From left to right: Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles.
When Liam Payne, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson tried their luck at Britain's X Factor, they had no idea that they would be forming a boy band. All five passed the auditions, but did not pass as solo artists. But instead, Simon Cowell grouped them together as a boy band on July 23, 2010, and so One Direction began.
Fun fact: Harry Styles came up with the name One Direction.
After covering songs such as "Torn", "Total Eclipse of the Heart", and "Chasing Cars" (and making several very funny weekly video diaries, I might add), One Direction came in third in the finals, Matt Cardle winning first place, and Rebecca Ferguson taking the place of runner-up. But even though they did not come in first place, Simon Cowell gave the lads a record label.
"We wanted to win and coming third was a big disappointment. So to find out we were signed was incredible. Simon Cowell was telling you your life was about to change! It was weird. Coming from our first audition to being signed by Syco is a huge journey."
- Harry Styles
One Direction's first album - Up All Night - was released in November 2011 through Syco Records. One Direction collaborated with many producers and songwriters including Kelly Clarkson (Tell Me A Lie) and Ed Sheeran (Moments - on the yearbook edition of the album). The album is mainly pop, and it was the fastest selling album in the UK. in 2011. The album's lead single, "What Makes You Beautiful" entered the UK Singles Chart at #1 on September 18th (2011). Their other two singles are "Gotta Be You" and "One Thing".
"They're all awesomely talented guys, stupidly good-looking of course, as well. Young. They've got everything. They've got the whole package. But none of them realized it. They're all very humble and down to earth. It just reminded me of exactly of how we were like when we started."
- Tom Fletcher
In April 2012, an American One Direction (not very well known) contacted the British One Direction, saying that they had the name first and they were going to sue the British boy band. However, Simon Cowell resolved this by paying the US boy band $1 million.
At the moment, One Direction just finished their U.S. tour and are in the process of recording their second studio album, which they started recording in May 2012 in Sweden. The boys have revealed that they want to contribute more to the songwriting and they are also planning to put more guitar in the music and make their music grungier. Their second album is due for release sometime in late 2012. One Direction has also planned a world tour for 2013.
Each member is known for their feature; [Niall] Horan is "the cute one", [Zayn] Malik is "the quiet and mysterious one", [Liam] Payne is "the sensible one", [Harry] Styles is "the charming one" and [Louis] Tomlinson is "the funny one".