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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

One Direction seven years on

We take a look at how the members of the X-Factor produced boy band have fared as solo artists

Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. Kevin Winter / Getty Images / AFP
Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson of One Direction. Kevin Winter / Getty Images / AFP

This week marks seven years since One Direction - the modern day version of the Beatles - were formed as part of the seventh series of the X-Factor reality television series.

Much to the dismay of their mostly teenage fan base, after capturing teen hearts and conquering stadiums worldwide, the boy band last year opted to take an “indefinite hiatus” - one year after the departure of their broody heart-throb member, Zayn Malik.

Their legion of fans has been on the edge of their seats since, waiting with bated breath for news of their favourite pop stars reuniting. This past weekend the man behind the brand, Simon Cowell said he was determined to see the boys back together.

Band member Niall Horan has said he is down for a reunion claiming he prefer to do it in the "next few years" but "when it will be, I don't know".

It appears Harry Styles may be the sticking point, with Louis Tomlinson, who this week released his new single Back to You, telling The Sun newspaper in the UK that the major factor behind the band calling it time was Styles' desire to take a break.

Tomlinson quashed suggestions One Direction could tour as a trio, without Malik or Styles.

Whatever happens going forward, there's no question that the boys who made it in One Direction are now men with successful solo careers, and in some cases, film careers (Styles in Dunkirk).

We take a look at how each has fared on their own.

Zayn Malek, 24

The first one to jump ship in 2015, Malik wasted no time in hitting the studio with a number of different producers, including Naughty Boy and rappers Krept and Konan. The end result was the slick and confident debut album Mind of Mine featuring the sultry hit Pillow Talk and the R&B tinged Like I Would.

Unfortunately, Malek’s panic attacks forced him to cancel last year’s world tour, including his October 7 date at the Dubai Autism Rocks Arena. “I feel I am making progress but I have today acknowledged that I do not feel sufficiently confident to move forward with the planned show in Dubai in October,” he said in a statement.

Harry Styles, 23

It’s been a big year for Styles with the release of self-titled debut album and an appearance in the war drama surefire Oscar contender Dunkirk, out in UAE cinemas this week.

Styles' album is a genuine surprise in that it moves from 1D’s bubble-gum pop sounds to embrace more matures styles such as soul, glam-rock and a touch of Brit-pop. Lead single Sign of the Times is big and bombastic, proving that Styles shouldn’t worry too much about a solo music career.

Niall Horan, 23

Horan is one of three One Directioners yet to release a debut album. But the Irishman has already whet fans appetites with the release of two singles, This Town, and more recently, Slow Hands. The former was a smooth acoustic ballad while the light and funky Slow Hands is more in line with the sounds covered in One Direction’s last album, 2015’s Made in the AM.

Liam Payne, 23

As a solid, yet vocally unremarkable member, one worried if Payne would slide into obscurity following One Direction’s split. The doubters were proved wrong in May when he released his debut solo single Strip That Down, featuring rapper Quavo from Migos. Fun and full of attitude, the track is quickly cementing itself as a club favourite.

Louis Tomlinson, 25

Another one heading down the club route, Tomlinson has been working with the right people, including producer Steve Aoki on his first solo single Just Hold On and the aforementioned Bebe Rexha for his latest track Back to You. Both tracks smack of a youthful EDM vibe that sound cool and studied.

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