Fans around the world shared a similar look of shock on a few major occasions: When Zayn left One Direction in 2015, when the rest of the band decided to go on hiatus later the same year, and when each member of One Direction started to release solo music. Rumors of band members going solo date all the way back to 2013, when "Don't Let Me Go", a song Harry Styles made, surfaced on the internet. It is unclear why the solo Styles song emerged on the internet years ago, but it isn't an official release and the band would continue to release music steadily for the next couple years after. Eventually, after Zayn left and the rest of One Direction decided to separate, each member would embark on their own solo artist journey.
1. Zayn - "Pillowtalk"
The first member of One Direction to release solo music was Zayn Malik. After leaving One Direction in 2015, Malik started to professionally use the name ZAYN, and released the music video for his first solo single, "Pillowtalk", in early 2016. This was an instant hit, even debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Zayn has released two albums since, "Mind of Mine" in 2016 and "Icarus Falls" in 2018.
2. Niall Horan - "This Town"
The next member of One Direction to release music as a solo artist was Niall Horan. In September 2016, Horan released his first solo single, "This Town". Within the following year, Horan released two more singles, "Slow Hands" and "Too Much To Ask", before releasing his debut album "Flicker" in October 2017.
3. Harry Styles - "Sign of the Times"
The next One Direction member to officially release solo music was Harry Styles. In April 2017, Styles released "Sign of the Times", the first single from his debut album. Styles' debut album was released in May of the same year, and contains 10 great songs loved by millions of fans.
4. Liam Payne - "Strip That Down"
Also in May 2017, Liam Payne released his first solo single, "Strip That Down", featuring Quavo. This became a major hit that summer, and continues to be a great song to jam out to any time of the year. Liam has released several singles since "Strip That Down", but has yet to release a debut album.
5. Louis Tomlinson - "Back to You"
Louis Tomlinson was the final member of One Direction to release solo music. In July 2017, Tomlinson released "Back to You", featuring Bebe Rexha and Digital Farm Animals. Similar to Liam, Louis has also released various singles, but no debut album has been released yet. Until then, we have multiple songs to hold us over!