Harry Styles has gone solo and is letting his hair — and his guard — down.
The former One Direction star opened up about his relationship with ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift and addressed Zayn’s One Direction diss in a new interview with Rolling Stone.
Styles and Swift dated for three short months between 2012 and 2013, but their relationship quickly grabbed headlines. The two singers were young, 18 and 21 at the time respectively, but in 2017 Styles can reflect on that time in his life.
The “Sign of the Times” singer said he was caught off-guard when a photo of the two young artists in Central Park rocketed around the world. “When I see photos from that day I think: Relationships are hard, at any age,” he explained, “and adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier.”
“I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with,” he continued. “You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it – I just wanted it to be a normal date.”
It is thought at least two of Swift’s songs, “Out of the Woods” and “Style”, are about the heartthrob — but he isn’t offended. “I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not… but the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere,” he said with a smile.
“I write from my experiences; everyone does that. I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That’s what hits your heart. That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people. I’m never going to tell anybody everything.”
When asked if he ever told Swift how much he admired her music, he said he didn’t have to. “Yes and no… she doesn’t need me to tell her they’re great. They’re great songs… It’s the most amazing unspoken dialogue ever.”
And he looks back fondly on his time with her. The One Direction star chewed on what he would say to Swift today. “Maybe this is where you write down that I left!” he laughed. “Certain things don’t work out. There’s a lot of things that can be right, and it’s still wrong. In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together.”
He continued, “You’re celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than ‘this didn’t work out, and that’s bad.’ And if you run into that person, maybe it’s awkward, maybe you have to get drunk… but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it’s the best s**t ever. So, thank you.”
But there is another lady who heavily influenced his upcoming eponymous debut solo album. “She’s a huge part of the album,” said Styles. “Sometimes you want to tip the hat, and sometimes you just want to give them the whole cap… and hope they know it’s just for them.” Styles has often been spotted with Kendall Jenner over the past few years, but the singer wouldn’t confirm if the young reality star is whom he was talking about.
Despite going solo, Styles seems to have more love for his old music than former bandmate Zayn Malik. Zayn told The Fader in 2015 that One Direction’s hits are “not music that I would listen to. If I was sat at a dinner date with a girl, I would play some cool s**t, you know what I mean? I want to make music that I think is cool s**t.”
Styles replied, “I think it’s a shame he felt that way, but I never wish anything but luck to anyone doing what they love. If you’re not enjoying something and need to do something else, you absolutely should do that… I’m glad he’s doing what he likes, and good luck to him.”
The 23-year-old English singer released his debut solo single “Sign of the Times” on April 7 and quickly ended Ed Sheeran’s 13-week reign atop the U.K. charts for “Shape of You”.