One Direction Celebrates 12 Years

Madison Mahady

July 23rd, 2010 – This day has gone down in history as the day One Direction was formed. Five albums and twelve years later, their fanbase is as strong as ever. Although the five members have gone their separate ways, their music still speaks to a wide audience. Since the group went on hiatus each of its members have gone on to create solo careers, many expanding their talents outside of the music realm. Here’s an update on the four brits (and one Irish guy) that took the world by storm.

Harry Styles

Arguably the most popular of the five members, Harry Styles has gone on to top global charts as a solo artist. His 2017 debut album, Harry Styles, reached number one on the Billboard 200. His sophomore album Fine Line followed suit as well as his most recent album, 2022’s Harry’s House. In late 2021, Styles embarked on his tour, Love on Tour. Initially set to start in 2020, the tour was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His shows now include songs from both his second and third albums, as Harry’s House was released in between the first North American and European legs of the tour. In 2021, Styles received his first Grammy for his song Watermelon Sugar. Since One Direction disbanded, Styles has expanded his repertoire to include acting. After doing small roles and cameos in films such as Dunkirk and Marvel Studios The Eternals, Styles is set to have his first starring role in 2022. He’s been cast as the male lead to star alongside Florence Pugh in Don’t Worry Darling, which is slated for release on September 23rd. In 2020, Styles became the first man to grace the cover of Vogue solo. Controversy erupted when the cover was released and Styles was shown wearing a dress, although the general assessment of the cover has been positive. In addition to his professional work, Styles is known to support several different charitable causes. To celebrate the release of his debut solo album, Styles played shows in both London and LA, with all the proceeds going to charity. Many shows he’s performed have had the proceeds donated to various charities, including over one million in proceeds from his first tour being donated. Some of the charities and social impact causes he’s supported have been: GLSEN, Black Lives Matter, and International Rescue Committee.

Niall Horan

Everyone’s favorite Irish lad, Niall Horan, has found his own success since going solo. His debut album Flicker debuted number one on the Billboard 200 and spawned two international tours. His second album Heartbreak Weather was released in March 2020. The album charted number four on the Billboard 200, making each of Horan’s solo albums Billboard Top 10 designees. He had intended to go on a world tour in 2020 called the Nice to Meet Ya tour, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Horan co-wrote a new version of Ashe’s Moral of the Story, with the new version releasing in June of that year. His most recent release was a collaboration in 2021 with Anne-Marie, titled Our Song. Outside of music, Horan has been keeping himself busy. In 2016, Horan co-founded Modest! Golf, a golf management company, alongside Mark McDonnell and Ian Watts. Modest! Golf has gone on to sign several professional golfers, with one golfer earning the company its first European tour win in 2019. Along with the management company, Horan joined forces with English golfer Justin Rose to create the Horan & Rose charity event. This event raises money for Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People. The event is also known to share its charitable donations with other organizations. The 2021 event raised £1.1 million for Cancer Research UK and The Black Heart Foundation.

Louis Tomlinson

Doncaster native Louis Tomlinson has been busy since his One Direction days. His first solo single Just Hold On was released in collaboration with Steve Aoki in 2016. From 2016 to 2019, Tomlinson released a series of singles and collaborations. His debut album Walls was released in January 2020, peaking at number 9 on the Billboard 200. He had announced a tour for the album, Louis Tomlinson World Tour, but it was postponed due to the pandemic. In the interim, Tomlinson did a live streamed performance in December 2020, with the proceeds going to various charities. With the world reopening, Tomlinson has been able to embark on his postponed tour. Outside of his music, Tomlinson has been quite busy since One Direction went on hiatus. He made a guest appearance on The X-Factor in 2015 and then became a judge on the show in 2018, with one of his mentees winning the season. In 2020 he donated to and voiced his support for Black Lives Matter. In 2016 he played in Soccer Aid, a benefit soccer game whose proceeds were donated to UNICEF. Also in 2016, Tomlinson welcomed his first child, a son, with stylist Briana Jungwirth. In 2021, Tomlinson created and curated a music festival called The Away From Home Festival. The festival was such a success that it’s scheduled to happen again in August of this year, with the event already having sold out.

Zayn Malik

The first to leave One Direction, Zayn Malik was quick to start working as a solo artist. He signed to RCA Records in 2015. In early 2016 he released his first solo album Mind of Mine which debuted number 1 on the Billboard 200. After his first album, Malik released several singles, including a duet with Taylor Swift for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack. He released his second solo album, Icarus Falls, in 2018. This album didn’t reach the same commercial success as his debut, peaking at 61 on the Billboard 200. In 2019 he performed a cover of A Whole New World with Zhavia Ward for the Aladdin soundtrack. Then in 2021 he released his third album Nobody Is Listening and a three track mixtape titled Yellow Tape. Malik is an ambassador for the British Asian Trust and has shared his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2020, Malik welcomed a daughter with girlfriend and model Gigi Hadid. They were living together in Pennsylvania until 2021 when an alleged altercation occurred between Hadid’s mother and Malik. Malik pleaded no contest in the case and was sentenced to a year of probation along with required anger management and domestic violence programs. In October 2021, Malik was dropped from RCA. Most recently, he’s worked with glasses brand Arnette, releasing his own collection with the brand and painting a mural for the company.

Liam Payne

The fifth and final member of One Direction is Liam Payne. In 2016 Payne signed with Republic Records. His first single as a solo artist, a collaboration with Quavo titled Strip That Down, was released in 2017. It reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2018 he released a collaboration with Rita Ora for the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack. He released his first solo album, LP1, in December 2019. The album was met with negative reviews, only reaching number 111 on the Billboard 200. In 2020 Payne released singles with both Alesso and Dixie D’Amelio. Along with releasing his music, Payne has become the first global ambassador for Hugo Boss. In July 2019, the first capsule collection between Payne and Boss was released, debuting at Berlin Fashion Week. The second capsule collection was released in May 2020. Payne is an avid supporter of UNICEF,  is an ambassador for the Global Goals campaign, and played in the 2022 Soccer Aid game. He has also attended the London Black Lives Matter protest. Payne had a son in 2017 with musician Cheryl Tweedy. Last month, Payne came under fire due to an interview he did on Logan Paul’s impulsive podcast. He made controversial comments about the formation of One Direction. On the day of the 12th anniversary, the X-Factor YouTube channel disputed this claim by uploading a video detailing exactly how the group was formed.