’ve ever felt putting anything out. I no longer feel like my overall happiness is dependent on whether a song goes here or goes here.”
At age 28, the singer said he is still coming to terms with the past decade of his career in the public eye and is just now learning how to live in the moment after years of being unable to celebrate the highs or process the lows, especially during his One Direction days.
“We’d go through real highs in the band and stuff, and it would always just feel like a relief. Like, ‘Oh, we didn’t fail. That feels like a massive relief.’ I never really felt like I celebrated anything,” Styles said. “And I had a great time. Like, truly. And I think sometimes, with therapy as an example, is you open a bunch of doors in your house that you didn’t know existed, you find all these rooms and you get to explore them. And then in a time when it would be easier to emotionally coast, you can no longer do that. Because you know the room exists and the scale has just widened. And you feel everything that’s bad so much harder, you feel the good moments so much harder.”
The singer also opened up about his former One Direction bandmates Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, and Liam Payne — some of the few people Styles said can genuinely understand his history. While they haven’t been publicly as close as they were in the years before the group disbanded, the de facto frontman nodded to the deep love they still share for each other.
“You know, I look at people who kind of went through some version of what we went through, but on their own. I’m like, I can’t imagine having done that, really,” he said. “I feel really lucky that we always had each other to be this unit that felt like you could keep each other in check and you could just have someone else who gets it. Because it’s impossible to not, at times. I think everyone experiences this, feel[ing] like, ‘Oh, everyone else is on the other side of the glass and I’m on this side of the glass, and no one really gets it.’ And I think having that is kind of priceless. I think there is very much a respect between all of us, if we did something together. And that is something that you can’t really undo. And you know, it’s like a very deep love for each other, I think.”