Harry Styles‘ next album is all about finding a sense of home. In his Better Homes & Gardens cover story published Tuesday (April 26), the 28-year-old singer-songwriter revealed that his May 20-slated third record Harry’s House includes cozy lyrics about “sitting in the garden” and “maple syrup, coffee, pancakes for two,” all having to do with his realization that “home feeling isn’t something that you get from a house.”
“It’s more of an internal thing,” he told the publication. “You realize that when you stop for a minute.”
But what, exactly, is the chaos in his life he’s now working to move away from and toward stability? Turns out, a lot. Styles spoke in the interview at length about how Harry’s House — which he called “by far was the most intimate” record — was inspired in part by revelations he made while isolating during the pandemic, one of which was coming to terms with the consequences his privacy-deprived One Direction tenure had on his psyche. “In lockdown, I started processing a lot of stuff that happened when I was in the band,” he began.
“For a long time, it felt like the only thing that was mine was my sex life,” he continued, speaking about how being in a boy band meant some interviewers, fans and industry professionals thought nothing about his personal life was off limits. “I felt so ashamed about it, ashamed at the idea of people even knowing that I was having sex, let alone who with. At the time, there were still the kiss-and-tell things. Working out who I could trust was stressful. But I think I got to a place where I was like, ‘Why do I feel ashamed? I’m a 26-year-old man who’s single’; it’s, like, yes, I have sex.”
That same public fixation on his sex life eventually morphed into a fixation on his sexuality, starting while he was still in One Direction, when some particularly obsessive fans started to wonder whether he and his bandmate Louis Tomlinson were secretly a couple. Years later, it’s still very much open season on Styles’ romantic interests, be it speculation over the meaning of the star wearing women’s clothes, jewelry and nail polish, or his dedication to holding up Pride flags while performing.
“I’ve been really open with it with my friends, but that’s my personal experience; it’s mine,” he said of his sexuality. “The whole point of where we should be heading, which is toward accepting everybody and being more open, is that it doesn’t matter, and it’s about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you’re checking.”
Just as he’s working on moving on from the impact all the public scrutiny has had on him, he also thinks the public is starting to move on from participating in the invasive speculative culture he was rattled by. “You look back, especially now there’s all the documentaries, like the Britney [Spears] documentary, and you watch how people were abused in that way, by that system, especially women,” he said. “You recall articles from not even five years ago, and you’re like, ‘I can’t even believe that was written.'”
“Finally, it doesn’t feel like my life is over if this album isn’t a commercial success,” he continued. “I just want to make stuff that is right, that is fun, in terms of the process, that I can be proud of for a long time, that my friends can be proud of, that my family can be proud of, that my kids will be proud of one day.”