At midnight, Harry Styles released "Sign of the Times," his highly anticipated debut solo single. The 23-year-old singer—who's set to perform on The Graham Norton Show and Saturday Night Live in April—spoke to BBC Radio 1 host Nick Grimshaw about his new music Thursday. Said Styles, "In the least weird way possible, it's my favorite album to listen to at the moment."
"Sign of the Times" was produced by Jeff Bhasker and co-written by Styles, with additional production by Alex Salibian and Tyler Johnson. The music video will be revealed later this month. It was filmed in Scotland, around Isle of Skye, and it was directed by Yoann Lemoine.
Since One Direction went on hiatus in 2016, fans have been eager for new music.
In total, Styles wrote about 70 songs for the album. "We did 50 songs and ideas in Jamaica—and that's including, like, little ideas. Well, full songs—I say there are 30 songs, probably. One of the songs on the album, I wrote a few years ago," he revealed. Styles added that he had to delay the album once he was cast in Dunkirk, which was ultimately "good" for the writing process. "For a while before, all I thought about it was stressing about what it was going to be. It gave me a chance to completely step away from it for a bit and have a real break," he said. "By the end of the movie—because we were swimming so much—I just wanted to write songs."
Hence why he traveled to Jamaica. "I just wanted to not be somewhere that I'd get distracted," Styles explained, making it sound like musical boot camp. "You'd go home for dinner, write at the house then go back to the studio. I liked being away from everything and doing it like that."
"I was with the guys who I was writing it with," he said, "and we just wanted to make what we wanted to listen to. And that's been the most fun part for me about making the whole album."
Styles has tested a few songs for Ed Sheeran, who'd written "18," "Little Things," "Moments" and "Over Again" for One Direction. "I played him a few songs after the album was finished," Styles said. "He didn't say he didn't like any—but he did like one song that isn't on the album."