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What Harry Styles’ ‘Another Man’ interview really means


Through a series of Instagram photos, Harry Styles himself broke the news on Monday that he would be on the cover of the latest issue of ‘Another Man’ magazine, on newsstands tomorrow. It was immediately evident that Harry, who’s been flying under the radar lately during his time filming ‘Dunkirk’ admidst $80m solo album deal rumors, would be showing a different side of himself through the magazine than we’d ever seen in One Direction.

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Typical One Direction photo shoots were teen bait, tame and soft, designed for mass consumption and glossy posters. Looking at the three different cover photos for ‘Another Man’ alone, Harry clearly is embracing and showcasing his own aesthetic, paying homage to the greats before him like Mick Jagger and the Beatles. Rather than remain mainstream with a photo shoot and interview in ‘People’ or even a fashion magazine like ‘Elle’, Harry chose a niche publication to give him the space to truly express himself.

Inside the issue, in the “special document curated by Harry Styles” as described on the cover, Harry lists his 10 favorite songs:

  1. Pink Floyd – ‘Breathe’
  2. Elvis Presley – ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’
  3. Paul McCartney – ‘Heart of the Country’
  4. Crosby, Stills & Nash – ‘Helplessly Hoping’
  5. Ray Charles – ‘Drown in My Own Tears’
  6. Blaze Foley – ‘Ooh Love’
  7. Simon & Garfunkel – ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’
  8. Van Morrison – ‘Tupelo Honey’
  9. Travis – ‘Flowers in the Window’
  10. Patsy Cline – ‘She’s Got You’

In One Direction’s most recent and possible final album, ‘Made in the A.M.’, these influences are obvious. Music critics able to rise above the boyband stereotypes gave the tracks the credit for Fleetwood Mac and Paul Simon sounds, a far cry from the teen bop days of ‘What Makes You Beautiful’. When it comes to predicting the style of Harry’s rumored solo album, it seems likely it will continue on this trend and take it further.

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But is Harry confident this music will resonate with the One Direction fans? In the part of his interview with Paul McCartney, Harry takes the time to ask the music legend about any difficulties he experienced creatively when moving from the group to solo work. “There’s obviously so much knowledge of who you were when you were in [the Beatles], did you find it at all difficult to think, ‘If I do anything different is it going to be right?'” Harry asks.

Harry has always appeared to value his privacy (his friend Chelsea Handler even remarks on this during their section of the interview), but there’s no doubt that as a celebrity, his fans, casual readers of tabloids, and in general, the world have their preconceived notions of who he is and how he lives his life. “One thing Harry’s ascent has taught me is that suddenly you’re not seen as a normal person anymore,” Harry’s older sister Gemma says. “People scurry to gather tidbits of information about his life, whether they’re readily shared or not, to try and understand where this creature with the hair and the silver boots came from.” For Harry, maintaining that careful balance of personal privacy with sharing enough of himself to keep the fans in love is and will be key to his success.

It’s apparent that, unlike former bandmate Zayn Malik who had to break away from One Direction in order to create the kind of music he loves, Harry harbors no bad feelings for his time spent in the band. “It’s the most important, greatest thing that ever happened to me, being in that band,” he says. “It completely changed my life.”

These are the things One Direction fans love and will continue to love about Harry Styles as he embarks on his solo career; the things that will allow him to endure and remain in the spotlight while keeping true to himself. His appreciation for the artists that came before him and the experience that’s made him who is he today; his sense of humor (a photo at a bakery, which is notoriously Harry’s first place of employment prior to fame); his nostalgia, hanging onto a pair of vintage shoes too beat up to wear anymore; his journal-carrying dedication to creativity; his willingness to cut his hair in phases for the sake of an iconic photo shoot paying homage to music greats; and his continuous, delightful ambiguity.

You can order Issue 23 of ‘Another Man’ here or on newsstands tomorrow, September 29.