Harry Styles will release his second album Fine Line on Dec. 13, and he sat down with Zane Lowe of Beats 1 on Friday (Nov. 22) to chat about the making of the album (including a surprising vocal feature), the ups and downs of being in One Direction, and practicing self-care.
On the making of Fine Line, the English singer-songwriter shared that his fondest memory is writing a song called “Golden” on his second day in Shangri-La.
“Immediately, as soon as we’d done it, it was like, ‘Oh, this is track one,”” he said. “It’s so good. I used to drive from here to the studio and listen to it. ‘Golden’ was the perfect PCH song. It feels so Malibu to me.”
Styles also revealed that the track “Cherry” is about heartbreak.
“I wanted it to be true to the moment that I wrote it, and how I was feeling then [which was] not great,” he said. “It’s so pathetic in a way. The night that I wrote it, I was saying that I was feeling a lot of pressure because the last record wasn’t a radio record. And I was like, ‘I feel like this record has to be really big. So I feel like I need to make certain songs.’ And Tyler [Johnson, producer] just said to me, ‘You just have to make the record that you want to make right now.’ So then we stayed up and wrote ‘Cherry’ that night.”
Interestingly enough, Styles said his ex-girlfriend speaks at the end of “Cherry,” because he felt like the track “needed it.” “We’re friends and stuff, so I asked her if it was okay. I think she liked it,” he said, without specifiying which ex-girlfriend will make an appearance.
When discussing the track “Falling,” which Styles said he wrote in 20 minutes, he shared that during that time he felt like he was “becoming someone that I didn’t want to be.” “The times when I felt good and I felt happy were the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life. And the times when I felt sad was the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life. And I think it was that feeling of when you can feel yourself falling back into one of those moments where you’re there. The chorus says, ‘What am I now? Am I someone I don’t want around?’ It was a big moment where I was asking myself, ‘Who am I? What am I doing?'”
Styles also chatted with Lowe about his time in One Direction, sharing that his favorite memories are when they recorded in the back of vans while on tour, the group having their picture in the paper right after The X Factor, and being recognized in Sweden while recording “What Makes You Beautiful.”
When asked about what it was like when Zayn Malik left the band, Styles revealed that it was “hard.” “We were sad, obviously, that someone had left, but also sad that he was not enjoying it so much that he had to leave. Because I think at the time too, the tour and everything was going so well and everyone had got to this place where everyone was living in a way where they I think felt pretty good. It felt like everyone was enjoying it. I’d say a big part of it was us being like, ‘Wow.’ You didn’t realize he wasn’t enjoying it that much.”
When asked about therapy, Styles said that seeing a therapist has had an impact on his life.
He also spoke about another aspect of his self-care during the making of Fine Line — allowing himself to experiment with mushrooms because it was “stress relieving.” “When I was in the band, to me it felt like it was so much bigger than any of us. I’m not going to be the one who messes it up. So I was like, ‘Now is the time in my life when you probably go out and experiment.'”
“I think that that’s been a big part of this whole thing [creating a second album] for me is I’m just trying to go through life being a little less worried about stuff,” he explained. “If you don’t hit the top of the chart, your life doesn’t change. Realizing that if that was what I was aiming at, and then it didn’t happen, then I’d feel so much worse. Redefining it for me has been amazing to be like, ‘Oh but that’s not the game I’m playing.’ There’s a freedom with that.”