UPDATE: Not so fast. Instead of surprise dropping music, Styles decided to reintroduce himself visually, debuting his new short hair (and immortalising his 3-years-in-the-making hair cut) on three covers for AnOther Man magazine, an upscale fashion and culture mag aimed at men. Go right ahead, Harold.
It seems everyone is certain Harry Styles will inevitably go solo.
The quietest source regarding the validity of this info is Mr Styles himself. Barely posting once a month on his social media accounts - all of which boast millions of eager followers - Styles sent fans into a speculative spin last night when he posted...nothing? Something? Three things?
See for yourself:
Yep. Three blank, white squares. The posts acquired over half a million likes in 24 hours because of course. But fans were left wondering...what does it mean?
Me after seeing the 3 white pics with no caption on Harry's Instagram https://t.co/uZabYjdJJi
— m 🌚 (@paynecxkes) September 25, 2016
Celebrities often post monstrous collage pictures to show off a new album cover or a neat panoramic video capture; could this be the first reveal of Harry's hotly anticipated solo album cover? Will the next set of squares come at the same time each night until all is revealed? Fans also noted Closer singer Halsey once posted white squares to signify the "line" between her old album era and the beginning of a new one.
Did Styles effectively "draw a line" between the old him and the new him?
Possibly the worst theory we've seen so far is the squares are actually blank spaces and Harry is still apparently pining for Taylor Swift to re-write his name...
Looking to Harry related sources for answers helps a tiny bit. Longtime collaborator and music video director Ben Winston liked this tweet today:
Ben Winston liked this tweet about Harry's IG posts earlier today. pic.twitter.com/ssRtGVFjgA
— 1D Updates (@1DInfoForFans) September 25, 2016
Harry's cousin Matt Selley also addressed a recent article:
Rumors are that Harry's sound will be an "earth shattering musical breakthrough" you have to be excited when you read this.!🙌🏻
— Matty. (@matty_selley) September 25, 2016
Unfortunately, those rumours came from the Inquisitr which isn't the most reliable source of info. The article claims Harry apparently worked with The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but a quick Google finds nothing but a quote from the band telling The Sun they would gladly give Harry a song if he wanted one.
Almost all of the other supposed recent collaborators mentioned in the article can be debunked as false or exaggerated:
"Ringo Star spent a lot of time talking to Harry."
Styles and Starr did in fact hang out recently, but it was a mere social outing at the luxurious SoHo House in Los Angeles, and it may have even been a boy band night out too, since Harry's bandmate Louis was also present.
"Sir Paul McCartney may have spoken with Styles as well."
There's no indication Macca has met with Styles, at least not in a collaborative sense. They do however share a PR company, so it wouldn't be difficult for them to get in touch.
"Elton John offered as much help as Harry wanted."
It's true the legendary singer kindly offered when asked by Sugarscape recently.
"Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol has been working with Styles on solo material for years."
McDaid, a longtime pal of the 22-year-old, confirmed he's written many songs with Harry over the years, but also clarified he had no clue when Harry would release a solo album. There's also talk of eight officially registered tracks penned by McDaid and Styles and while seven of those songs do exist, there are no performers listed for any of them. Of course, Styles could still become the eventual performer one day...watch this space.
"Meghan Trainor recorded a romantic duet with Harry."
True, except the song was given to Michael Buble and will feature on his upcoming new album. Award for most unlikely collaborative trio goes to...
"Kodaline, an Irish Band, wrote a song called “Make It Feel Right” with Styles."
This song's existence surfaced in January last year and Kodaline confirmed in April this year that Harry did in fact co-write the song...except it was never intended for official release.
"Ryan Tedder of One Republic has written a couple of songs with Harry."
Tedder confirmed he'd written songs with Harry (and co-wrote One Direction's 2013 track Right Now) but denied the Harry co-writes were for any particular album, even going so far as to say there's no album he even knows of!
Yikes. That's not a lot of factual evidence to base a supposedly imminent solo record around. Particularly when a solo deal is yet to be confirmed by anyone official.
Regardless of the speculation, one person who is definitely coming out with a solo album soon is Liam Payne, as he re-confirmed on Twitter recently:
Liam liked this fan's tweet earlier. Can we expect an album soon? 👀👌🏼 pic.twitter.com/RUXFzroZoo
— One Direction Update (@the1Dscene) September 22, 2016