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One Direction at an event

One Direction: How Have Their Careers Changed?

Gettyimages | Kevin Mazur
By Sarah Veldman

It seems like just yesterday when the baby-faced, innocent boys who would one day become one of the most successful musical groups of all time, auditioned in front of Simon Cowell on the X Factor.

Little did they know at the time, but when they were put together in a group to form One Direction, their entire lives and careers would be forever changed.

After their shocking split, each member of One Direction has seen various levels of success within their solo careers.

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Zayn Malik Was The First To Leave

Zayn Malik
Gettyimages | Kevork Djansezian

While Zayn Malik was always the quieter more mysterious member of One Direction, he was seen as the one with the most vocal talent. On March 25, 2015 he announced his departure from the band that made him famous, saying, "I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old."

Of course, we now know this to be fairly untrue, being that he has made a huge effort to carve out a solo career.

In 2016, Zayn won the American Music Award for New Artist Of The Year. Though Zayn worked with major stars like Sia and Taylor Swift, by 2018 it appeared his career was stalling a bit.

His second album Icarus Falls debuted at #64 on the UK charts. That's a long way to fall from his days of selling out stadiums around the world with his One Direction band mates.

Harry Styles Has Made A Name For Himself

Giphy | The Late Late Show with James Corden

One former member of the group who has done quite well for himself is Harry Styles, with successful albums and a tour in 2018 in which he had to add additional dates.

On April 17, 2017, Harry released his debut single "Sign Of The Times" to a huge amount of praise. He's the only former member of One Direction to have a song debut in the UK Top 30, with his single "Lights Up" entering the charts at a respectable No. 3.

He's tried to carve out an acting career, with a part in Dunkirk, and appears to be quite popular in the media, hosting Saturday Night Live and filling in for James Corden on The Late Late Show recently.

He has well and truly proved his status as the Justin Timberlake of the group.

Liam Payne Has Made An Effort to Stay Relevant

Liam Payne in concert
Gettyimages | John Phillips

Liam has been all over the place in his levels of success with his solo music, his image, and is giving all kinds of interviews lately. It seems his constant openness recently is a bid to stay relevant.

In a recent interview with The Face the former One Direction band member opened up about his time in the band and Harry Styles.

When asked who he would rather walk down Old Kent Road with, the singer replied, “I don’t know what more I’d say to him other than, ​‘Hello’ and ​‘How are you?’.” I mean, look at the stuff I put out, and the stuff Harry puts out. Polar opposite. I’m like the Anti-Christ version of what Harry is."

Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan

Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson in concert
Gettyimages | Kevin Winter

The fact that their seen as a bit of an afterthought says pretty much all you need to know about the solo careers of Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson.

While Niall has had some success with singles like "Slow Hands" and "Too Much To Ask" his solo career has been pretty slow. Louis just released the video for "Don't Let It Break Your Heart." Both singers will be going on world tours in 2020.

While they may have been one of the most successful boy bands of all time at one point, it appears their fans preferred them as a group.

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