Harry Styles pulled back the curtain just a bit on his new album on Thursday (Apr. 13) with the news that the self-titled, 10-song solo debut will drop on May 12. And while the announcement still leaves plenty of questions — why is Harry face-down and shirtless in a pool of pink water on the cover? Who helped him write the songs? — one thing we do know is which producers helped the former One Direction star craft the tunes.
Styles has already served notice that he’s willing to go a bit off the beaten path for his solo bow, starting with the Bowie-meets-Pink-Floyd, Coldplay-meets-Eric-Carmen sound of the first single, “Sign of the Times.” But his choice of producers is also a signal that he’s not content to play by the rules. A look at Harry’s collaborators:
Jeff Bhasker: Best known for his award-winning work with alternative group fun. on their smash breakthrough Some Nights — which netted him the Grammy for Song of the Year for “We Are Young” — Bhasker is credited as the executive producer on Styles’ album.
The frequent Kanye West collaborator, who has more Academy hardware on his shelf thanks to his Best Rap Song wins for Ye’s “All of the Lights” and the Jay Z/Rihanna/West tune “Run This Town,” has also written and produced tracks and albums for Alicia Keys, Goapele, Robin Thicke, Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift Ed Sheeran and Mark Ronson. He took home yet more Grammy gold in 2016 as one of the producers on the Record of the Year winning Ronson smash “Uptown Funk.”
Bhasker also released Born on the Fourth of July, a bold, experimental solo concept album under the name Billy Kraven, in 2013.
Alex Salibian: Salibian is part of Bhasker’s production crew. He provided guitar, piano and backing vocals for Young the Giant’s 2016 album Home of the Strange, and (along with Bhasker) co-produced the record. He has also lent a production/engineering and musical hand on songs by Cam, Mikky Ekko and Elle King and is credited as a co-writer and co-producer on Styles’ “Sign of the Times.”
@harrystyles released his first single #signofthetimes today! This man’s thoughtfulness and creative genius is unrivaled. I co-wrote/co-produced this record along side @jeffbhasker and @tylersamj in Jamaica, with the talented @mitchellkrowland and @nasty_nasci – the process was a dream in itself. Now we get to share it with you! https://itun.es/us/tRu6ib
Tyler Johnson: Another frequent Bhasker associate, Johnson was also part of the team behind the 2012 Bhasker-produced Pink hit “Just Give Me a Reason” (he engineered it), as well as providing sampling advice on fun.’s Some Nights, and producing and engineering songs for All American Rejects, OneRepublic, Ed Sheeran and Mikky Ekko. He also lent songwriting expertise to songs by Miley Cyrus, SonReal and John Legend on the singer’s 2016 Darkness and Light album.
Johnson has also dabbled in the country world, helping write Cam’s breakthrough single “Burning House” and its follow-up, “Mayday” (in addition to playing guitar, keyboards and programming the drums), as well as co-writing and co-producing Keith Urban’s “Gone Tomorrow (Here Today),” from the star’s Ripcord album.
@harrystyles first single out today. Harry you are THE MAN!! Creating this music with you and @jeffbhasker @mitchellkrowland @nasty_nasci @alexsalibian was a dream come true! Love you guys. #SignOfTheTimes AND.. thanks @lindsaymarias for letting me leave the country for 2 months to work on this right after we got married. Your support means the world to me —
Kid Harpoon: The English singer/songwriter born Thomas Hull released the critically acclaimed folk-punk single “The River, the Ocean, The Pearl” in 2006, followed by a pair of EPs and his full-length debut, Young Turks, in 2009. He’s since co-written songs for Florence + the Machine (“Shake it out,” “Never Let Me Go” and “Leave My Body” from Ceremonials), collaborated with Florence and Calvin Harris on Harris’ “Sweet Nothing” single, and co-wrote and co-produced a handful of songs for Jessie Ware’s 2012 debut, Devotion.
Hull also has production and writing credits on tracks by Mayer Hawthorne, Haim (“Days are Gone”), Shakira (“Can’t Remember to Forget You”), Christina Perri (“Burning Gold”), Shawn Mendes (“Roses”) and Skrillex (“Fire Away“).