Album cover artwork for Harry Styles with black vinyl record popping outIt’s Third Album O’clock for the pigeon-hole-crushing, genre-busting, globally adored Harry Styles!

In conversations around the release of Harry’s House – out today via Sony – the 27-year-old has revealed that unbinding the knot which music wound around his identity for the last 11 years has ended up ensuring this album contains the very best music of his career. Here’s the story in his words, along with other nuggets of info about shooting the brilliant As it Was clip, how his goddaughter clinched her album cameo, and more.

LIBERTY BELL

In conversation with UK radio station SiriusXM last month, Harry disclosed that although he always puts 100% into his music’s creation, he’s aware of his limitations and navigating stress. “There’s only so much you can do, if you’re an artist and you’re making something; there’s always going to be a part of you that is questioning yourself and questioning the work, and I think that can be a good thing, if you use it the right way,” he said.

And there is, of course, a positive flipside to that awareness which affords Styles a certain kind of emancipation: “At the same time I feel really happy; it’s the first time I feel like I’m making music and putting music out from a real place of personal freedom, and that is a really liberating place to be creating from. The process for me has been easily the most joyous of anything that I’ve experienced so far, while making music. The reward has very much been in the process, and that helps with any pressure that I might be under.”

GETTING PERSONAL

That liberty is completely intertwined with Harry’s perception of himself and his identity as something separate from his art. “Over the last couple of years, with the forced pause that happened for a long time, for all of us, I had a lot of time to think about, and work out, who I was – away from music,” he explained to HeartFM DJs in April. “I didn’t necessary know who I was if I didn’t do music. I left home when I was 16 and went straight into it, and didn’t have a chance to stop [once] all that started. In the last few years in particular, I’ve got a lot more comfortable with myself, and who I am as a person, away from what I do.

“I feel very lucky that this is the proudest I’ve been of something that I’ve made so far, and I feel the most comfortable I’ve been with myself and happiest with what I’m making.”

AS IT TURNED OUT

The video for Harry’s House’s first single, As it Was, was shot by Grammy-nominated Ukranian director Tanu Muino. The production schedule for the clip comprised a two-day shoot, the second day of which was February 24. “That day was the start of everything in Ukraine,” Harry told HeartFM, “and [Tanu] was absolutely incredible. Her [Director of Photography] Nikita [Kuzmenko, also Ukranian] was amazing. They wanted to keep shooting. I have to say a massive thank you to them for their strength, and all the love that they put into the video. I obviously am sending them the very best, and everyone [who is in Ukraine].”

Muino, 32, has previously directed clips for Lil Nas X (Montero), Cardi B (Up), and Normani (Wild Side), and said of her experience on the shoot: “Directing a Harry Styles video was a bucket list dream come true for me, as he’s my favourite performer. Shooting him was bittersweet as it was one of the happiest days of my life, but on the second day of the shoot, my country Ukraine was invaded, so you can imagine the insane emotions we had while shooting. Me and my team from Ukraine poured so much love into this video and you can see it on screen. It will be a music video I will never forget, and now I can happily retire.”

Two dancers in background in studio, young woman in foreground

Tanu Muino (foreground) on the set of the As it Was clip, with Harry and dancer Mathilde Lin (background)

RUBY’S REPRIMAND

“C’mon Harry, we wanna say goodnight to you!” peals an adorable voice at the beginning of As it Was. Who is this little munchkin, and what sort of hold does she have on Harry? It’s none other than the musician’s five-year-old goddaughter Ruby Winston, whose admonishing voicemail snippet quickly captured hearts upon As It Was’s release early last month.

“She was on a streak of calling me every night before bed,” Harry explained to Heart FM, “and I missed it once. “She wanted me to know she was quite angry with me about it. I dug [the recording] up in the studio one day and added it to the start of the song, and it just sort of stuck.” He also revealed to Capital FM’s Roman Kemp: “She was asking for a big fee – it’s all gone downhill!”

Ruby is the daughter of filmmaker Ben Winston and his wife Meredith Winston, close friends of Styles; Ben also executive produced the 2017 documentary about Harry’s debut record, Harry Styles: Behind the Album.

JONI’S JOY

When Harry revealed the details of and cover imagery of his new album via twitter in late March, he received a cheeky, cool and coveted thumbs up from one Joni Mitchell. For those playing at home, the legendary singer-songwriter’s 1975 album The Hissing of Summer Lawns contains a track titled Harry’s House.

TO THE FANS

When asked if he had a special message for his legions of devotees by HeartFM, Harry started simple, then got real. “I just want to say thank you, really,” he began. “I know that that sounds like the obvious one, but I think if it wasn’t for the love that I’ve felt from them over the last few years I don’t think I’d… be in a place that allows me to make this kind of music, with this feeling of freedom. In so many ways, this album is by you, and obviously for you as well. Just a massive amount of love to you all.”

Harry’s House by Harry Styles is out now via Sony.

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