Harry Edward Styles (born 1 February 1994) is an English pop singer-songwriter and actor, known as a member of the boy band One Direction. He made his debut as a singer with his band White Eskimo, who performed locally in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England. In 2010, Styles auditioned as a solo artist for the British television seriesThe X Factor. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Styles was brought back into the competition, along with four other contestants, to form the group that would later become known as One Direction.
A native of Holmes Chapel, Styles attended Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School, and also worked part-time at a local bakery. He dropped out of high school his sophomore year because he didn't have time for school after his career sky-rocketed. He became interested in singing at a young age, performing at various talent shows, singing competitions and weddings. In addition to singing, Styles has also appeared in television and film, including the Nickelodeon series iCarly and the autobiographical concert film One Direction: This Is Us.
As a child, Styles loved singing, noting Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley and The Beatles as his influences. While at Holmes Chapel Comprehensive, Styles was the lead singer for the band White Eskimo, which won a local Battle of the Bands competition.
The X Factor
One Direction on The X Factor Live tour in 2011
In 2010, Styles auditioned as a solo candidate for the seventh series of the British televised singing competition The X Factor. He failed to progress to the "Boys" category at "judges' houses." Four others in his age group did as well, but after a suggestion by Nicole Scherzinger, a guest judge, they were put together to form a five-piece boy band at Wembley Arena, in London, England, in July 2010, during the "bootcamp" stage of the competition, thus qualifying for the "Groups" category. Subsequently, the group got together for two weeks to get to know each other and to practice. Styles came up with the name One Direction. For their qualifying song at "judges' houses", and their first song as a group, One Direction sang an acoustic version of "Torn".Simon Cowell later commented that the performance convinced him that the group "were confident, fun, like a gang of friends, and kind of fearless as well." Within the first four weeks of the live shows, they were Cowell's last act in the competition. The group quickly gained popularity in the UK.
One Direction finished in third place and immediately after the final, their song "Forever Young", which would have been released if they had won The X Factor, was leaked onto the internet. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed that One Direction had been signed by Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco Records record contract. Recording for their debut album began in January 2011, as they flew to Los Angeles to work with RedOne, a record producer. A book licensed by One Direction, One Direction: Forever Young (Our Official X Factor Story), was published by HarperCollins in February 2011, subsequently topping The Sunday Times Best Seller list. The same month, the boy band and other contestants from the series participated in the X Factor Live Tour. During the tour the group performed for 500,000 people throughout the UK. After the tour concluded in April 2011, the group continued working on their debut album. Recording took place in Stockholm, London and Los Angeles, as One Direction worked with producers Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha, Steve Mac, and Rami Yacoub, among others. Styles came up with band name One Direction, which he thought would sound good when The X Factor announcer Peter Dickson read their name out on the live shows.