Harry Styles has opened up about transitioning from a teen star in a boyband into a career musician on his own path, explaining that he found solace in seeing the way Billie Eilish approached her own sudden rise to pop stardom.
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Ahead of his hotly anticipated third album, ‘Harry’s House’, landing on Friday (May 20), Styles sat down with Zane Lowe for a 78-minute chat about the album’s inception, touring, Style’s creative process and his maturation as both an artist and a person away from the spotlight. Eilish came up towards the end of the interview, when Styles spoke candidly about how his artistry now compares to the way he approached it in the early days of One Direction’s split.
He explained: “I definitely had a really big moment, I think, when Billie Eilish kind of first blew up. I think being in the band, I’d always felt like … it was fun and exciting because we were young. And I had a moment, seeing her do this at such a young age, where I felt like, ‘I’m not that young anymore.’
“For a while, it was like, ‘How do you play that game, of like, remaining exciting?’ And I just had a moment where I felt like, ‘OK, we’re not the same thing.’ And in the same vein of, like, ‘You’re not always going to be the kind of young thing,’ I was like, ‘OK, I would really like to think about who I would like to be as a musician.’”
Styles went on to say that although he and Eilish had “[run] into each other a couple of times” over the last few years, he’s not told her personally about how she inspires him. “I’m kind of like, from afar, incredibly thankful to her,” he said, “because I feel like she felt like she represented something to me there.
“It felt like [she] came in in a way that was like, ‘You’re not… Like, don’t worry about being this thing, ever.’ Because, you know, she’s a lot younger than me, and there’s no point in me going, like, ‘OK, how do I get back in? How do I like, get back to like… She just totally broke spell for me, in a way that I’m very grateful for.”
Have a look at Styles’ full interview with Lowe below (they talk about Eilish around the 1:15:30 mark).
Earlier this month, Styles opened up about the benefits of receiving therapy for his mental health, after initially being hesitant to engage with it. He said that he started therapy reluctantly about five years ago, having originally “thought it meant that you were broken” and that he felt it was a music industry cliche to seek help. “I wanted to be the one who could say I didn’t need it,” he said, noting that therapy ultimately trained him out of his tendency to “emotionally coast”.
Styles recently debuted two tracks from ‘Harry’s House’ during his Coachella 2022 headline set. His performance during the first weekend of the festival saw him premiere ‘Boyfriends’ and ‘Late Night Talking’, while also giving his chart-topping single ‘As It Was’ its first live airing.
The artist also has a litany of headline tour dates on the horizon, including ‘One Night Only’ gigs to launch ‘Harry’s House’ in New York and London. From there, he’ll embark on the UK and Ireland leg of his world tour – find any remaining tickets for those shows here – before heading on a North American tour in August. Next February, fans in Australia and New Zealand will be able to catch Styles performing in stadiums.
Next week, Styes will become the latest artist to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story for the BBC. He’ll read In Every House, On Every Street, a story written by Jess Hitchman and illustrated by Lili la Baleine, which is described as “a heartwarming celebration of homes and the different families that live in them”.