Harry Styles has been constantly on the go since his teenage years in the boy band One Direction – one world tour after another. So the idea of home is something he's been giving a lot of thought. Just consider the title of his new album, out today: Harry's House.
Morning Edition's Leila Fadel spoke to Styles about the concept of home and where he sought it during and after lockdown, helping friends heal and the process of separating the pop star from the person, especially when they've been the former for so much of their life. And she learned, while researching him for the interview, he was researching about her too.
"Leila gave the best commencement address in Northeastern history," he says.
The below has been edited and condensed. You can hear this conversation using the audio player at the top of the page.
Leila Fadel, Morning Edition: This album, Harry's House, was recorded all over the world – LA, Tokyo, Maine, London. That's indicative of the life you live, the life of a traveler. So what is home for you?
Harry Styles: I think for me home is just about friends. While this is such a personal album, and so much about my own journey finding a place of home, I also feel like it's very much dedicated to my friends.
I always felt like I would land in a certain place, or a certain house and feel like 'Oh, this is the home I've been searching for.' And I think, much like happiness, that isn't necessarily a final resting place and it is a journey and it's kind of peaks and troughs of happiness, sadness – all of the things that make you feel alive.
The "Matilda" here – is that Roald Dahl's?
It's definitely disguised as Roald-Dahl-Matilda, yeah. It was kind of like okay, we'll disguise it as speaking to Matilda now that she's all grown up, who's been mistreated by her family, how would you speak to her?
I think people have so much guilt with things that they don't necessarily need to have guilt with. It's your right to protect the space around you and be protective of yourself and look after yourself. I think it was a moment where it's not necessarily my place to make someone else's experience about me, but it's just wanting to reassure them that I was listening.
The single "As It Was" has a really fun energy, but when you listen to the words, there's nostalgia... there's sadness. What moment in time are you singing about?
It's about metamorphosis, losing yourself, finding yourself. Embracing the fact that life hits you at different times, not when you expect it. That's wonderful, but with these wonderful things comes some complex emotional journey[s].
You've talked about trying to figure out how to not be defined by what you do, trying to figure out who you are separate from it.
I think because I started so young, it became kind of like – that's who I am. I don't know if I ever stopped for long enough to realize what I was if I didn't do it. But I think getting to a place where I feel like, 'This is what I do and I love it, but it's not necessarily who I am.' Just feels like a much healthier place to be operating from and making music from.