Louis Tomlinson, X Factor contestant, X Factor judge, member of One Direction and one of the most emotive and underrated lyricists of modern times.
He auditioned for the X Factor prior to being put in the band, he didn’t even get to audition for the judges. Undeterred he applied again in 2010 for the shows seventh series, determined to prove himself.
Having gotten as far as the bootcamp stage, where he knew he didn’t have the strongest voice in the competition and practiced tirelessly again with the fierce determination that had made him audition again, he was eliminated. Then he was offered a life line along with four other boys, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Zayn Mailk and Niall Horan, to form a boyband. They all jumped at the chance and One Direction was born.
The band progressed through the competition, coming in third place. Throughout the entire live part the show, Louis was not given a solo, he carried the harmonies. At one point in the show when they thought Louis may miss the performance due to an injury to his foot, bandmate Harry commented that the vocals sounded “wrong” and “not think enough” without Louis.
While he may have not been the lead vocalist, his voice was and went on to become perhaps the most important weapon within One Direction’s arsenal.
One Direction signed to Simon Cowell’s label Syco after the show, Simon had seen the bands rising popularity and the demand for them, the money signs flickered in his eyes. They began a relentless five year marathon. An album a year, world tours, endless promotion and a movie all while travelling the world.
Midnight Memories, the band’s third album was where Louis found his feet within the band, and quietly began to show how his skill and prowess as a lyricist. Having written a little on the first two albums he and the rest of the band began to take control of the bands sound, transforming it, Midnight Memories went on to be One Directions’ best selling album out of the five they released.
Up All Night
Everything About You
Take Me Home
Back For You
Last First Kiss
Still The One
Better Than Words
Does He Know?
Little Black Dress
Little White Lies
Story of My Life
Through the Dark
Why Don’t We Go There
Change Your Ticket
Ready to Run
Steal My Girl
Made In The A.M.
End of the Day
Long Way Down
Love You Goodbye
What a Feeling
One Direction took a break in 2015. By this point, Louis had notched up an impressive 37 co-writing credits. Firmly becoming one of the band’s top lyricists showing that everyone in a band has something unique they add despite media attention constantly only ever being given to the designated leader of a band. Some of the songs he co-wrote for the band became fan anthems, even now fans still comment on how songs like Home, Strong and Through The Dark, mean so much to them and have them personally through tough times within their own lives.
Louis continued to write working on his own solo material. His first offering was Just Hold On, which featured Steve Aoki, a deep but uplifting track about finding the courage to hold on when times are rough. The track was released at the time in Louis’s life where he was privately dealing with the loss of his Mum, who passed away after a short battle with Leukaemia despite grieving he returned to the X Factor stage to perform the song with Steve, fulfilling the promise he made to his Mum that he would still perform. His performance was watched by millions, both the public and media commending him for his utter professionalism in the wake of such personal tragedy.
He followed up the track with Back to You (ft. Bebe Rexha), Miss You and Just Like You. Each showed his versatility and ability to write different styles of songs. Something many lyricists struggle with. Each encompassed his ability to take emotions and situations that everyone deals with them and make them into catchy tunes that you have to sing along to.
Like fellow lyricists, Louis also wrote for other artists as he began to work tirelessly on his debut album Walls which was released in January 2020.
Walls is an introduction to Louis as a lyricist for those who may dismiss his because of how he got his start within the industry. It’s full of honest, relatable and emotive lyrics, packaged into catchy tracks that tell his story but are vague enough the listener can relate them to what is going in their own lives. For fans, this is the Louis they’ve known, adored and championed for many years.
What makes Louis a formidable lyricist and one that people should pay more attention to is how humble he is. Speaking during promotion for Walls he talked about how he believes he is just getting started as a lyricist and still has much to learn. How he finds it hard to comprehend that he is capable of writing tracks that can help others in their time of need.
His work ethic and his lack of self-belief in his own skills and how he downplays the compliments people pay his songs, combined with his penchant for writing what he feels and creating tracks that convey so much emotion with his unique vocal tones. Conveying so much to the listener, that they are transported to their own story when they listen to his songs. are all marks of an incredibly gifted and talented lyricist.
Louis is an exceptional lyricist. He is entirely underrated but that works in his favour. He has seen what global stardom is, he lived it for five years, the pressure to release top hit after hit and the relentless media intrusion and work schedule that it encompasses and how it burns you out both physically and the toll it takes on your mental health.
Now he’s making music that allows people to escape, to use his music as a coping method to help them through good and bad times. If that music reaches number 1 in the charts it’s an added bonus, but he’s not chasing it anymore, he’s being real and that is what makes him one of most emotive lyricists of modern times.
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