It’s the same old story, start off in a boyband, make millions of girls around the globe swoon and then leave said boyband to make it on your own. Some strike gold (Justin Timberlake) and others try to take on a new identity and confuse everyone around them (AJ McLean). Either way, no matter how much fans would rather the boys turned men stay in the group they love, the grass always looks greener as a solo artist.
Over the next few weeks we are going to examine some of the biggest selling boybands and how those who tried to go solo have faired. At the end we'll decide if the boys are better together or if they are better off staying solo.
This week we’ll throw it back slightly to One Direction. We'll recap the success they had as a group and who from 1D is trying to go solo (and how they're doing).
This is a boyband break up that is still pretty fresh. First the boys lost Zayn to solo stardom and then in 2015 the remaining four announced they were taking an “extended hiatus”. Many 1D fans may not be old enough to know the impact the word “hiatus” can have on you, ‘N sync never officially announced they broke up, they’ve just been on “hiatus” since 2002. Anyway, we’ll get back to them later.
To be fair, Niall, Liam, Harry, Louis and Zayn never actually wanted to be a boyband, they all auditioned for the British version of the singing competition, X Factor as solo artists. Simon Cowell saw something in each of them though it wasn’t solo success, it was boyband success and so the five boys advanced in the “Groups” category. Placing third in the overall competition, the boys then signed on to Cowell’s record label, Syco Records and eventually with Columbia Records in the US.
Their debut album, Up All Night debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, less than a year later, Take Me Home also debuted at number one this time tripling their debut album’s first week sales at a whopping 540,000 copies sold. With Midnight Memories they made history, they became the first group in Billboard 200 history to have their first three albums debut at number one. Their fourth album was appropriately titled Four as it quickly became a prophesying album being the last album they would record with Zayn. Made in the A.M is the first album One Direction released as a quartet.
Prior to the release of Made in the A.M the group announced they were going on “hiatus” with their last televised performance as a group on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin Eve in December 2015.
Now that the boys are going in their own directions, three of the five original members have released music as a solo artist. Here’s how the solo efforts are shaking out:
Zayn Malik – He dropped the boys of 1D, dropped his last name and released his first solo effort Mind of Mine featuring “Pillowtalk”. The album debuted at number one on both the UK albums chart and the Billboard 200. Zayn can be heard most recently singing with Taylor Swift on their hit from Fifty Shades Darker, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” which debuted at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
Harry Styles – His first song “Sign of the Times” debuted at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. He has since released “Carolina” but what fans really want to hear is “Two Ghosts” which have many thinking it is about Taylor Swift based on the lyrics that were seen in an Apple Music promo for his upcoming, self-titled album. Styles also announced a slew of tour dates to promote his solo efforts. On May 12th his debut album hit the shelves and as of now it is looking like he’s going to nab the top spot on both the UK and US album charts.
Nail Horan – He released “This Town” in September of 2016, the song peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It wasn’t until this month Horan released his second single “Slow Hands”. His album is still untitled and still without a release date.
Louis Tomilnson – He debuted his first solo single, “Just Hold On” a collaboration with Steve Aoki on the show where it all began, The X Factor. The EDM song peaked at 52 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart but made it all the way up to number 7 on the US Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart. Since the debut of this song in December Tomilnson has been hard at work on his album working with ROZES, and rumored to be working with Bebe Rexha.
Liam Payne – His first efforts as a solo artist won’t be released until tomorrow but while at KIIS-FM’s Wango Tango he teased the crowd by saying Ed Sheeran helped him write the track. It has been confirmed that Payne worked with rap group Migos, stay turned to see how his debut shakes out.
So far the boys of 1D are seeing success outside of the group, which hinders any hopes of a reunion in the near future.
Verdict? Too soon to tell.
Check back next week as we dive into the solo endeavors of the Backstreet Boys.
Written by Kristen
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