Who are One Direction?
One Direction is a boy formed in the UK on X-Factor in 2010.
Who is in the band?
The One Direction Story
- Debut album, Up All Night: No.1 in 15 countries
- Debut single, What Makes You Beautiful: No.1 in UK and Ireland
- First UK group to debut at No. 1 in USA with a debut album
- BRIT Award winners of Best Single 2012
- Winner of Favourite UK Band at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards 2012
- US Arena Tour announced for summer 2012
- Over 5 million Facebook fans and 3 million followers on Twitter
- Video to ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has had over 100 million VEVO views
Meet Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson - together they are One Direction. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago these five boys hadn’t even met each other. But with the help of the biggest television show in the UK, The X Factor, their millions of loyal fans and some killer songs, One Direction have just seen their debut album go to number one in 15 countries around the world. They have become a global phenomenon. And this is their incredible story…
The making of One Direction
Turn back the clock to July 2010 and auditions for the UK’s X Factor were underway. Five young boys from various parts of the UK and Ireland had entered the competition with nothing else but a passion for singing and raw talent. Their names were Niall (from Westmeath, Ireland), Zayn (from Bradford), Liam (from Wolverhampton), Harry (from Cheshire) and Louis (from Doncaster) and they had all entered as solo artists. Arriving to their individual auditions, they were given the task of impressing the judges. And they did. But just not quite how they imagined.
It was during the Bootcamp round of the competition that Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh had to give the boys the bad news that they hadn’t made it through as solo artists. They were devastated, but they were offered a suggestion. The judges wanted them to form a group; to learn to sing as a five-piece rather than individuals. The boys jumped at the chance and One Direction was born.
Zayn says, “I didn’t think I would ever want to be in a group. But when I was there and it was happening, and I knew the lads a bit, there was no way I was going to say ‘no’. We’ve all got quite different sounding voices and our own individual style, so we can play up to that and play to each of our strengths.“
Louis adds with sincerity, “To start off with it was difficult because we all had our egos and we wanted to get ourselves across in the group. It was tough. Now, we’re literally like five best friends.”
Fast forward four months and the boys were impressing an average of 16 million viewers with their performances each weekend. They sang world-famous tracks like Kim Wilde’s Kids In America, Kelly Clarkson’s My Life Would Suck Without You and Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars – they confidence rocketed and the country kept on voting for them to stay in the competition. It was clear the UK were falling in love with the band.
In the final, the boys were given the opportunity to perform with multi-million-selling artist Robbie Williams. He backed their bid to win and wished the awe-struck boys the best.
On 12 December 2010, One Direction were crowned the third place winners of The X Factor 2010 - and although they hadn’t come first, it was clear they had already attracted a huge fan base. In the run up to their win, hundreds of girls would wait outside the TV studios in London just to get a glimpse of their favourite new group and they were already receiving sack-loads of fan mail. There was no way this new group could be ignored.
The boys, however, kept their feet on the ground. They hadn’t won the series and didn’t know if they could find the support to keep making music – although by now, disbanding was not an option, they had come so far and were great friends.
Louis explains, “We came from nothing, and had no experience as a group at all. By the time we came to the end of the show, we were a completely different group. We worked so hard, and achieved so much. We also became really close mates – we’re just all so grateful that we got along so well from the start.”igning the deal with Simon Cowell
It was just after Christmas that the boys got a call from Simon Cowell, who asked them to attend a meeting at Syco Records head offices in London to discuss their future. On that day, he delivered to them some good news - he would sign them to Syco, they had a record deal!
Harry says: “Simon Cowell was telling you your life was about to change! It was weird. I feel incredibly lucky to have the life I do.”
The group immediately went on tour, playing two months of shows on the X Factor Live Tour. They travelled across the UK and Ireland meeting fans as they went, playing to thousands of people every night. In that time, they even managed to put together a book about their experiences so far – Forever Young – it even made the best-sellers lists. These five boys were certainly not afraid to work for their success.
And it was after the tour and the book publication that One Direction made it into the studio to work on their first album. It was already Spring and they could not wait to start recording.
The making of Up All Night
It turned out, there were quite a few big producers and writers who wanted the chance to work with One Direction – and it was only when they hit the studio, did they realise just how ‘big’ these names were!
The began writing with the likes of Rami Yacoub (Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Bon Jovi) and legendary producers such as Steve Mac (who has worked with JLS, Leona Lewis and Westlife). Even Red One (Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Sean Kingston) also became involved.
