The cheeky Northerner got his start on the X Factor with this patchy cover of Hey There Delilah and a prominent helmet of hair, was chucked into a band with four boys he'd never met, sold out four stadium tours and 7.6 million albums with them, inspired a series of erotic fan-fiction, about him and fellow band mate Harry Styles, broke up with the boyband, had a kid, and made it out the other side, racking up an alleged £40 million.
What did you get up to between the ages of 18 and 25?
I like to think that if I came out in some awful tracksuit, they'd all tell me about it on WhatsApp, and in three months time I'd be like, 'Thank you for telling me, I looked like a right dick!'" He doesn't want to come to your star spangled soiree, thanks very much"What I really can't ever get used to, or really enjoy, are these super geared-up celebrity parties -- where he's there, she's there -- and everyone pretends to be friends like they've known each other for years, like" -- putting on a faux smoozy LA accent -- "'oh, how are the kids?!' but no one actually cares." But sometimes, partying is the only answer"It's just such a difficult feeling to come off stage and have this amazing buzz and then be like…'so what now?' You can't just sit on the tour bus and chill." He really actually still is mates with the ex-One Direction members"There are often misconceptions, but we're all such good mates.
I felt a real sense of fulfilment doing that." He loves a girl who can strum a guitar..."To me, there's nothing cooler than seeing a girl own an instrument" ...so he's moved on from being in a boy band to making a girl band"It's early days with the label stuff" -- an imprint of Syco that Simon Cowell offered him to run -- "but the girls are my first major project and I'm super invested in them." Celebrities, they're just like us"You know, we all have the same problems, that's the bottom line -- they just look a lot different.
Those fundamental things that make you feel upset, they're the same." Discomfort is key"In ten years time, the most important thing for me is that I'll deliver a good album that people connect with, and then after that...