Louis Tomlinson may have gained fame as part of the top-charting boy band One Direction, but he's not just a one-trick pony. The Doncaster native has earned a few more titles since his days with 1D. Here's your primer on all the sides of this multi-faceted talent.
Louis found fame after he auditioned for X Factor in 2010. After making it through the initial round, he was let go, only to be brought back with Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik to form the boy band One Direction. The group would go on to become international best sellers, topping the charts with their five albums and collecting award after award. The early days of One Direction saw few solos for Louis though.
“You know I didn’t sing a single solo on the X Factor,” Louis told the Guardian, in an interview last year. “A lot of people can take the piss out of that. But when you actually think about how that feels, standing on stage every single week, thinking: ‘What have I really done to contribute here? Sing a lower harmony that you can’t really hear in the mix?”
While Louis wasn't known for his dramatic runs or solos, if you listen, you CAN hear Louis enriching the song with his higher tone like in this acapella clip of What Makes You Beautiful.
The later years of One Direction let Louis show off his singing chops on songs like Little Black Dress and No Control. “In the last year of One Direction I was probably the most confident I ever was," Louis told the Guardian. Louis' raspy, emotional voice was most prominent on the latter One Direction albums, Four and Made in the A.M. His heart-wrenching solo in If I Could Fly and high note in Love You Goodbye are fan favorites.
Louis is a prolific songwriter, having written on 37 songs with One Direction and an unknown number of songs for his own upcoming debut album. He also has some songs registered that have yet to be released that may be for his album or for other artists.
Referencing the interview with the Guardian about his early 1D days of not getting solos, Louis told Billboard, "But that's what kind of drove me to want to be a big songwriter with the band, to gain an identity of sorts. I just feel like I'm getting stronger and more confident with each single, and I'm definitely still learning as a songwriter and an artist on my own as well. It's exciting for me, and to have the support of the fans is always amazing -- I definitely feel like they've got my back."
Fans certainly had his back when they started Project No Control to promote No Control, one of the songs Louis wrote on. The project was noticed by the band, who thanked fans on Twitter and on stage. It was covered by some media outlets, including BBC Newsbeat, LA Weekly, and J-14. It was mentioned by James Corden on his Late Late Show and by Nick Grimshaw on the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Below, you can watch the band performing this favorite hit, penned by Louis!
Louis' lyrics are known for being emotional and down-to-earth. An example of Louis' songwriting skills are on the song, Strong, which includes lyrics such as:
My heart, your heart
Sit tight like book ends
Pages between us
Written with no end
So many words we're not saying
Don't wanna wait 'til it's gone
You make me strong
I'm sorry if I say, "I need you"
But I don't care,
I'm not scared of love
'Cause when I'm not with you I'm weaker
Is that so wrong?
Is it so wrong
That you make me strong?
Many of Louis' fans have etched lyrics he's written on their bodies in the form of tattoos!
Louis was tapped to become a judge on the 2018 season of The X Factor and fan reports from the X Factor audition tapings have been very positive about Louis' role as judge. Twitter user kjilouis, who attended a taping said, "louis is such a fair and sweet judge, if he has criticisms he phrased them so nicely and said them in a constructive way and he gave people chances when the other judges wouldn't". You can watch some of the early videos from the tapings here.
Having been through the process himself, Louis probably understands how hard criticism or rejection can be on a contestant. He spoke of auditioning for X Factor three times before he made it through! All his hard work has paid off. He's reportedly making £4 million (approximately $5,250,000) to appear as a judge on the show.
Louis is known for his extensive support of various charities and causes. Recent efforts included donating $10,000 to a fundraiser to a child with Schizencephaly for home modifications and supporting a group dedicated to aiding children on the autism spectrum by signing a t-shirt to be auctioned off. You can read more about his philanthropy here.
Despite being the patron of many charities, he is discreet about his personal involvement. Outraged after reading bad press about Louis, the mom of one of the children he supported spoke out about Louis' philanthropy telling of how when he has a bad day, his motto is, "...let's make someone happy today." The mom continued, "That’s the kind of man Louis is."
Louis charity efforts have inspired others as well. A fan fundraiser, 1D Fans Give, was started five years ago in honor of Louis' 22nd birthday and grew to encompass all the One Direction guys' birthdays. The fan effort has raised more than $300,000 for numerous charities since its inception, almost half of it for charities supported in honor of Louis' birthday. Their drive for Louis' upcoming 27th birthday has already raised more than $3000 with a goal of $27,000.
Fans anxiously await Louis' next steps. Whether on the stage, in the studio, on TV, or attending charity events, Louis is a force to be reckoned with.