Niall humbly explains, “These guys are amazing. Basically, name one of the biggest hits of the past ten years, and the guys we worked with will be behind them. To even meet them was incredible. To work with them was even better!”
The group put together an album of thirteen tracks, which they later named Up All Night. And by Autumn 2011, it was ready for release.
“I want people to listen to it and say, ‘Wow, is that One Direction?’. It’s not too cheesy - I think it’s the kind of album that guys will like as well as girls,” Louis revealed at the time.
The first Number One
One Direction’s debut single, What Makes You Beautiful (Rami Yacoub, Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha), was released on 11 September 2011 in the UK – but remarkably, it was breaking records before it even went on sale. It became the biggest pre-order in Sony’s single history and went in at number one in the UK and Irish charts as soon as it was on iTunes. The boys cemented their success by selling a staggering 153,000 in their first week of release, with the fun California-shot video providing the perfect backdrop to one of the summer’s biggest tracks.
Zayn says, “To think we’ve sold the most number of pre-orders when you know some of the artists who have released records through Sony is incredible! We can’t believe it. It’s the most amazing thing.”
In December, the boys headed off on the sold out Up All Night tour which saw them play over 60 dates across the UK and Ireland.
“The best thing about being in 1D is that you get to travel around with four of your best friends,” notes Harry. “We’re having real fun, doing what we love to do. It’s brilliant and I never want it to change.”
February 2012 saw the boys win their first BRIT Award for Best Single at the famous award ceremony in London. And with their successes growing, it was time to take the 1D family abroad.
While the UK applauded the boys success, the news came that they had been offered a record deal in America – they were to sign to Columbia Records. The deal was made and in February 2012, Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis went out to America to promote their debut single. They began a gruelling tour of the States, visiting radio stations and fans wherever they could and playing on world-renowned TV shows like The Today Show and Saturday Night Live. And their hard work paid off –‘What Makes You Beautiful’ debuted at No.28 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the highest entry for a British group’s debut single since the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’ in 1997.
As One Direction continued on their travels, so the 1D Mania grew and the phenomenon gathered meteoric pace. Fans would line the streets outside studios, hotels and malls, hoping to meet their idols. In March 2012, the news came that Up All Night had entered the US Billboard 200 chart at number one – making music history as the first UK group to debut at No.1 with the debut album. The boys had done it, they’d officially cracked America!
It wasn’t just America either – Up All Night had gone to number one in 15 different countries across the world including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden and Mexico. The group celebrated this astounding achievement by announcing they would play a headline show at the incredible Madison Square Garden in New York in December – a venue that has played host to the likes of Michael Jackson, Elton John, The Foo Fighters, Madonna and The Rolling Stones.
“We actually can’t believe we got a number one album in America,” Harry laughs. “We’re just teenage boys, how did that happen? And now we get to play some of the most incredible venues in the world. We’re so lucky.”
April saw One Direction pick up two Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice awards in LA, where they performed on stage alongside the likes of Katy Perry and Justin Bieber and in front of the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Their success was unprecedented and they now even had a celebrity following with the likes of Joe Jonas, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift speaking out about how much they adored these five boys from over the pond.
“That was one of the most surreal days ever,” Liam revealed at the time. “Will Smith, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Michelle Obama - wow what it going on with my life!”
In celebration, they took their Up All Night tour to Australia and New Zealand. And it was from there that they announced that they will be going on an arena tour around North America this summer and then again in 2013 as part of their World Tour.
Niall smiles, “We’re very lucky lads. And we can’t wait to tour North America in the summer. And I’m so proud to be flying the flag for Ireland.”
Contemplating their whirlwind rise to fame and their amazing success, Liam smiles, “It’s amazing to think back to when we were first put together - and to the point we are at now. Things have moved so quickly, it’s got all of us in a massive state of shock. It’s so surreal to think of everything - like wining the BRIT, doing our first UK tour, having our first number one. I can’t believe all of this has happened to us five lucky guys. We love our fans and owe all our success entirely to them – we want them to know that.”
“And not only have I had a lot of fun making music and working in the music industry but I’ve made the four best mates and four brothers that I’d always wanted. I couldn’t ask to work with four nicer guys and I’m very proud to be in One Direction.”
The final word from Simon Cowell
“I couldn’t be happier for One Direction, it is an incredible achievement. They deserve it. They have the best fans in the world.”
