Harry Styles has just begun to unravel the mystery surrounding his solo career, starting with the release of debut single "Sign of the Times." In a massive cover story for Rolling Stone, Styles becomes less mysterious and more established as an artist outside of One Direction.
"I didn't want to write 'stories,'" he says of his decision to take a step back from the boy band. "I wanted to write my stories, things that happened to me. The number-one thing was I wanted to be honest. I hadn't done that before."
Although excited to finally have a say in his own career, Styles admits to feeling the full effect of the unknown. "Of course I'm nervous," he says. "I mean, I've never done this before. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing."
What Styles is actually doing is leaving behind mainstream pop to capture hints of classic rock as best he can—not because he wishes to hijack from a time he wasn't around for, but because that's simply what influences him.
"So the thing I didn't want to do was, I didn't want to put out my first album and be like, 'He's tried to re-create the Sixties, Seventies, Eighties, Nineties,'" he says. "Loads of amazing music was written then, but I'm not saying I wish I lived back then. I wanted to do something that sounds like me. I just keep pushing forward."
Styles isn't worried about the reception of his vastly different sound because, for the first time, the music is truly about him. He recognizes that his fanbase—predominately young girls—will be following his solo career, but when asked if he's concerned about his credibility with an older audience, Styles goes on the defensive.
"Who's to say that young girls who like pop music—short for popular, right?—have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That's not up to you to say. Music is something that's always changing. There's no goal posts," he says.
Activist Styles shows up to the interview as he continues to make it clear that his young female fans shouldn't be underestimated.
"Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they're not serious? How can you say young girls don't get it? They're our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going," he adds. "Teenage-girl fans—they don't lie. If they like you, they're there. They don't act 'too cool.' They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick."
Read the entire interview here.