One Direction are an English-Irish pop boy band based in London, consisting of members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson. They signed with Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records after being formed and finishing third in the seventh series of British televised singing competition The X Factor in 2010.
Propelled to international success by the power of social media, their two albums Up All Night and Take Me Home, released in 2011 and 2012 respectively, broke several records, topped the charts of most major markets, and generated hit singles, including “What Makes You Beautiful” and “Live While We’re Young”. Often described as sparking the resurgence in the boy band concept, and of forming part of a new “British Invasion” in the United States, the group have sold over 14 million singles and 8 million albums, as noted by the band’s management company, Modest! Management.
Their achievements include two BRIT Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. According to Nick Gatfield, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Music Entertainment UK, One Direction represented a $50 million business empire by June 2012. They were proclaimed 2012’s “Top New Artist” by Billboard, while The Huffington Post named 2012 “The Year of One Direction”. History The X Factor, formation, and record deal In 2010, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson auditioned as solo candidates for the seventh series of British televised singing competition The X Factor.
Failing to progress to the “Boys” category at “judges’ houses”, after a suggestion by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, thus qualifying for the “Groups” category. Subsequently, the group got together for two weeks to get to know each other and to practise. Styles came up with the name One Direction. Simon Cowell later commented that the performance convinced him that the group “were confident, fun, like a gang of friends, and kind of fearless as well. ” Within the first four weeks of the live shows, they were Cowell’s last act in the competition.
The group quickly gained popularity in the UK. Shortly afterwards it was confirmed, One Direction had been signed by Cowell to a reported ? 2 million Syco Records record contract. Recording for their debut album began in January 2011, as they flew to Los Angeles to work with producer RedOne. A One Direction-licensed book, One Direction: Forever Young, was published by HarperCollins in February 2011, subsequently topping The Sunday Times Best Seller list. The same month, the boy band and other contestants from the series participated in the X Factor Live Tour.
The tour saw the group performing for 500,000 people throughout the UK. After the tour concluded in April 2011, the group continued working on their debut album. Up All Night and international breakthrough Released in September 2011, One Direction’s debut single, “What Makes You Beautiful”, bowed at number one on the UK Singles Chart, after becoming the most pre-ordered Sony Music Entertainment single in history. Subsequent singles, “Gotta Be You” and “One Thing”, peaked within the UK Singles Chart top ten. In November 2011, they signed a record deal with Columbia Records in North America.
Steve Barnett, the co-chairman of Columbia Records, said it was not a difficult decision to sign One Direction; “I just thought there was a void, and maybe they could seize and hold it. ” “What Makes You Beautiful” was released in the United States in February 2012, where it debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 28, becoming the highest debut for a British act since 1998. It has sold over 4 million units in the US. Upon arrival in the US in February 2012, One Direction embarked on a radio promotion spree, as well as their first North American concert tour as an opening act for Big Time Rush.
They made their first US television appearance on The Today Show, at the Rockefeller Center; an estimated 15,000 fans descended on the plaza. Critically commended for its appeal to the teenage audience, One Direction’s first studio album, Up All Night, was released globally in early 2012. It became the UK’s fastest-selling debut album of 2011, and topped the charts in sixteen countries. The album bowed atop the US Billboard 200 chart, making One Direction the first British group in US chart history to enter at number one with their debut album.
They were inducted into the Guinness World Records as a result. Up All Night also became the first album by a boy band to sell 500,000 digital copies in the US and, as of August 2012, had sold over 3 million copies worldwide. In April 2012, an American band that went by the same name filed a trademark infringement lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the US band had been using the name since 2009, recorded two albums and filed an application to register the trademark name in the US in February 2011. In December 2011,
One Direction embarked on their first headlining UK concert tour, the Up All Night Tour. In early 2012, they announced Australasian and North American legs of the concert tour, with dates from April to July 2012. The tour, resulting in 62 shows, was met with positivity both critically and commercially. A recording of a concert from the tour, Up All Night: The Live Tour, was released in May 2012. In addition to the DVD topping the charts in twenty-five countries, as of August 2012, its global sales had exceeded 1 million copies.
One Direction’s first-licensed American book, Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction, published in the United States in May 2012, topped The New York Times Best Seller list. In June 2012, Nick Gatfield, chairman and chief executive officer of Sony Music Entertainment UK, stated how he expects One Direction to represent a $100 million business empire over 2013. Gatfield maintained, “What you might not know about One Direction is that they already represent a $50 million business and that’s a figure we expect to double next year”.
One Direction were the biggest winners of the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards winning their three nominations on 6 September 2012, including Best New Artist. Take Me Home and world tour One Direction’s second studio album, Take Me Home, was released in November 2012. Take Me Home was written in groups and has an average of just under five songwriters per track. Savan Kotecha, Rami Yacoub, and Carl Falk, who composed One Direction’s hits “What Makes You Beautiful” and “One Thing”, spent six months in Stockholm developing songs for the album, and were able to shape melodies around their tones.
