23 July holds a special place in the hearts of One Direction fans as it marks the group’s anniversary. Its members — Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan — all auditioned for The X Factor UK back in 2010 as solo acts but were put together as a group in order to proceed in the talent search. They failed to win in the competition but that didn’t stop them from being one of the most popular groups of today.
They bagged multiple music awards and was even listed as one of the acts with the highest-grossing concert tours in the 2010s for their Where We Are Tour in 2014. Unfortunately, Zayn chose to leave the group in 2015 to pursue his solo career, much to the disappointment of fans. With four remaining members, they released Made In The A.M. before announcing the One Direction hiatus in December of the same year. In 2017, the boys started releasing their individual singles.
A reunion didn't seem to be likely when the supposed 18-month hiatus stretched to years. But recently, Simon Cowell, who created the group during their X-Factor days, said that he might be able to convince 1D to have a reunion. Are the stakes of it happening high or low? Honestly, we can't tell. While we wait for any other hint of a reunion, here are what the One Direction boys have been up to since their hiatus.
Starting off with the deserter, Zayn (we’re kidding, of course). His first single after leaving the group, Pillowtalk, debuted at number one in the charts of many countries, including the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100. He has also collaborated with many artists in recent years; there's Taylor Swift for I Don’t Want To Live Forever, which was used for the Fifty Shades of Grey film franchise and a cover of the song A Whole New World with Zhavia Ward for Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin. Work aside, he's now a father to his first child with girlfriend, supermodel Gigi Hadid.
Speaking of fatherhood, there's also Louis, who is actually the first of the 1D boys to have a baby. Louis posted a photo of his newborn son, Freddie Reign, months after One Direction's hiatus was announced in 2015.
On the music front, shortly after the announcement, Louis started carving a solo career as a musician. He also appeared as a guest mentor with 1D’s label boss and The X-Factor UK judge Simon Cowell for the same talent search.
He has released several singles since then, all of which have earned their place in UK and US Billboard charts. By 2018, he was announced as an official judge on The X Factor UK, becoming the first-ever former contestant to come back to the show as a mentor. 2020 was supposed to be a tour year for Louis, but because of the pandemic, he had to put it on hold. Better safe than sorry, right?
Moving on to Hazza (as he is affectionately called by 1D fans), Harry Styles also has quite the career post-One Direction's hiatus; his singles and albums have hit top spots at several countries’ charts. His 2017 single Sign of the Times was even named 'Song of the Year' by Rolling Stone Magazine after clinching number one at the UK Singles Charts and peaking at number four on the US Billboard charts in the same year.
He also made his acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s war film Dunkirk, which put a spotlight on his potential as a movie star. He has yet to take on another acting project after that, but it seems like music is really his first love. That's because in 2019, he released his second solo album Fine Line, which includes hits Adore You and Watermelon Sugar.
Everyone’s favourite Irish boy also had his songs top charts in different countries. His singles Slow Hands and This Town debuted number one in both Ireland and the US and peaked in top slots in Australian and UK charts. In February 2016, he also announced the founding of Modest! Golf, a golf management company which drafts golfing talents all over the world.
Niall was also supposed to go on his solo tour (called Heartbreak Weather) this year, but plans were put on hold due to the pandemic.
Known as one of the group’s principal co-songwriters during their One Direction days, Liam continues to do music production work during their indefinite break. Going by pseudonyms Payno or Big Payno, he helped produce many songs for various artists pre- and post-1D, including tracks for 5 Seconds of Summer, Pharell Williams, Rita Ora and even for his baby mama, Cheryl Cole. His own single Strip That Down and For You, from the Fifty Shades Freed soundtrack also hit top spots in several charts after its respective releases.
In April 2020, right in the middle of the isolation period, he started a casual vlogger-type YouTube series on his official channel which now has almost three million subscribers.
Well done, boys. Can we now make that comeback happen?
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