On July 21st, Liam Payne broke some really exciting news that, very obviously, made him both incredibly happy and proud. He recently cemented some of his solo project plans by signing with Capitol Records UK. While the news for him was exhilarating and really special, it was received with mixed emotions from One Direction fans.
When the boys announced in 2015 that they would be going on a hiatus beginning in 2016, fans were thrust immediately into unfamiliar territory. There had, since 2010, not been a life for One Direction fans without the boys both actively touring and making music. While most artists take time between albums and tours, the boys recorded songs while on the road, from continent to continent and hotel to hotel – they worked hard and while they got to play too – most of their lives were dedicated to their last 5 albums and the tours that came from them.
Taking a break obviously put a sense of fear in the hearts of one Direction fans, but in many different interviews and social media platforms; Liam, Niall, Louis, and Harry promised fans that they’d return and this was truly just a hiatus. While some of the appeal of taking time off from their grueling schedule was just to rest and kick back, a bigger part of the appeal came from the freedom to explore other facets of their passion and talent and to get new life experience in ways they were unable to before.
None of this solidifies or even suggests the end of One Direction, in reality, it brings with it the promise of a more full, bright, and long lasting future for the band upon their return. The boys have grown up on the road and used their lives to this point to draw inspiration from for their songwriting and performances, but they’re still so young. They’ve got the world at their feet so it makes sense to take something as beautiful as what they have with One Direction and trust that their fans will understand their need to find themselves outside of that too.
All of the boys have obviously decided to stick with songwriting over the course of their break, it’s the fire that drives them at the heart of who they are. Louis has taken to working with musicians in more of a business sense while still finding the time to write. Niall has been in the studio having some fun as well as juggling a golf management role and spending time learning more about the sport. Harry is currently on set for his debut film role and has still been writing as well which surprises no one – his songs are incredible.
Liam however, is the first to make a solo music announcement himself, and while he anticipated positive reactions from One Direction fans, he was met with a bit of adversity that quite honestly, we hope he didn’t see much of.
Over the course of 2015, fans felt a lot like they were on a roller coaster ride and with Liam’s announcement, some fans felt like they’d finally been thrown off, but the truth of the matter is, the rollercoaster ride was more self-imposed than some fans realize.
When you truly love someone you love them without conditions, there are no stipulations that make them more or less deserving of your support. Unconditional love stems from an unselfishnesses and that’s what makes it count, it’s what makes love withstand change and change is necessary for life to continue.
It’s a cycle, but many people took to social media with concern, fright, and some anger towards Liam as he revealed something he was proud of because they worried it meant that he’d given up on One Direction and broken his promise. During his tweets yesterday he even took the time to mention that One Direction was his family and his home but that this chapter was exciting for him.
One direction will always be my home and family but I'm very excited to see what this chapter brings.
— Liam (@LiamPayne) July 21, 2016
It probably took a lot for Liam to post his new venture on social media and instead of being met with the excitement from fans that he anticipated, a lot of replies called him a liar, a snake, and suggested that the boys had no intentions of ever returning and that he’d, without knowing, killed any dreams of One Direction returning.
The responses made us wonder in what world it made sense for Liam to be penalized or berated because he wanted to use this hiatus…well…for exactly what it’s meant to be used for. Why would Liam be attacked for wanting to make solo music with people who not only have incredible names from the industry on their roster but work amongst people who are looking out for his best interests?
It was painful to see some of the responses, but in true One Direction fan form, people began to realize that Liam deserved kindness and respect and as the day progressed, more fans used their social media, specifically Twitter, to congratulate him for his success – and we truly hope those are the messages that he saw.
Some fans fear that the boys will find more happiness in their solo projects than they did in One Direction, but they forget in the moment about the way the boys sing songs like “Drag Me Down” and “History” – they forget about “AM” and promises of always coming back. They forget, in the moment, about the way it feels to be at a One Direction concert and the way that you know that you’re in the happiest place on earth – and it’s not just the fans who feel that way.
The fear also exists, in some fans, that the boys have peaked, they’ve done it all and wonder what else they’d come back for as they turn to other outlets of expression in their solo music, acting, and writing – but the truth is, there’s no reaching the top when you’ve got talent and passion and heart that Niall, Liam, Harry, and Louis have. They will always want more because, even though fans credit the boys for giving them a home, the fans have truly made a safe place for the boys to exist too – and a team effort like that is one you can’t walk away from. So while the boys have evolved from staircases to stadiums, they are not at the end of their road, they’re just embarking on a new path.
In fact, if all bands simply walked away once they’d reached a certain level of “stardom” we’d not have any lasting music acts at all, they’d simply walk off the stage of a sold-out show one night and never return, but that’s the beauty of music, entertainment, and acting – there’s always a place for ideas to grow and projects to be formed and a home base to stay strong and come home to.
We can’t wait to see what Liam’s solo sound will bring, and we’re hoping – as he’s already worked a bit with rappers on the hiatus so far – that we’ll see more of an r&b sound from him and his voice is perfect for it. We certainly already miss his falsettos, high notes, and the smooth sound of his voice so we’re patiently (mostly) waiting for his website to feature snippets of his music, for him to take to social media and show us a bit of what he’s working on, and to blast his first radio single as loud as possible in the car.
We’re so proud of you Liam, for your solo work and for inviting us into this chapter with you! If you want to send some well wishes to Liam, tweet him and include us at CelebMix1D – we’ll retweet them too!