We met Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Liam Payne and Niall Horan, the members of One Direction, when they were in Manhattan recently.
Question: Did you ever think of forming a band before you became One Direction?
Louis: Actually, before (appearing on) “The X Factor,” I posted out on a forum saying that I wanted to start a band and go for “The X Factor,” but actually no one got back to me. So I entered as a solo artist and ended up with these four lads.
Q: As a group, do you have any messages to your fans?
Liam: I think the main message at the moment is just a massive, massive thank you because without them we wouldn’t even be in America doing what we’re doing and tweeting about it. We’re just massively grateful to be doing what we’re doing at the moment. Our album is number one on iTunes. A massive thank you to everyone who’s bought it so far.
Q: Do you write your own songs?
Zayn: We co-wrote three of the songs on our album “Up All Night.” We co-wrote “Same Mistakes,” we co-wrote “Everything About You,” and “Taken.”
Liam: I think for the next album we’re looking to write a lot more of the songs. There were so many good songs that came in for the first album; you have to take the good songs when they come in. We were really happy with the songs. Sometimes you don’t have to write it.
Q: We think it was amazing that you became ambassadors for Rays of Sunshine this past December. Can you tell us more about this incredible children’s charity?
Harry: Rays of Sunshine is an absolutely great charity and it’s a really good cause and we’ve had a great time meeting some very inspiring people since working with them. Doing a couple of events where we’ve met children who aren’t as fortunate, and we’ve met some really nice people doing this. And they’re great.
Liam: Rays of Sunshine is kind of like a charity of kids who have wishes and people they want to meet and we kind of introduce them and get them to follow their wishes.
Q: What was it like to be on “The X Factor?”
Louis: “The X Factor” was a great experience. It was by far the biggest platform for singers to try and make it … And it did. It trained us how to talk on camera, perform to an audience, that kind of thing. It was really good.
Liam: It was quite good for us because we had to make an improvement every week on the show.
Q: How did you come up with the band name “One Direction?”
Harry: Basically, when we all got together, we were all at our houses, so we were just kind of texting each other to come up with a name. We were texting each other names all the time and I thought what would sound good, we’re soloists and we had a target even when we were in the group, we still had the same target, so we kind of went in one direction.
Q: Did you like working with Simon Cowell?
Louis: Yeah, he’s, like, one of the biggest, most powerful men in music. It was great to have him behind us with his support. He gave us a lot of freedom, and we have a good relationship with him. He just let us do what we wanted to do.
Q: What music did you listen to when you were kids?
Louis: Actually, when I was growing up, I was a big fan of Green Day.
Zayn: Growing up, I was listening to R&B music and reggae like at the age of 9 and 10.
Harry: I listened a lot to Elvis Presley when I was younger.
Liam: The first album I bought was a Linkin Park album. In the end it was a good album.
Niall: I was into more older American rock like Bon Jovi, the Eagles.
Q: What are your favorite hobbies?
Zayn: Normal things like play soccer, tennis, play guitar, video games. I like to draw.
Q: Are you nervous before concerts?
Louis: We kind of get nervous, like even if we have a big show to do we don’t get nervous until about five minutes before we all kind of give each other words of good luck and try and make each other kind of laugh.
Niall: More of a relaxed kind of nervous.
Q: If you could change anything in the world what would it be?
Louis: I’d hate to have that power.
Zayn: I think it would be cool if you could go into the future – flying cars. If I could change one thing, cars would fly.
Q: Have you met any other famous artists from Great Britain?
Harry: We went to the Brit awards. So there were loads of people there. We met like Adele, Ed Sheeran. We met a lot of great British artists and we’re very proud to be British.
Q: When you were in school did you ever get bullied?
Louis: I was lucky I didn’t actually ever suffer with bullying.
Zayn: I did when I was like in reception in year one. I’m talking about like 5-6 years old. But only for like a year
Harry: Yeah that was the same for me. I think the most important thing is to make sure you tell somebody. Make sure you talk to your parents or let somebody know.
Q: What are your favorite soccer teams?
All: Manchester United.