Why This One Direction Member Took So Long to Release a Solo Album

One Direction broke up and all of its former members perused solo careers. Louis Tomlinson took the longest to release a solo album. Here’s why.

One Direction in Burbank, CA | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel

Why did he take so much time?

Explaining the creative process behind his album Walls to Rolling Stone, Tomlinson said “I definitely could have made a quick record, a more trendy record. But I think it’s a big thing for me as a writer that it’s got to be believable coming out of my mouth. So lyrics are really important to me.”

Speaking to Billboard about how his music developed, he said “You might work on a certain sound for 12 months and then be like, ‘I’m gonna scrap this, this doesn’t quite work.’ Obviously, naturally coming out of a band like One Direction, the spotlight is on me. So I have to kind of develop…” He added that creating this album meant “improvising on the job and working out, crafting exactly what felt authentic to me.”

How Louis Tomlinson plans to be authentic

Tomlinson told Rolling Stone “When I first started my solo career, I did an electronic track with Steve Aoki…And I did a track with Bebe Rexha…when I look back at those songs, I don’t think they really represent me. So it took me a second to work out that I just wanted to follow my heart.”

Louis Tomlinson at Kiss FM Studio’s on July 19, 2017 | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

He added “I have the luxury of having been in a band like One Direction. And luckily, I saw a lot of success with the band. But instead of focusing so much on numbers and chart position and radio, I thought, ‘I’m just going to follow my heart.’ And, hopefully, it’ll be a more authentic record that way.”

Louis Tomlinson’s musical break-through moment

Tomlison describes the track “Kill My Mind” as a turning point for him. “Before that song, I had a lot of frustrating sessions — not necessarily in terms of quality, but more down to taste and the way certain productions were sounding. We got into the studio and we wrote ‘Kill My Mind,’ and it was written with a deliberate statement of intent of mixing things up and seeing where we ended up with it…That was a real breakthrough moment on the album because that was where I wanted to be sonically.”

Louis Tomlinson on The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show | Mireya Acierto/Getty Images

“Kill my Mind” Is a departure from the work of One Direction. It features some dark lyrics. In the song, Tomlinson sings “The devil in my brain/Whispering my name/I can hear it sayin’, ah, ah, ah/I can ease the pain/Just a little taste babe/And ya won’t let go of your hold on me.”

Explaining the origins of that song, Tomlinson said “I don’t want people to feel sorry for me, so I didn’t want to keep writing emotional, heavy stuff. So I thought it was a great opportunity to just completely switch it all, and really go in on my inspirations.”

Tomlinson has crafted music that suits his taste. Maybe it will be as commercially successful as One Direction’s. Regardless, he certainly followed his heart to create it.

Also see: This One Direction Member Listens to One Direction When He’s Drunk