Profiles of One Direction:
Full name: Louis William Tomilison
Full name: Zayn Jawadd Malik
Full name: Niall James Horan
Full name: Liam James Payne
Full name: Harry Edward Styles
- Before One Direction, Harry used to be in a band called 'White Eskimo'.
- Harry has a sister called Gemma.
- His mother is called Anne.
- 'White Eskimo' performed at a wedding in June 2010.
- Harry is the youngest member of One Direction.
- He was born on 1st February 1994.
- Harry was the one who came up with the band's name 'One Direction'.
- Harry can speak French.
- He can play the kazoo.
- His X-Factor audition song was 'Isn't She Lovely' By Stevie Wonder.
- Juggling is one of Harry's hidden talents.
- Harry's favourite film genre is action/adventure.
- Harry had his first kiss when he was 11.
- When Harry was younger his hair used to be straight.
- He once applied for a job as a lifeguard.
- Harry does not like mayonnaise.
- According to Harry's mother, he is very romantic.
- Harry said he would date a fan.
- Harry likes to take food of other peoples plates!
- The boys say Harry is the smartest in the group.
- Harry is the biggest game-cheater out of everyone in One Direction.
- Louis and Harry first met in the toilets at X-Factor.
- Harry once ran through a train station with only his boxers on!
- He loves Zayn's cheekbones!
- Harry signs his name with one 'r'.
- Niall is the only member of One Direction who was not born in the England. He was born in Mullingar, Ireland.
- His birthday is 13th September 1993.
- His father is called Bobby, his mother is called Maura.
- He has one brother called Greg.
- Niall Skypes his family and close friends from their tour bus.
- He has blue eyes.
- Before they named the band One Direction, Niall suggested they should be 'Niall and the Potatoes'.
- He believes in no sex before marriage.
- His star sign is Virgo.
- Niall's microphone has the colours of the Irish flag stuck to the bottom of it.
- The only book Niall has ever read is 'To Kill A Mockingbird'.
- Niall plays the guitar.
- His guitar was the best Christmas present he ever received.
- Niall cannot play the piano.
- He likes girls with brown eyes.
- Niall didn't take his T-shirt off in the 'What Makes You Beautiful' video because he does not think he is slim enough.
- He was born on 12th January 1993.
- His star sign is Capricorn.
- He was born in Saint Luke's hospital in Bradford, England.
- Zayn's name is originally spelt 'Zain', however he prefers 'Zayn'.
- 'Zayn' means 'Beautiful' in Arabic.
- Zayn is a Muslim.
- His shoe size is 8½.
- Zayn first appeared on X-Factor as a solo artist.
- Zayn has his left ear pierced.
- His father is from Pakistan.
- He has light brown eyes.
- Zayn has one older sister and two younger sisters.
- He prefers his iPhone 4 to his BlackBerry.
- Zayn suffers from Acrophobia, which is the fear of heights.
- Before X-Factor, Zayn had never been on a plane.
- Zayn's X-Factor serial number is #165616.
- He can play the triangle.
- He has a pet dog called Boris and two cats called Rolo and Tom.
- Louis was born on Christmas Eve in 1991.
- His star sign is Capricorn.
- He is the oldest member in One Direction.
- He was born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.
- Louis has four sisters. Charlotte, Felicity and twins Daisy and Phoebe.
- His mother is called Johanna and his father is Mark.
- His eye colour is blue.
- He has a dog named Ted.
- He once pulled a moonie to his head teacher.
- Louis got suspended from school and had to retake year 12.
- He doesn't like tattoos.
- He prefers a shower over a bath.
- He can play the piano.
- His favourite colour is dark red.
- He doesn't like the fact that he is the oldest in the band.
- Louis had a chilly flavoured ice cream in France and said it was amazing!
- 'The Fray' is Louis' favourite band.
- He first met Harry in the X-Factor toilets.
- Liam's star sign is Virgo.
- His parents name are Karen and Geoff.
- He has two older sisters, Nicole and Ruth.
- He was born on 29th August 1993.
- Liam only has one kidney!
- Liam Payne Appeared on The X-Factor in 2008. He made it through to the judges houses.
- He prefers showers over baths.
- Liam has two pet turtles called Boris and Archimedes.
- Liam's favourite chocolate is Maltesers.
- Liam plays the guitar.
- He used to be a member in the Scouting Association.