One Direction began recording the album in May 2012, in Stockholm at Kinglet Studios. Take Me Home garnered mixed reviews from music critics. Praise centred on production quality while criticism hinged on its generic, rushed nature. With the album and its second single, “Little Things”, both debuting simultaneously at number one in the UK, One Direction became the youngest act in British chart history to achieve the feat. Take Me Home sold 540,000 copies in its first week in the US, debuted atop the Billboard 200, and topped the charts in more than thirty-four other countries.
Additionally, Up All Night and Take Me Home were the number three and number four best-selling albums of 2012 globally, selling 4. 5 million and 4. 4 million units, respectively. One Direction performed “Little Things” at the 2012 Royal Variety Performance in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II, and headlined a sold-out show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on 3 December 2012. In February 2013, One Direction released a cover version of “One Way or Another” and “Teenage Kicks”, “One Way or Another “, as the 2013 Comic Relief single.
The band performed the song at the 2013 BRIT Awards at which they also won the newly created Global Success Award. In addition, the Official Charts Company revealed that One Direction have sold 2,425,000 records in the UK by February 2013. One Direction embarked on their second concert tour in February 2013, the Take Me Home Tour. The concert tour consists of over 100 shows in Europe, North America and Australasia. Ticket sales reached 300,000 within a day of release in the UK and Ireland, which included a six date sell-out at London’s The O2 Arena.
In the Australian and New Zealand markets, tickets grossed US$15. 7 million, with all 190,000 tickets being sold for the eighteen shows to be held. This Is Us, a 3D biopic film centering on the group, is to be directed by Morgan Spurlock, produced by Spurlock, Ben Winston, Adam Milano and Cowell, and released by TriStar Pictures on 30 August 2013. Musical style One Direction’s debut studio album, Up All Night, is predominantly a pop music record, containing elements of teen pop, dance-pop, pop rock, and power pop, with electropop and rock influences.
Digital Spy’s Robert Copsey described the album as a “collection of pg pop rock with killer choruses”, while The New York Times considered it “full of easy rock-inflected pop, blithe and sometimes clever. ” Jason Lipshutz of Billboard acknowledged that the album demonstrates an originality in sound that was “necessary for the revitalization of the boy band movement”. Their second studio album, Take Me Home, is characterised by rock-inherited pop, prominent electric guitar riffs, bright synthesizers, double entendres for sexual intercourse, a homogeneous sound and message, and the pitch-correcting software Auto-Tune.
Alexis Petridis for The Guardian interpreted its signature sound as follows: “peppy, synth-bolstered take on early-80s new-wave pop, heavy on clipped rhythms and chugging guitars,” which, he said, is at least an improvement on the substitute R&B “that was once the grim lot of the boyband. ” Vocally, in a live setting, Erica Futterman for Rolling Stone favoured their acoustic performances as both showcasing, “Horan’s ability to play guitar, as well as One Direction’s admirable live vocals.
There was no need to worry about a backing track or a bum note, a pleasant realization at a pop show. ” Herald Suns Cameron Adams opined that One Direction have “strong pop voices”. Melody Lau of the National Post wrote, “It’s easy to get lost in inherent appeal of their perfectly coiffed dos and almost-too-put-together preppy style but somewhere in the midst of all the love-struck squeals of teenage girls are guys who can actually sing and, to a certain extent, entertain. Jane Stevenson of portal site Canoe concurred, “What I didn’t really prepare myself for was that they all can actually sing in concert. ” The Washington Post writer Chris Richards dissented of the approval, “As the five traded couplets, it was tough to imagine a future Justin Timberlake, Ricky Martin or Bobby Brown emerging from the pack. No one voice stood out. ” Mike Wass of Idolator felt One Direction’s “surprisingly accomplished effort” of Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” proved that One Direction are “more than capable” of evolving their sound.
Image Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph published an article on the nature of One Direction’s success in North America, noting that Americans had left a gap in the market, writing that it took the prominence of Justin Bieber to demonstrate that there was still a market for “clean cut, wholesome, whiter-than-white, middle class parent friendly pop: cute boys advocating puppy love. And what could be better than one cute boy, if not five? ” One Direction have been described as sparking the resurgence in the boy band concept, and as forming part of a new “British Invasion” in the United States.
Bill Werde, a representative of Billboard magazine, commented, “There’s a lot of possibility here, there’s a lot of upside, that level of talent with those kinds of looks, it’s really a perfect storm for a massive, massive successful phenomenon. ” Sonny Takhar, the chief executive officer of Syco Records, attributes the breakthrough to the power of social media. “Sometimes you feel the song’s the star, but it’s not like that here – it’s the act,” he said. “It’s a real moment.