Harry Styles is gearing up for the release of his sophomore record, Fine Line. The singer sat down with Zane Lowe of Beats 1 to discuss his songwriting, his career after One Direction, and his self-care practices. Styles also opened up about the pressure he faced after his debut record was released, saying he felt the demand for his next to have more radio-friendly pop hits.
Styles told Lowe his song “Cherry” was written post-breakup, but he was wary of being emotionally open on the record. “I wanted it to be true to the moment that I wrote it, and how I was feeling then [which was] not great,” he said. “It’s so pathetic in a way. The night that I wrote it, I was saying that I was feeling a lot of pressure because the last record wasn’t a radio record. And I was like, ‘I feel like this record has to be really big. So I feel like I need to make certain songs.’ And Tyler [Johnson, producer] just said to me, ‘You just have to make the record that you want to make right now.’ So then we stayed up and wrote ‘Cherry’ that night.”
Styles said his ex-girlfriend offers her vocals on the track, but he didn’t reveal her name. “We’re friends and stuff, so I asked her if it was okay. I think she liked it,” he said.
The singer discussed his songwriting process for other tracks on Fine Line. Styles wrote his favorite track, “Golden,” during a trip to Shangri-La. “Immediately, as soon as we’d done it, it was like, ‘Oh, this is track one,'” he said. “It’s so good. I used to drive from here to the studio and listen to it.”
While he’s the fondest of “Golden,” Styles said he wrote the entirety of the track “Falling” in just 20 minutes. “Falling” was written during a time where he could feel himself becoming not genuine. “The times when I felt good and I felt happy were the happiest I’ve ever felt in my life,” he said. “And the times when I felt sad was the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life. And I think it was that feeling of when you can feel yourself falling back into one of those moments where you’re there. The chorus says, ‘What am I now? Am I someone I don’t want around?’ It was a big moment where I was asking myself, ‘Who am I? What am I doing?'”
On top of discussing his music, Styles opened up about self-care. The singer said seeing a therapist has had a positive impact on his life and experimenting with psychedelics was “stress-relieving.” “When I was in the band, to me it felt like it was so much bigger than any of us,” he said. “I’m not going to be the one who messes it up. So I was like, ‘Now is the time in my life when you probably go out and experiment.'”
Now that he’s cemented his place in the music industry, the singer is now calming anxiety about his music getting on the charts. “I think that that’s been a big part of this whole thing for me is I’m just trying to go through life being a little less worried about stuff,” he said. “If you don’t hit the top of the chart, your life doesn’t change. Realizing that if that was what I was aiming at, and then it didn’t happen, then I’d feel so much worse. Redefining it for me has been amazing to be like, ‘Oh but that’s not the game I’m playing.’ There’s a freedom with that.”
Watch Styles’ interview with Lowe above.
Fine Line is out 12/13 via Columbia. Pre-order it here.