One Direction Profile
One Direction are a British-Irish boy band consisting of members Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson. The group signed to Simon Cowell’s record label Syco Records after being formed and placing third in the seventh series of The X Factor. They later signed in North America to Columbia Records.
One Direction’s debut single, “What Makes You Beautiful”, was released in September 2011 and peaked at number one in the UK and charted in the top ten in several international markets. Their debut album, Up All Night, followed in November 2011, and debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart, selling 138,631 copies, and was the fastest-selling debut album on the UK Albums Chart of 2011. On 21 March 2012, Up All Night debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 176,000 copies in its first week, making One Direction the first UK group in history to debut at number one with their first album.
“What Makes You Beautiful” won the Best British Single award at the 2012 Brit Awards, which was held on 21 February 2012.
- 2010: The X Factor and formation
In 2010, all five members applied as solo candidates for the The X Factor, but failed to qualify for the “Boys” category. After suggestion by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, the five were put into a band, thus qualifying for the “Groups” category. After the elimination of F.Y.D., Diva Fever and Belle Amie within four weeks, they were Simon Cowell’s last act in the competition. One Direction finished third behind runner-up Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle. Immediately after the final, their song “Forever Young”, which would have been released if they had won The X Factor, was leaked onto the internet.
- 2011–present: Up All Night
Following The X Factor, One Direction signed a £2 million record contract with Syco Records. One Direction and nine other contestants from the series participated in the X Factor Live Tour from February 2011 to April 2011. They developed their debut album with Savan Kotecha and released their debut single “What Makes You Beautiful” on 11 September 2011. The song broke pre-order sales record for Sony Music. It entered the UK Singles Chart at No. 1 with 153,965 sales within the first week. One Direction released their second single “Gotta Be You” on 13 November 2011, which peaked at number three. The single was followed by their debut studio album, Up All Night on 21 November. The album features songs written by Kelly Clarkson and Ed Sheeran. The album peaked at number two on the UK Albums Chart, selling 138,631 copies, and was the fastest-selling debut album on the UK Albums Chart of 2011.
Up All Night was the sixteenth biggest selling album on the UK Albums Chart of 2011, with 468,000 copies sold. The album reached the top ten in nineteen other countries.
On 26 September 2011, One Direction announced their debut headline UK tour, the Up All Night Tour, set for December 2011 and January 2012. The tour was sold out in minutes of release. On 9 November 2011, One Direction also revealed that they will be touring the United States with Big Time Rush from February 2012 to March 2012. On 6 January 2012, One Direction released their third single “One Thing”, as a promotional single in various European countries and was released in the United Kingdom, 13 February 2012. In the UK, “One Thing” peaked at number nine, becoming the third consecutive top ten single from Up All Night. 21 February 2012, One Direction attended the 2012 Brit Awards. The group received the Brit Award for Best British Single. During One Direction’s acceptance speech for their Brit Award, Liam Payne stated the group would embark on their first arena tour in 2013, the UK & Ireland Arena Tour.
One Direction signed a record deal with Columbia Records in the United States. The album was originally set for release in North America, on 23 March 2012 through Columbia Records, but was rescheduled for a one week earlier release on 13 March 2012, with Columbia Records releasing a statement: “due to overwhelming fan demand, their debut album will be released one week early on 13 March 2012.” “What Makes You Beautiful” was released in the United States, 14 February 2012. In the U.S. “What Makes You Beautiful” became the highest Billboard Hot 100 debut for a UK act since 1998. The single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number twenty-eight. On 21 March 2012, Up All Night went straight to number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling 176,000 copies in its first week, which made One Direction the first UK group to debut at number one with their first album.
One Direction performed on the Today Show in the U.S. on 12 March 2012. They performed “What Makes You Beautiful” at the 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards on 31 March 2012. One Direction are booked as the musical act for Saturday Night Live on 7 April 2012 and are also set to appear in an episode of iCarly in 2012, cast as themselves and perform “What Makes You Beautiful”. The episode entitled iGo One Direction will air 7 April.
One Direction have announced Oceania and North American legs of their debut headlining tour with tour dates set for April to July 2012.
Neil McCormick from UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph published an article on the nature of One Direction’s success in North America. Noting that the “new generation of British wannabes can actually sing, for a start. British boy bands of the past always had almost comical weak links, the handsome dead wood who did lots of headspins and backflips to cover up for their inability to do more than croak an approximation of the correct note.” Noting that Americans had left a gap in the market stating that it took prominence of Justin Bieber to demonstrate that there was still a market for “clean cut, wholesome, middle class parent friendly pop: cute boys advocating puppy love. And what could be better than one cute boy, if not five?”
Yahoo News published an article, that according to Google’s keyword tool 3.35 million people are searching for One Direction related search phrases each month. One Direction’s Twitter account had amassed 2 million followers as of February 2012, since then the account gains followers at an average of 24,000 per day.
The group is often labeled as the new British Invasion. Bill Werde, a representative of Billboard Magazine stated on the matter. “There’s a lot of possibility here, there’s a lot of upside, that level of talent with those kinds of looks, and it’s really a perfect storm for a massive, massive successful phenomenon.” Sonny Takhar, the chief executive officer of Syco Records, attributes the breakthrough to the power of social media. “Sometimes you feel the song’s the star, but it’s not like that here – it’s the act,” he says. “It’s a real moment. Social media has become the new radio, it’s never broken an act globally like this before.”
Member Niall Horan commented on One Direction as a band: “People think that a boyband is air-grabs and being dressed in all one colour. We’re boys in a band. We’re trying to do something different from what people would think is the typical kind of boyband. We’re trying to do different kinds of music and we’re just trying to be ourselves, not squeaky clean.”
The first One Direction-licensed book, One Direction: Forever Young (Our Official X Factor Story), was released on 17 February 2011. Published by HarperCollins, the book contains personal snaps, unseen photographs and backstage footage both from The X Factor and theX Factor Live Tour, as well as written accounts of every member of the band. The book reached the number one spot on the Sunday Times Bestseller list. One Direction: The Official Annual 2012, was published on 1 September 2011. The book includes exclusive interviews, up to the minute news and information, and never before seen photos of the band. On 15 September 2011, One Direction released Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction. Like the other books, it contains exclusive unseen photos of the band on and off stage, along with private captured moments. Dare to Dream was also able to secure the top spot on the Sunday Times Non Fiction Hardback Bestseller list. Dare to Dream is set for release in the United States on 22 May 2012.
One Direction have released their first calendar One Direction 2012 Calendar. On 15 December 2011, Amazon.com revealed that One Direction have achieved the top selling calendar of all time surpassing Cheryl Cole’s Official Cheryl Cole 2011 Calendar and JLS’s Official JLS 2011 Calendar in the United Kingdom.
- Commercial endorsements
One Direction became the brand ambassadors for Pokémon Black and White in April 2011. They starred in a series of television ads, as well as special events performing for and meeting fans.
The band also launched limited edition Nokia C2-02 and Nokia C3-00 phones. They contain exclusive content such as One Direction wallpapers, ringtones, and behind the scenes videos of the band.
- Up All Night (2011)
- Up All Night Tour (2011–12)
- UK & Ireland Arena Tour (2013)