On March 25th 2015, Zayn Malik publically declared he was leaving One Direction. The band, formed during the seventh season of X Factor UK in 2010, was co created and signed by Simon Cowell just after the show.
Four years and four success albums later, One Direction - commonly abbreviated 1D - mark the comeback of a phenomenon that hadn't been seen since the Backstreet Boys in the 90s.
2010, Season 7 of the X-Factor UK. Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik are all rejected as solo singers. However, Cowell brings them together to form a band, allowing them to compete in the Group category. From then on, they quickly gained popularity in the UK, and finished third in the overall competition with their song "Forever Young."
Little after the show, Simon Cowell signed them with his own label, Syco Records, for a reported £2 contract. Their first single, Up All Night, was released in September 2011, after becoming the most pre-ordered single in history as regards Sony Music Entertainment.
Since then, they have released one album per year: Up All Night (early 2012), Take Me Home (November 2012), Midnight Memories (2013) and Four (November 2014). Although their first album was mainly pop with teen pop and pop rock elements, they have gradually integrated more rock, electro and even dubstep sounds.
As Malik announced his departure from the band last March, rumour has it he is going to run a solo career: record producer Naughty Boy has already released a first demo. On the other hand, Liam Payne announced, on April 4th, that the band has started writing their 5th album.
Their breakthrough was highly influenced by their presence on social media, posting videos and tweeting nonstop. This closeness with their fans made them all the more popular.
The band has received, amongst others, 2 BRIT awards, 2 American Music Awards and 4 MTV Video Music Awards.
Magazine Business Insider claims the band has made over 1 billion dollars since their début: five guys, and five time more money?
Lucky for charity, the group donates a lot. Their main causes are children's rights and cancer research. In 2013, they were named most charitable musicians behind Taylor Swift. Last November, they joined the charity group Band Aid 30 and recorded the charity single "Do they know it's Christmas?" in order to raise money for the West African Ebola crisis.