With 2016 single “Just Hold On,” Louis Tomlinson established himself as the third member of boy band One Direction to launch a solo career. Even as the remaining four members move on and tease projects that may arrive in the coming months, the group still maintains that they are on hiatus and not officially broken up.
“No one knows the answer right now,” Tomlinson tells Rolling Stone of how much longer the break will last. “Everyone’s just enjoying a schedule that’s not as relentless and exploring solo projects.”
While tabloids have long reported on tension between 1D’s members, which was formed after the original five members delivered solo auditions for The X-Factor, Tomlinson says that they are still all friendly and close. Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and even former member Zayn Malik showed up to watch Tomlinson make his stage debut as a solo artist at The X-Factor in December, a performance that also happened to follow news of his mother’s death.
“I think that’s what it’s all about,” he adds. “People love to write what they want to write but there’s no bitterness.”
As for what’s to come now that his collaboration with Steve Aoki is out in the world, Tomlinson has not made any plans to release more solo music. His move to dance-pop was surprising for many given his penchant for folkier, rock-leaning tunes as one of the main songwriters for his boy band. “I wanted to do something that was different enough to One Direction, but not too far away that it’s going to alienate the One Direction fans,” he explains.
Malik was the first member of One Direction to release solo music, having left the band in early 2015 following creative disputes and anxiety issues. He released his debut album Mind of Mine last year. Horan followed suit last fall with his folk-y, acoustic “This Town.” Styles will appear in the Christopher Nolan film Dunkirk this summer, while Payne has not yet revealed his future plans, though he did announce a solo contract with Columbia.