The rise of One Direction
WHEN Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson auditioned for The X Factor in the summer of 2010, no one could have predicted the success they would achieve as One Direction.
Less than three years on and they've sold over 30 million records, topped the charts in 37 countries, picked up more than 14 million Facebook fans and 58 million Twitter followers, and won a string of awards.
In the past year alone they've played sell-out shows across the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the US, where they became the first British band to reach No.1 with their debut album, Up All Night.
"I didn't think I would ever want to be in a group," admits Zayn, looking back to the X Factor auditions where each of the five had entered the competition as solo artist.
With each failing to get through to the next stage, judges Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh suggested they form a group.
"There was no way I was going to say 'no'," continues Zayn.
Harry adds: "When we first got together we went to Wembley to see Take That and we thought, 'Yeah, that's what we want to be doing. Fifteen years from now we want One Direction to be playing a gig together at Wembley'."
As the X Factor went live across the UK, One Direction began winning public votes and fans started to turn up outside the London TV studio in the hope of meeting them.
Despite that, One Direction only came third in the December final, behind Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle. But by now, Cowell had realized their potential for success and signed them to his Syco label.
Harry: "He was telling you, your life was about to change. It was weird."
Before entering the studio, they joined the X Factor tour, including a date at Nottingham's Capital FM Arena, where they "appeared to a barrage of screams".
Debut single What Makes You Beautiful topped the chart. As did the debut album, Up All Night.
By January 2012 they were on sell-out tour of the UK, including two shows at the Royal Concert Hall.
Post reviewer Nick Parkhouse wrote: "The band crammed two shows into a Saturday in Nottingham to meet demand, and their evening audience must rival the liveliest and noisiest that the Royal Concert Hall has ever seen.
"Dwarfing even the screams for Justin Bieber's Nottingham gig last year, the quintet appeared to a rapturous reception."
A month later and they had signed a record deal in the US with Colombia Records, were appearing on Saturday Night Live and The Today Show and What Makes You Beautiful climbed to No.3 on the US iTunes chart.
Back in the UK, the single was named Best Single at the Brits.
"I was genuinely quite close to tears," recalls Harry.
Adds Liam: "It's amazing to think back to when we were first put together. Things have moved so quickly.
"It's so surreal to think of everything, like winning the Brit, doing our first UK tour, having our first number one."
With weeks their debut album entered the US chart at No. 1.
"We actually can't believe we got a number one album in America," beams Harry.
"We're just teenage boys! How did that happen?"
It wasn't just America as Up All Night shot to number one in 17 countries, including Australia, Sweden and Mexico.
They were now the world's biggest boy band.
"You're never going to get used to having people scream at you," says Harry of the hysteria that has followed them around since then.
Laughs Niall:"I love it. I love the screaming."
It was the vegetables that were troubling Liam.
"We get carrots thrown at us," he says.
"I think Louis made some remark once that he liked girls who liked carrots. So now they all bring carrots and throw them at us. He could have picked a softer fruit (fruit?) but he's a bit stupid like that, is our Louis."
By May they were working on their second album, Take Me Home, with the help of McFly's Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter and Danny Jones, plus Ed Sheeran.
"Second albums are the hardest," admits Harry.
"We were a bit nervous before we started recording but we had more experience this time and we had a bit more input."
"It's more mature," adds Louis.
"We wanted the album to grow with us. I do think it's a better album.
"Ed is an amazing lyricist and we're very lucky to work with him. Tom is also a great writer and he writes great melodies. McFly are role models for us."
The first single from it, Live While We're Young, went straight to No. 1.
Pre-orders for the album had topped over a million copies and since its release in October Take Me Home has reached No. 1 in 37 countries.
So far this year One Direction have won a Brit Award for Global Success and released the official Comic Relief single, a cover of Blondie's 1979 hit One Way Or Another. As well as reaching No. 1 in the UK it topped iTunes charts in over 60 countries.
They also flew to Ghana with the charity to visit sick children.
Says Liam: "I've watched Red Nose Day appeals before and been in tears. But seeing these babies so sick is another level of sadness. You just don't realise how hard life can be in other parts of the world."
Next month they'll take the Take Me Home tour to Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
"We're going to put on a massive show this time, with all the bells and whistles," promises Liam of the two gigs at the Capital FM Arena.
"And I hope you guys enjoy it."
Don’t miss next week’s Nottingham Post for a frenzy of 1D activity, including a free poster, a free Panini sticker album and packet, fan stories and photos, a cardboard cut-out of the boys on a tour of the city and our verdict on the show.
To find out what’s happening and to tell us why you are Nottingham’s No. 1 1D fan go to facebook.com/TheNottinghamPost.
Have a look at our map to find out where you can get your poster from.
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