One Direction: Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction, p.1One Direction
About the Publisher
Welcome to our first book! We can hardly believe it.
We’ve had so much fun writing this and remembering all the crazy, funny and emotional moments we’ve had so far. And believe us, there have been many. We want to share as much with you as we can, so inside you can read all about the ups and downs, find out how we really get on with each other and discover our big plans for the future.
It’s amazing to think about how much has happened in such a short space of time. This time last year we were just starting out on The X Factor. Since then we’ve done loads of traveling, learned a ridiculous amount and made music which we’re incredibly proud of and we hope you love.
It’s no exaggeration to say we’re having the best time of our lives right now, and there’s no way that would be happening if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for all your unbelievable support. It means the world to us and we love you. Here’s to many, many good times to come.
I sometimes get flashbacks of when I was a kid, and I think my earliest memories are of being at Disney World when I was about five. Everything seemed so big and fun and I loved it.
The first time I was ever away from my family was when I started going to a nursery called Happy Days. And they were happy days, to be fair. I always got on really well with all the staff, and the lady who owned the center was our babysitter, so I probably got to play with the good toys more than the other kids did. I was pretty well behaved and I didn’t get into a lot of trouble or anything. I was more interested in playing than being naughty.
I remember my first day of school pretty clearly. My mom came and sat with me in the class, and then about halfway through the day she left. All the kids were playing together, but some were crying a bit. I felt fine about it and I had a few friends there so I settled in quite quickly and never minded being there. My best friend in primary school was a guy called Jonathan, and he’s still a good friend of mine now and I see him all the time. He came to see me on the tour and we always keep in touch.
PLAYING IN THE GARDEN AGE THREE
I was in the school plays from a really young age and I once played Buzz Lightyear in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I know that sounds a bit weird, but basically when the children hid from the Child Catcher in the toy store they had Buzz and Woody in there, so I got to dress up as Buzz. That was one of my first ever performances, if you can call it that.
I also did a play called Barney about a mouse who lived in a church. I played Barney and I had to wear a pair of my sister’s gray tights and a headband with ears on and sing in front of everyone. I like to think I was a good mouse.
I always used to love singing. The first song I knew all the words to was “The Girl of My Best Friend” by Elvis. My dad introduced me to his music, and when I was given a karaoke machine by my granddad, my cousin and I recorded a load of Elvis tracks. I wish I still had them so I could have a listen.
I liked math from an early age because we got to use bricks and cubes and it was quite fun, but as I got older I found it harder, so I got much more into English. I could produce really good pieces of writing and I felt really proud when I got an A for my first ever essay. But I was so easily distracted that I started spending more and more time chatting to friends in class or daydreaming, and sadly I never quite got up to that standard again.
I liked PE too and I played soccer a lot. When I started playing for the local soccer team in goal I made friends from other schools as well, which meant I had a lot of friends. I’ve always liked being around people and getting to know new people, so I’ve always had a wide group of friends. Also I used to be friends with girls as well as boys. I wasn’t one of those boys who thought girls were smelly and didn’t like them; I was kind of friends with everyone.
I got a bit cheekier as time went on, and when I was about eight or nine I started testing the boundaries. I’d often try and get one over on the teachers. I also got much more interested in girls. I only ever got into one fight the whole time I was at school, and that was in primary school. I’m not the type to pick a fight, and if someone had ever tried to start a fight it would make me laugh more than anything.
When I was seven my mom and dad divorced, and that was quite a weird time. I remember crying about it when my parents told me they were splitting up, but after that I was alright. I guess I didn’t really get what was going on properly, I was just sad that my parents wouldn’t be together any more.
My mom, my older sister Gemma and I left Holmes Chapel and moved farther out into the Cheshire countryside. Our new home was a pub, and my mom became the landlady. There was a boy called Reg living nearby and he was the only other kid in the area, so even though he was my sister’s age we used to hang out together all the time. The summer we moved there Reg and I used to go every day to Great Budworth Ice Cream Farm, which was about two miles away. We’d borrow two pounds off our moms and cycle up there and get an ice cream. I can remember that so clearly. It’s the same ice cream farm I took all the boys to when they came to stay before Bootcamp. And the ice cream is still as good now.
On the subject of girls, when I was about six I was friends with a girl called Phoebe Fox. Her mom and mine were best friends, and I bought her a teddy bear the same as my one and everything. She was the cutest little girl. I had a few other girlfriends here and there when I was really young, but I didn’t have an actual girlfriend until I was 12. Then I went out with a girl called Emilie, and for quite a long time considering how young we were. She’s still a good friend of mine now. I was also with a girl called Abi. I guess you could say that she was my first serious girlfriend.
