Is Harry Styles Still A Member Of A Pop-Punk Band?

Harry Styles came to fame as one-fifth of One Direction. The group — comprised of Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Zayn Malik — was put together in 2010 after each of its members failed to proceed on as solo acts on "The X Factor." Rolling Stone noted that judges Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger have both claimed credit for the boy band's creation. For what it's worth, Cowell insisted that it was ultimately his idea for Scherzinger to float the idea on the show. Obviously, both would like credit for what was to come.

However, there's a slim chance either Cowell or Scherzinger were aware of just how much the group would accomplish together. Ultimately, One Direction failed to win their season of the reality show. However, they far and away eclipsed winner Matt Cardle and went on to ignite a level of fandom and worldwide fervor that was labeled comparable to Beatlemania (via The Guardian). Between 2011 and 2015, One Direction notched four chart-toppers and 10 more Top 10 hits on the Official Charts in the UK. They also clinched six Top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 stateside.

Styles has enjoyed plenty of success since the group went on hiatus in 2015 (via Insider). As a solo artist, he's nabbed a chart-topper on both the Official Charts and the Hot 100. While his star shines brightly thanks to One Direction, it's important to note that it was not Styles' first time being in a band.

Harry Styles was once a member of the pop-punk band White Eskimo

Before Harry Styles tried out for "The X Factor" and found himself a member of One Direction, the budding star cut his teeth in a different band. Manchester Evening News noted that he was once the lead singer of a pop-punk collective named White Eskimo. The "Watermelon Sugar" crooner reportedly held the position for seven months. According to his bandmate, Will Sweeny, Styles didn't even want to sing originally. He was aiming to become the band's bassist.

"Harry said 'I don't want to sing' but I didn't give him a choice," Sweeny told Manchester Evening News. "I pushed him to sing." In his first gig as lead singer, Styles helped the group win Battle of the Bands at their school. Sweeny apparently accompanied his bandmate to his first audition for "The X Factor." He added that neither had any idea what to expect of it. "I just thought it would be an experience," he admitted. "I never thought he would leave."

Here's a fun fact. When he gave the interview in 2013, Sweeny claimed Styles had never officially quit White Eskimo. So, as far as he was concerned, the One Direction star was in two bands at once. "Harry is still a member of White Eskimo," he joked. "He never told us he was leaving." What happened to White Eskimo after Styles went on to become mega-famous? Read on to find out!

White Eskimo went on to release music without Harry Styles

What do you do when your lead singer moves on and finds fame and fortune as a member of one of the most popular boy bands in modern history? The answer to that question if you are White Eskimo is that you carry on as if nothing happened. Manchester Evening News noted that the group took a year off, but they got back to it with Will Sweeny stepping up as lead singer.

They released a four-song EP called "100X" in 2015 and dropped several other stand-alone singles on Spotify. In 2018, that included a take on Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him" (via The Sun). They rode a wave of promising performances into 2019, when YouTube dubbed them Ones to Watch, according to the Telegraph. What's more, White Eskimo was set up to perform at major festivals across the UK in 2020.

Sweeny continued to joke that Harry Styles was still the band's lead singer in an interview with the Telegraph. He also opened up about if the group felt they were living in Styles' and One Direction's shadow. "We've thought about changing the name over the years, so that we don't associate the band with Harry," he admitted. "But in the end we haven't, because it's hard enough making it in this industry, and we see it as a great way to expand our reach."

White Eskimo disbanded, and Will Sweeny is working on solo music

We already know White Eskimo had big plans for 2020. However, it is unclear exactly how much they accomplished thanks to the pandemic. We know one thing for sure: 2020 marked the group's ending. Will Sweeny took to Instagram to announce White Eskimo's disbandment in December of 2020.

"I'd like to explain that the band, White Eskimo, formally split up. It was an extremely tough decision and many nights of tears were had," he explained. "White Eskimo has been my life for nearly 11 years. I tried my best to keep it going for all those years. It was my heart and soul, my passion — everything to me. But sometimes — in any relationship — you know when you need to leave. You know when it's time to move on. Everything we ever achieved as a band gave me the absolute ability to start writing this new chapter. It will always be my 1st greatest achievement."

What is the new chapter of his life? According to his bio on Instagram, Sweeny relocated to Los Angeles. He appears to be working on solo music. Over the weekend he teased a track called "Disease." Since White Eskimo is no more, it's safe to say Harry Styles is no longer a member. But wouldn't it be a cool nod to history if he and Sweeny recorded together in the future? We'd love to see it.