Harry Styles Opens Up About Sex, Drug Use and Reuniting With One Direction
By Antoinette Bueno
Ryan McGinley for Rolling Stone
Harry Styles is opening up about his new music and navigating being a solo artist in a rare interview.
The 25-year-old singer covers the September issue of Rolling Stone, and shares that he's putting the finishing touches on his second solo album, HS2, after his self-titled debut album dropped in May 2017. Styles notes that it's "all about having sex and feeling sad."
Styles is notoriously guarded about his love life, though one of his best friends, Tom Hull, tells the magazine that the singer took his breakup last summer from French model Camille Rowe hard. Although Styles doesn't mention Rowe by name, he notes that his music is the only arena in which he discusses his personal life.
"For me, it doesn't mean I'll sit down and be like, 'This is what I have for dinner, and this is where I eat every day, and this is what I do before I go to bed,'" he says. "But I will tell you that I can be really pathetic when I'm jealous. Feeling happier than I've ever been, sadder than I've ever been, feeling sorry for myself, being mad at myself, being petty and pitiful -- it feels really different to share that."
Styles is candid about using drugs while recording his new music.
"We'd do mushrooms, lie down on the grass, and listen to Paul McCartney's Ram in the sunshine," he says about his creative process at Shangri-La studios in Malibu, California. "We'd just turn the speakers into the yard."
"You'd hear the blender going, and think, 'So we’re all having frozen margaritas at 10 a.m. this morning,'" he continues. "This is where I was standing when we were doing mushrooms and I bit off the tip of my tongue. So I was trying to sing with all this blood gushing out of my mouth. So many fond memories, this place. ... 'Mushrooms and Blood.' Now there's an album title."
Styles recalls one incident where he lost all his belongings, including his wallet, although someone mailed it back to him.
"There was one night where we'd been partying a bit and ended up going down to the beach and I lost all my stuff, basically," he says. "I lost all my clothes. I lost my wallet. Maybe a month later, somebody found my wallet and mailed it back, anonymously. I guess it just popped out of the sand. But what’s sad is, I lost my favorite mustard corduroy flares."
The magazine notes that Styles has "an aura of sexual ambiguity," and that he wears nail polish during the interview and carries a purse reading "Chateau Marmont." Though he's dated only women in his public life -- most famously, Taylor Swift -- he hasn't put any kind of label on his sexuality. When it comes to him waving the pride flags as well as the Black Lives Matter flag during his performances, Styles says he always strives to make fans feel included.
"I want to make people feel comfortable being whatever they want to be," he explains. "Maybe at a show you can have a moment of knowing that you're not alone. I'm aware that as a white male, I don't go through the same things as a lot of the people that come to the shows. I can't claim that I know what it's like, because I don't. So I'm not trying to say, 'I understand what it's like.' I'm just trying to make people feel included and seen."
He also talks about how ideas of masculinity have changed over time.
"I feel pretty lucky to have a group of friends who are guys who would talk about their emotions and be really open," he shares. "My friend's dad said to me, 'You guys are so much better at it than we are. I never had friends I could really talk to. It's good that you guys have each other because you talk about real sh**. We just didn't.'"
Though Styles is obviously currently focused on his solo career, he does tell the magazine that he is open to a One Direction reunion down the line -- but only if everyone is all in.
"I don't think I'd ever say I'd never do it again, because I don't feel that way," he says. "If there's a time when we all really want to do it, that's the only time for us to do it, because I don't think it should be about anything else other than the fact that we're all like, 'Hey, this was really fun. We should do this again.' But until that time, I feel like I'm really enjoying making music and experimenting. I enjoy making music this way too much to see myself doing a full switch, to go back and do that again. Because I also think if we went back to doing things the same way, it wouldn't be the same, anyway."
He also says he doesn't have any bad blood with any of his former bandmates, which include Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik.
"Because above all else, we're the people who went through that," he says of One Direction's massive success. "We're always going to have that, even if we're not the closest. And the fact is, just because you're in a band with someone doesn't mean you have to be best friends. That's not always how it works. Just because Fleetwood Mac fight, that doesn't mean they’re not amazing."
"I think even in the disagreements, there's always a mutual respect for each other -- we did this really cool thing together, and we'll always have that," he continues. "It's too important to me to ever be like, 'Oh, that's done.' But if it happens, it will happen for the right reasons."
"I know it's the thing that always happens. When somebody gets out of a band, they go, 'That wasn't me. I was held back,'" he notes. "But it was me. And I don't feel like I was held back at all. It was so much fun. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't have done it. It's not like I was tied to a radiator."