After One Direction announced their infamous ‘hiatus’ in 2015, the fans have been able to enjoy solo material from all four members and also former member, Zayn, who left the band in early 2015. Harry Styles released his singles, ‘Sign of The Times’ and ‘Sweet Creature’, followed by his eponymous album in quick succession, Niall Horan has released two hot on charts singles, ‘This Town’ and ‘Slow Hands’, with his debut solo album expected in the fall, Liam Payne has recently released a chart-topping single, ‘Strip That Down’ and Louis Tomlinson has just announced his new single with Bebe Rexha, ‘Back For You’ which follows his enormous dance hit with Steve Aoki, ‘Just Hold On‘.

In a featured interview with The Observer for The Guardian, Louis Tomlinson has opened up about the insecurities that plagued him in terms of what he brought to the band.

“Niall is the most lovely guy, Zayn has the voice, Harry is very cool, Liam gets the crowd going… And then there’s me.”

When Louis released ‘Just Hold On’ in December 2016, his career was remarkably less commercialized than that of any of the other boys. He had just lost his mother to leukemia and performed it live on The X-Factor UK just days after her death, fulfilling her last wish.

This interview is Tomlinson’s first professional coverage as a solo artist. He recalls how he did not get the chance to sing solos while competing on The X-Factor. “What have I really done to contribute here,” he questions in the interview while looking back, “sing a lower harmony that you can’t really hear in the mix?” He reckons, back in those days he was only known as “The kid wearing espadrilles, [that] stood in the back.”

Louis has also disclosed that he resisted the hiatus.

“In the last year of One Direction, I was probably the most confident I ever was. And then it was: “Okay, hiatus!”’ He thought he’d wait the hiatus out, two years or five, write for other people, but then that would mean conceding.

“It wasn’t necessarily a nice conversation. I could see where it was going.”

He also opens up about his most personal loss, his mother’s death late last year.

When he questioned her how was he supposed to perform ‘Just Hold On’ on The X-Factor while his mother was terminally ill, Johannah, Louis’ mother, who Louis reveals always condemned swearing, said to him, “You’ve got to fucking do it. As simple as that.”

He adds, “I’m not gonna claim this is all for me mum. But it was definitely…it was.”

Tomlinson, being the oldest and the loudest, was seen as the leader of the band since day one. He says he was always the one designated to argue the label in case of disagreements. He was also the one most tuned into backstage logistics and this led him to establish his own record label, Triple Strings, that manages a girl band as Louis’ side-project.

Alex Bramall for the Observer

 

 

With his own record label and his solo career underway, Louis is now in the spotlight. Louis, however, has always been in the spotlight. For One Direction, Louis is credited as the songwriter on a striking 38 released songs. Apart from being a brilliant songwriter who has co-written the excellent likes of ‘Home’, ‘History’, ‘Fool’s Gold’, ‘Fireproof’ and pretty much every song, Louis is a sublime vocalist, transitioning effortlessly from pop rock to love ballads to EDM. His voice has a distinct rasp which is equally emotive while he sings ‘No Control’ and ‘If I Could Fly.’

His ability to adapt his voice to diverse genres has enabled him to veer into EDM, a genre completely untouched by One Direction. Despite its rushed release and absence of pre-release promotion, Just Hold On did exceptionally well and scored a #2 on Christmas Charts.

As noted in a recent post by Saskia Postema on HuffPost, Louis’ brand value is enormous. He is currently ranked number one for the highest level of engagement on Instagram and is the world’s male musician with the highest average number of like per post. On Instagram, Louis’ follower count is 13.3M, not the highest and yet the most engaging and on Twitter, Louis boasts staggering 24.7M followers.

As proof to back up the fact that Louies, as they call themselves, are nothing shy of extraordinary, #LouisWeLoveYou trended for a good few hours worldwide last night, after the interview was released.

And now after having maintained my professionalism through the entirety of this article here is a reminder:

HOLD ON TO YOUR WIGS LAID EASE AND GENTLE MINTS BECAUSE LT1 IS COMING!

Alex Bramall for the Observer