The past few years have been a rollercoaster for One Direction fans. First, Zayn Malik announced his departure from the group. Then, in 2015, the group announced their indefinite hiatus. It wasn't the end of their music — Harry Styles announced his debut album, and bandmates Liam Payne and Niall Horan were not far behind. The only member whose career remained up in the air was Louis Tomlinson, but the singer is taking a hesitant step into the spotlight. His solo album doesn't have a release date yet nor does his upcoming single "Back to You." But in a recent interview with The Guardian, Tomlinson told an emotional story about his mother, who was his biggest motivator before passing away in 2016. The singer was extremely close with his mother, Johannah Deakin, and she always encouraged his musical career.
Of all the former 1D members, Tomlinson has remained the most elusive. It's a position he's aware of, and he told The Guardian that in order to pursue solo work he had to overcome a lot of uncertainty. Of all the members, he felt the least memorable. "You know, I didn’t sing a single solo on the X Factor,” he said to the magazine. “A lot of people can take the p*ss 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?” In the interview, Tomlinson said he would have to get past these feelings of invisibility if he wanted to move forward with a solo project, and it was a successful collaboration with DJ Steve Aoki that gave him the confidence.
However, in an emotional segment of the interview, Tomlinson notes that there was a time where his mother would offer him this reassurance. During his early days on The X Factor, Deakin would offer support when the singer was feeling nervous or doubting his talent. “I remember saying to her: ‘Mum, how the f*ck do you expect me to do this now?’ And she didn’t swear much, my mum. She’d always tell me off for swearing," he told the publication. "And this time she was like: ‘You’ve got to f*cking do it, it’s as simple as that.’ It was football manager, team talk stuff.’”
Deakin passed away in 2016 from leukemia, and the loss devastated Tomlinson. In the Guardian interview, Tomlinson stressed that he could share anything with his mother, from an e-mail password to telling her that he'd lost his virginity. After she died, he had to continue with his performances on the X Factor and move on with his career, no matter how difficult. It's what his mother would have wanted him to. "I’m not gonna claim this is all for me mum," he told The Guardian. "But it was definitely. It was”
Moving forward with his career has been difficult without Deakin. "Sometimes my reservation, or my confidence, might have prevented me from doing something," he told The Guardian. "And I’ve needed a mum in the past to kick me up the *rse and go: ‘You’re doing it."
Now, Tomlinson is finding a way to push himself, however reluctantly. His new album doesn't have a release date just yet, but according to The Guardian, a collection of easy, enjoyable pop songs have already been recorded. He teased upcoming single "Back to You" on June 24, exciting fans for its eventual release.
Really excited for you all to hear the new single 😬— Louis Tomlinson (@Louis_Tomlinson) June 24, 2017
The star, despite all his hesitations or insecurities, clearly poured himself into creating the record. It will be a major milestone in his career, and one that his mum would surely be proud of.