Jay Z Thinks Harry Styles Could Be "The Biggest Artist In The World," But Is He The Right Person For The Job?
Well, this is an unexpected development: According to a new interview with the Daily Star Sunday, Jay Z wants to manage Harry Styles' solo career. Seriously? Seriously! Apparently, the 46-year-old rapper/music mogul thinks he could make the One Direction singer "the biggest artist in the world." Whoa. "Harry doesn't need any help with exposure, everybody in the world knows who he is," Jay-Z reportedly told the paper. "But he does need to make the transition from being part of a group to becoming an individual artist. I can get him working with the bigger artists, the biggest producers — and have him as the biggest artist in the world within a year."
We still don't know for certain that Styles is, in fact, going solo (ICYMI: One Direction is currently on hiatus, which means all four members are free to pursue outside projects), but the prospect does seem increasingly likely. For example, it was just recently revealed that Styles wrote several new songs without his 1D bandmates. Suspicious! So, is Jay Z the right person to help Styles become a solo superstar? It's an important question to consider, especially because Jay Z's management skills and priorities — and those of his record label, Roc Nation — have recently been criticized.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, British singer Rita Ora sued Roc Nation in December 2015, alleging that her career has been woefully mishandled. As THR notes, Ora claims that the "company's developing interest in sports management and other endeavors" has left her with insufficient resources, and that allegedly, her career has suffered as a consequence. (What are Roc Nation's "other endeavors," you ask? The lawsuit reportedly mentions Jay Z's new music streaming service, Tidal.)
Below is an excerpt from the legal filing:
When Rita signed, Roc Nation and its senior executives were very involved with her as an artist. As Roc Nation's interests diversified, there were fewer resources available and the company suffered a revolving door of executives. Rita's remaining supporters at the label left or moved on to other activities, to the point where she no longer had a relationship with anyone at the company.
Bustle reached out to both Jay Z and Roc Nation in response to Ora's claims, but has not yet received a reply.
Though Ora's lawsuit may give some Styles fans pause, Jay Z has mentored a handful of incredibly successful solo artists over the years, including Rihanna and Kanye West, for example. Since being signed by Jay Z to Def Jam Recordings in 2004, Rihanna has sold 54 million albums and 210 million digital tracks worldwide, according to Roc Nation. Oh, and she's also earned an astonishing 13 No. 1 singles.
Since West got his start producing hits for Jay Z in the early 00s, he's sold over 21 million albums and 66 million digital tracks worldwide, according to Def Jam. Oh, and he's also earned 21 Grammys. These accomplishments are certainly nothing to scoff at. (Though it should be noted that while Jay Z's mentorship is a factor, both Rihanna and West also have a ton of talent backing them.)
And so, the question becomes: Given the demands of his expanding entertainment empire, would Hova be able to give Styles' solo career the time and attention it deserves? Ora's recent allegations are certainly worth considering, but the mogul does boast an impressive track record of success (and he's definitely well-connected). I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens when Styles gives the world a definitive answer on all this going solo business.
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