The former One Direction singer is set to release a solo debut album on May 12, which means he’s back into the spotlight after a year of relative quiet.
Styles goes into a wide range of topics in the profile, from the inspirations behind his new album to the 20 months he lived in an attic. But fans may be most interested in what he says about ex-girlfriend Taylor Swift, a topic he’s rarely addressed.
“When I see photos from that day,” Styles told the magazine, when asked about paparazzi shots from their second date, “I think: Relationships are hard, at any age. And adding in that you don’t really understand exactly how it works when you’re 18, trying to navigate all that stuff didn’t make it easier. I mean, you’re a little bit awkward to begin with. You’re on a date with someone you really like. It should be that simple, right? It was a learning experience for sure. But at the heart of it – I just wanted it to be a normal date.”
Styles is aware that some believe two of Swift’s songs from her smash album 1989 are about him (the aptly titled Style and Out of the Woods).
“I mean, I don’t know if they’re about me or not …” he said. “But the issue is, she’s so good, they’re bloody everywhere. I write from my experiences; everyone does that. I’m lucky if everything [we went through] helped create those songs. That’s what hits your heart. That’s the stuff that’s hardest to say, and it’s the stuff I talk least about. That’s the part that’s about the two people. I’m never going to tell anybody everything.”
Has he talked to Swift about the songs? Not exactly. “She doesn’t need me to tell her they’re great. They’re great songs … It’s the most amazing unspoken dialogue ever.”
Inevitably, the singer is happy that he had the experience at all.
“Certain things don’t work out. There’s a lot of things that can be right, and it’s still wrong,” Styles said. “In writing songs about stuff like that, I like tipping a hat to the time together. You’re celebrating the fact it was powerful and made you feel something, rather than ‘this didn’t work out, and that’s bad.’ And if you run into that person, maybe it’s awkward, maybe you have to get drunk … but you shared something. Meeting someone new, sharing those experiences, it’s the best (expletive) ever. So thank you.”
Read the full profile at Rolling Stone.