I’ve been single now since the end of 2009 and I’m fine with that. I’m not consciously looking for a girlfriend, but if I meet someone I like it would be great. I do like being with someone and if the right person came along, then we’d see what happened.
When I was about 12 we moved back to Holmes Chapel, and that’s when my mom met my stepdad, Robin. I really liked him and I was always asking her if he was coming over, but she wanted to make really sure that Gemma and I were okay with him being around. She worried about it a lot, so in the end I used to text him and tell him to come over because I thought he was a really cool guy. I’ve always got on well with him and I still do now.
I was really pleased when Robin proposed to my mom. He did it completely by surprise while they were watching Coronation Street on Christmas Eve a few years ago. I was at my girlfriend Abi’s house at the time and I remember getting a call from my mom and how happy I was when she told me they were going to be getting married. I’m not sure when they’re planning to do it, and even though a few people have suggested this, I don’t think it’s very likely that One Direction will be playing at the wedding.
My mom and I have always been close. I’m such a mommy’s boy. I’m really close to my dad, Des, as well, and he’s very supportive of everything I’m doing. I think we’re probably quite alike in a lot of ways.
My sister and I have generally got on very well too. I know that a lot of siblings argue, and we had our moments when we were growing up, but we hang out together a lot now and she even came on part of the tour with me.
I’ve made a few style mistakes in my ti
LOOK AT THAT TARANTULA!
AGE SIX, ON HOLIDAY IN FLORIDA. WHAT AN OUTFIT!
I really enjoyed secondary school and I worked pretty hard, but I enjoyed myself as well. Life is all about balance. I played badminton a lot in secondary school. My dad is really good at it, so I got that from him, and I was always really competitive. I liked the fact that it wasn’t the most obvious sport to get into, and that you need quite a lot of skill to play it. I like things that involve skill and I love anything that’s a bit of a challenge.
At the end of Year Eight I became friends with a guy called Will and he became like my brother. We had the same sense of humor and we got on really well from the word go. He and a friend called Hayden were really keen to start a band, and a guy called Nick had just started to play bass so he joined them too. They wanted to enter a battle of the bands competition at school and they needed a singer, so they asked me to try out.
That was a bit of a shock as I’d only ever sung to myself in the shower or in the car. I knew I could sing a note, but I had no idea how I’d be. But I’d always imagined what it would be like to be in a band, so I started practicing with them. We were always singing “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams and “Be My Girl” by Jet, so we decided to perform them in the competition.
We were all ready to go and we started filling out the application form, but we didn’t have a name and we couldn’t think of anything. It got to the day before the show and we had to put something down, so we decided just to go for something completely random. I suggested White Eskimo, and we hadn’t thought of anything better, so we wrote it down and from then on that’s who we were.
The competition was in the school canteen, and we decided that we were all going to dress in a similar way so we all had white shirts and black ties on. At the time we thought we looked really cool. All of our friends were down at the front of the stage when we sang “Summer of 69,” and afterwards this girl came up to me and said, “Where did that come from?” Three finalists were chosen, including us, and we all had to sing again—and we ended up winning, which was amazing. After that we decided to take things a bit more seriously when it came to practicing.
The band changed a bit after the competition because we got a new bassist, and also a guitarist called Jacob. We used to practice every Wednesday after school at Will’s house. Then we landed our first gig.
A girl in my school said that her mom was getting married and wanted us to play at the wedding, so we rehearsed solidly for two days. We had a set list of about 25 songs that the bride had chosen, and we learned the lot. We used my stepdad’s PA system and we went along and set it all up and it all went really well. We felt like a proper band. We performed a lot of Bob Marley tracks, some acoustic songs, and I also sang “Hallelujah.”
One of the guests at the wedding was a music producer, and afterwards he came and spoke to us and told us we were really good. He also said that I reminded him of Mick Jagger, which of course I loved.
We got paid £160 for the gig, which worked out at £40 each. And we got free sandwiches. What more can you ask for? We practiced more and more after that. Will’s mom is a TV and radio presenter called Yvette Fielding. She was really supportive, giving us advice and helping us with everything. Now we were serious about carrying the band on and trying to get a deal or something one day.
