We got to know these singers once through their music, then we got to do it all over again when they spiced things up. From leaving world-famous boy bands to pursue a solo career, to finding new fame after some old YouTube days; all these artists found a new sound and made themselves all the better because of it.
When you’re thinking about artist reinvention, you don’t really need to look any further than Harry Styles, who arguably went through one of the biggest transformations of the last decade. Metamorphosing from the boy-next-door cutesie pop prince of One Direction into the 70s-rock glam god as we know him today, Styles is an entirely different person from who he was ten years ago.
Following his embarkment onto a solo career, one could argue that Styles truly became himself for the first time. Finally, out from under the shadow of intense pressure and shady contracts that plagued One Direction (even leading member Zayn Malik to leave the band, amongst other reasons), Styles finally found the freedom he so craved, as he discussed in his interview with Zane Lowe preceding the release of his second album, Fine Line (2019).
Now, Harry Styles is arguably one of the key figures in the 70s-rock and prog-pop revival movement. With two albums under his belt, Harry Styles (2017) and Fine Line, a 70s glam look that has shot him to the very top of the best-dressed lists and a heart-on-my-sleeve attitude, he’s a far cry from the Harry Styles of One Direction; in fact, one can barely see the similarities between them anymore.
Check out ‘Golden’ from Harry Styles’ second album, Fine Line, now down below.
Lana Del Rey
Glamorous pouting lips, long stiletto nails, a sad but sexy sound; obviously, it’s Lana Del Rey.
Lizzie Grant, however, can be recognised with her platinum blonde hair, heavy kohl-lined eyes, and a hunger for fame. There’s a small scattering of videos online of Grant performing – casually dressed, slightly shy and unassuming; but there’s still something so enigmatic about her. Her lyrics talk about the difficult nature of love, addiction, and exploitation while combining electronic melodies with elements of blues rock. Her homemade videos are sweet and nostalgic, embedded with beautiful American imagery, reminiscent of the 2011 video for ‘Video Games’.
Del Ray’s new life is a far cry from Grant, but what makes her so great is that even through her numerous reinventions (remember “sparkle jump-rope queen”?), it has always been clear that she is a beautiful poet and a thoughtful writer. Now go and listen to all her unreleased songs on YouTube!
Listen to Lana Del Rey’s classic song ‘Video Games’ here:
‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza – Seeb Remix’. We all know it, that song with the summery dance sounds, filled with club fever and lyrics warped to serve another mainstream-pop image. Yet, appearing on Mike Posner‘s At Night, Alone, the song and album were meant to serve as a reinvention for the artist as he struggled with the grips of fame, allowing him to break away from his playboy image.
The original version of ‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza’ was backed with an acoustic guitar, piano and tambourines and felt dramatically different to Poser who appeared six years earlier singing ‘Cooler Than Me’ with the backing of synthy sounds, heavy drums and a cool-boy demeanour. At Night, Alone saw Posner trying to live a different life with his music; songs like ‘Be As You Are’ challenged the idea of changing yourself to seem remarkable, and ‘Iris’ served as a comfortable ballad filled with admiration rather than cheap thrills and forced sauve sexiness.
While it’s still easy to dismiss Posner’s music, there’s no denying that At Night, Alone was a unique change in sound and one that couldn’t have benefited him more.
Hear the stripped-back original version of ‘I Took a Pill in Ibiza’ down below: