A lot can change in a few years — just ask former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson! Born in Doncaster in 1991, the singer started out as a starry-eyed hopeful on X Factor — just like the rest of his future bandmates. After attempting to make it past the judges in 2009 and failing, he came back again the following year, where he became part of the five-piece group which also consisted of Zayn MalikHarry StylesNiall Horan and Liam Payne. This allowed the boys to go on to compete and eventually land the coveted third place slot during the finals of the reality competition.

After five years and five albums as a band, One Direction announced their indefinite hiatus, and all the boys went on to kick off their solo careers. While it was easier for some than others (for example, Harry’s major success), Louis has since found his place in the music world after releasing two records of his own.

“It was a bit daunting. I’d just got to a stage where I really started to feel like I found my rhythm, I was enjoying songwriting, I felt like I finally worked out where I am in that band,” the “Back to You” crooner old U.K.’s The Telegraph in November 2022, reflecting on his place in One Direction. “And then it’s like: ‘OK, well, now we’re going on a break.’ So there was a bit of petulance from my end, I was frustrated.”

The biggest thing he learned about going from the band to being a solo star was that “the lows are lower in a solo career, but the highs are higher.”

While he didn’t have the four other 1D boys by his side, Louis built up his own fanbase who wants him to continue releasing music. The Walls musician even shared a sweet message to his biggest supporters.

“The support has been incredible for years and years. And if you’re an old fan or a new fan I just want to thank you for all your support again,” he gushed during a November 2022 interview with New York City’s z100 radio station. “There’s a reason I’ve been able to release this album I’m really proud of and that’s really a testament to the fans so thank you.”

There’s no doubt about it, the British musician is going to continue to be a major star. Scroll through the gallery to see Louis Tomlinson’s transformation over the years!


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Tyler Cowan