That’s the amazing thing about music: there’s a song for every emotion. Can you imagine a world without music? It would be bad.” Harry Styles has something of the duality and narrative audacity of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. Photographed in boas, glitter, pink suits, dresses, and floral ’70s patterns, she’s not afraid to pose with a romantic, sensitive look.
by Marianina Patsa
His musical career began in 2010 as a solo contestant on the UK’s ‘The X Factor’. After his expulsion, he rejoined One Direction, who became one of the best-selling boy bands of all time (and the only one to have all four albums reach No. 1 on the Billboard Charts), before going on hiatus indefinitely in 2016. Fast forward to 2022 and the 28-year-old singer-songwriter (and sometime actor) is releasing his new album ‘Harry’s House’ to great success and his single ‘As It Was’ became the most streamed track on Spotify within 24 hours. Styles was born on February 1, 1994, in England. He grew up in a very supportive family and as a child had a great interest in music. He sang covers on a karaoke machine his grandfather gave him. At school, he was the lead singer of the band White Eskimo and the group even won the local “Battle of the Bands” competition. Did Styles imagine then that today he would count a basket of awards, from Brit Awards to Grammys? His self-titled debut solo album was released through Columbia Records in 2017. It went to number one in the UK and US and was one of the top ten best-selling albums of the year worldwide. Styles’ second album, ‘Fine Line’ (2019), debuted atop the US Billboard 200 for the biggest first-week sales by an English artist and was the most recent album to be included in the ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Rolling Stone in 2020. With the single “As It Was” topping the US and UK charts, Styles’ third album, “Harry’s House” (2022), launched and continues its upward trajectory. Styles’ music has been described as soft rock, pop, and rock, with elements of folk and Brit-pop. Artists such as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles have influenced him significantly. “I think with music it’s important to evolve – and that extends to clothes and videos and everything,” she says. “That’s why you look back to David Bowie with Ziggy Stardust or the Beatles and their different eras – their boldness is hugely inspiring”
Inspiration has no age or gender, which is why Styles is influenced by both Elvis and Shania Twain. Referring to the use of the color pink in his stylistic choices, he quotes the words of the bassist of the legendary The Clash, Paul Simonon, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine: “Pink is the only true rock ‘n’ roll color.”
Of course, there is no shortage of his conservative detractors, who get blisters every time they see him wearing something that blurs the lines between male and female. Like the blue Gucci dress, he wore for American Vogue in 2020, becoming the first man to ever appear solo on the cover of the magazine. Styles responds to the criticism by saying: “To not wear something because it’s female means you’re shutting out a whole world of great clothes!” As an artist who loves to discover new worlds, Styles also dabbles in acting. He made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk (2017), playing a British soldier in the Dunkirk evacuation during World War II. He appeared alongside an elite cast that included Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Tom Hardy. Styles won the role over “thousands of young men.” Nolan later admitted that he was unaware of the extent of Styles’ fame and that he was cast “because he fit the role wonderfully and really earned a seat at the table”. In 2022, he starred alongside Emma Corrin in My Policeman, a film adaptation of the 2012 novel of the same name, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also starred alongside Florence Pugh in the 2022 psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde, which was to become very important in his life. The two made headlines when paparazzi caught them holding hands at his manager and close friend Jeffrey Azoff’s wedding in January 2021. Anonymous Twitter users seemed shocked at their age difference — which would go unnoticed if he was 10 years older than her – and they criticized the dynamic of the director-actor meeting as if there aren’t countless similar love stories… He himself doesn’t pay attention. He stays away as much as he can from the internet, but also from letting public opinion influence his life. “If you build your life thinking that you can’t go anywhere and that everything must be difficult, then that becomes your life,” he says. “It’s hard to come across new things if you’re driving everywhere and it’s really not that fun. Now in London, I walk everywhere and it’s just wonderful!”
Photo by Harmony Korine for Gucci