Harry Styles has told Music Week that he’s feeling more himself than ever before, as release day for his second solo album Fine Line looms.
The record is due this Friday (December 13) via Columbia and follows his self-titled solo debut, which peaked at No.1 in May 2017. Styles stars on the cover of the brand new issue of Music Week, out now.
We joined the singer in rehearsals with his band in London, while Sony Music Group CEO Rob Stringer and Styles’ manager Jeffrey Azoff dialled in from a rain-soaked New York to tell the story of a landmark campaign.
Our interview took place in the midst of a whirlwind week: the Adore You video trailer had just dropped and Styles was limbering up to perform on The Graham Norton Show and at Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball.
All this week, we’ll bring you exclusive content from our interviews with Styles, Stringer and Azoff, including extra, unseen quotes and content.
“The fact that the last album wasn’t necessarily a radio record, but I could tour it and people came to the shows and enjoyed them, made me feel I had freedom to make what I wanted to, and I wanted to make some fun songs,” Styles told Music Week, setting the scene for the tale of an album that took in sessions in California and the UK, with a close-knit team of collaborators led by Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon.
I went into this album with a freedom, that I didn’t have, or didn’t allow myself to have, last time
“Making this record, the times where I was really happy were the happiest of my life, but the times where I was a little lower were the saddest times,” said Styles.
The singer added that the campaign for Harry Styles “caused me to go through a lot of self-reflection”.
“Having been through one [solo] album and one tour, it made me look at everything and be like, ‘OK, what do I want to do?’ and ‘Who am I if I don’t do this?’” he continued.
The One Direction star revealed that, when the band stopped touring in 2016, “There were a lot of subconscious decisions around making it and the writing of [my first album].” he said.
Now, Styles has gone from “trying hard not to get it wrong”, to having a great deal of fun, a feeling driven by the reaction to his maiden arena tour.
“Coming off the road, there was a definite feeling of, ‘OK, now I know what it feels like to play a show on my own, what do I want the songs to be like if I’m going to tour again?’” he said. “So I definitely went into this album with a freedom, that I didn’t have, or didn’t allow myself to have, last time.”
“I was a little subconsciously afraid of making fun music having come out of the band,” he added. “I tried to get rid of that a little bit.”
On the road, Styles realised that “People just wanted me to be myself and be authentic”.
He’s all set to kick off his latest run of dates in the new year, while Adore You is set to hit the singles chart this week. It has almost 10 million Spotify plays and 7.8m YouTube views so far.
Read the full interview in the new edition of Music Week, out now. To secure your copy, please email Rachael Hampton on firstname.lastname@example.org. To subscribe to Music Week, and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.