One Direction has been on indefinite hiatus since Zayn Malik exited the group in 2015, but that hasn't stopped the rest of the band from releasing their own solo work. Zayn christened his solo career with last year's Mind of Mine, Niall Horan unveiled his debut single, "This Town," in September, and Louis Tomlinson teamed with Steve Aoki for December's "Just Hold On." So Harry Styles' April 7 announcement is pretty much a neon sign that he, too, has new music on the way.
Over the weekend, a video started circulating from a recent TV spot Styles appeared in. Backed by a piano track, it features him walking through a smoky room toward the white light streaming from an open door. It then shows a close-up of his face before "April 7" flashes on screen. Around the time that the ad aired, Styles also posted three blank photos on Instagram. This isn't significant in and of itself: Styles did the same thing in September before debuting three separate covers for Another Man magazine. But the addition of the date seems to suggest he's plotting something bigger. Here are the few clues about what he's planning we can glean so far.
1. He's Starting With A Blank Slate
Both the teaser and Styles' Instagram have themes of bright light and blank space, which could point to a theme of starting over and turning a new page. That makes sense, given the circumstances.
2. It Could Be A New Sound
The song backed in the video seems to confirm Styles will be road-testing a new sonic direction. The brief clip played is a sparse, somber piano ballad — a far cry from 1D's generally upbeat, chart-friendly pop.
3. It May Have Some Old School Touchstones
According to record industry trade magazine HITS Daily Double’s Rumor Mill, Styles has been crafting solo work in the vein of industry greats like David Bowie and Queen. That tracks, considering Styles has a well-documented love for old school music. In a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he cited The Beatles, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, and Fleetwood Mac among the artists that have most influenced him.
4. We May Already Know the Title
In 2015, reports surfaced that Styles had begun registering new songs on The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP). At the time, Billboard reported that Styles had added four new songs to his credits: "5378 Miles," "Already Home," "Coco," and Endlessly." It's entirely possible that these tracks will never see the light of day, but don't be surprised if you see them on an album soon.
5. He May Have Collaborated With Some Big Names
Over the last few years, Styles has reportedly worked with a number of veteran musicians, including Bruno Mars, big-time producer Max Martin (Britney Spears, Taylor Swift), Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid, and English songwriter-producer Gary Go. Any one of those names could pop up as a collaborator.
6. It Likely Means His Solo Album Is Officially On the Way
According to Billboard, Styles officially signed a recording contract with Columbia Records last June. If April 7 does brings Style's first solo single, it likely means a full album won't be far behind.