I had always thought about going in for The X Factor, and watching Eoghan Quigg and Lloyd Daniels in 2009—young guys like me—made me want to do it even more. I also think that being in front of an audience with the band had given me a taste for performing. I loved being on stage and I wanted to do more and more.
I didn’t know if I had what it took, and I was really nervous about actually taking the step and applying, so in the end my mom filled out the application form and sent it off for me—and I’m so grateful she did. I often have those moments when I think, “What if she hadn’t done that” or “What if so and so hadn’t happened?” I had one the other day when we were all sitting down looking at an article about us. It hit me that if I hadn’t gone in for The X Factor I would still be at college. Instead I’m traveling around the country—and other parts of the world—with four of my best friends, having the best time it’s possible to have.
MOVING ON UP
I can remember so much about my X Factor audition and Bootcamp, but at the same time it all seems like such a blur. The best moment for me out of the whole thing was when we were told we were going to be put in a band together. I’d spoken to Louis, Zayn and Niall at Bootcamp and I remember thinking, “This is going to be a lot of fun,” but I never for a moment thought that things would end up like this.
After the show everyone ended up coming to stay at my stepdad’s house in Cheshire, and for the first few days or so we just bonded with each other. It was a new experience for us all because it was like living in a student flat. My mom and Robin completely left us to our own devices. We all put in some money and my mom put a load of food in the fridge and we were left to get on with it. I cooked dinner for us one night—chicken breasts, fries and peas—and we all sat around the table in the bungalow talking rubbish. Other than that I think we ate Super Noodles most days, and we’d go out into the garden and play soccer for ages. We’d do ten minutes of singing practice, then play soccer for three hours, have a swim, drive to KFC… We were just messing around, but it was a really good way of getting to know each other’s personalities. We were learning little bits about each other by having silly banter.
I got on with Louis from the word go. We’re very similar and I like the fact that he has this ability to be nice to everyone while living totally for the moment. It puts a smile on your face when you see someone like that. I feel I can tell him anything, and I felt like that straight away. He can be really funny one minute, but if someone has a problem he can go into serious mode straight away and he gives really good advice.
Spain was so, so weird because we were still getting to know each other and then all of a sudden we were getting on a plane together for what felt like a holiday. We were still finding out so much about each other—in fact, we still are—so it was another really good time. I think we suddenly felt really grown up because we were in this big competition and, even though the X Factor staff were there, we were looking after ourselves to a certain extent.
Getting told we were through to the live finals was another moment I’ll never, ever forget. We honestly had no idea whether Simon would pick us or not, so to get a yes was just the most amazing feeling in the world. We were in shock when we were phoning our parents to tell them, but we had to keep it quiet from everyone else, which made things a bit weird. I wanted to tell the world, I was so happy.
We went back home for a while after Spain, and with some money I borrowed from my mom I ordered loads of clothes for the live shows because I wanted to be prepared. I have paid her back now, by the way.
What was weird then was getting used to people knowing who I was. My audition was shown the day before I moved into the house, so all my friends were texting me to say well done. When I headed up to London we stopped at a petrol station and someone there recognized me, and that was so strange.
Moving into the house was cool, and I didn’t even mind that our room was tiny. It did get pretty grotty, because you can imagine what it’s like with five teenage boys sharing a small space. We had a lot of luggage and there was too much stuff in the room, so it ended up being a bit grim. Apparently at one point someone took
We did try to keep the room tidy, but the longer we were in the show the more stuff we accumulated, and the room seemed to get smaller and smaller. I can’t have disliked it that much, though, because Louis and I are planning to move in together. It must have been bearable.
I have so many great memories of being in the house, especially all of the times I went naked. Stripping off is very liberating, I feel so free. It’s always a spur of the moment thing, but no one seemed to mind. I think Mary secretly liked it…I’d become a lot more confident during my time in the show through being in front of so many people, and my confidence came out in my nakedness. I also used to moon a bit at school, because it made me laugh, so I was carrying it on.
Sometimes I was totally starkers, and sometimes I wore a thong. My friend Nick bought me a gold snake-print thong for my birthday, and I took it into the house with me because I thought it would be funny, and then I started wearing it.
One time I had to do a naked video clip for ITV2 where I was standing there with no clothes on and the boys had to pass various objects across me, keeping certain parts covered. That was the plan, but at one point Zayn didn’t move the book he was holding quickly enough and the cameraman got a bit of an eyeful. I think you could safely say I’m not shy.
One Direction: Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction by One Direction / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes