“Sign of the Times” is the debut solo single by English singer and songwriter Harry Styles for his self-titled debut studio album. It is his first single outside of the boy band One Direction. Released on 7 April 2017, by Erskine and Columbia Records, it was written by Styles, Ryan Nasci, Mitch Rowland and its producers Jeff Bhasker, Tyler Johnson, and Alex Salibian. Musically, it was defined by critics as a multi-genre ballad, including pop rock, soft rock and glam rock. Its music video was released on 8 May.
Early rumours about Styles going on a solo career sparkled in 2015, when it was reported that Sony Music wanted Styles to release a solo album during One Direction’s hiatus. By the end of 2015, four new songs written and performed by Styles were registered on the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) online database, which was believed to be for his potential debut solo album at the time. Shortly after, Styles signed up with American agent Jeffrey Azoff and moved to Columbia Records. In September 2016, Styles was in the cover of Another Magazine, which led the media to expect a new album in the future.
In February 2017, chairman and CEO of Columbia Records, Rob Stringer, admitted that the album was close to finish and called it “authentic”. A month later, it was reported that the album sounded like David Bowie and Queen, while also being revealed that he worked on the album with only one producer, Jeff Bhasker. It was also hinted that the lead single would be released in late April or early May and it sounded “like it would be a smash in any decade”. In the same month, US radio host Elvis Duran accidentally revealed during his show that Styles’ debut single would be released on 7 April 2017. On 25 March, Styles teased the new single with a television ad during The Voice UK. On 31 March, the singer revealed through social media that his single is titled “Sign of the Times”. On 7 April, the song premiered during Nick Grimshaw‘s breakfast show on BBC Radio 1.
Listen to “Sign Of The Times”