Producer Jeff Bhasker faced a daunting task several months ago. After having worked with Kanye West and winning Grammy Awards for producing Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” and Fun.’s 2012 album “Some Nights,” he had to decide whether to take on a new project: the debut solo album of One Direction member Harry Styles.
“I’d just had a baby, and I was kind of like, ‘Eh, I don’t know if I’ll jump into this,‘” Bhasker tells Variety. He agreed to have Styles come over to “just talk,” and proceeded to put him through the Bhasker home sniff test. “My dog tends to bite people, and he was kind of scoping Harry out,” Bhasker explains. Styles “did this move — like a little shoot the gun with his finger, and my dog walked over and started licking his finger. That’s when I was, like, ‘This guy has something special.'”
Once music came into the mix, Bhasker was sold. “He started playing references of what he wanted to do, which sounded like a cool rock band. I got it, and could see where if we pulled this off, it would be one of the coolest things ever. But he needed a buddy who plays guitar like he’s Keith Richards.” The insinuation being: Styles is the Mick Jagger in this scenario.
Adds Bhasker: “I’m so proud of the album itself, and also of Harry for being so brave, and committing 100%, and writing the kind of vulnerable lyrics that he wrote, and not pandering to what people thought he would do. People have no idea that this is what Harry Styles is like. Just like I didn’t know. He’s obviously very famous and beloved, but people don’t know the depths of what an amazing personality and artist he is.”
Variety spoke with Bhasker about the recording of “Harry Styles” ahead of the album’s May 12 release:
Me: All I ever wanted in a boy group was that they all sang beautifully, could all dance, write their own songs, were all uniquely handsome, each have individualized personalities and styles that make them stand out in their own special way, and have the best teamwork and synergy.
*releases new music and announces a tour and album*
All Time Low:
*releases new music and announces a album*
Fall Out Boy:
*tweets a bunch of addresses that all lead to movie theatres in Chicago with a time and plays a ten second video shot at a resort with the words "Fall Out boy" at the end without explaining anything to fans*
They know guys they know about their situation, we are always here for you Boyfriend, just because sistar and k.will are successful and you are not as much, don’t feel down, keep this spirit. I love you Boyfriend!
TWO NIGHTS AGO I LITERALLY ROLLED DOWN THE CAR WINDOW AND SAID “patrick, if you’re listening, drop something, a song, an album, anything i don’t care” AND APPARENTLY MY CALL HAS BEEN ANSWERED I SUMMONED FALL OUT BOY YOU GUYS