POP hunk and hottest boy band on the planet are not terms that sit easy with One Direction star Louis Tomlinson. After an amazing two-year journey he’s still pinching himself, writes Graham Walker.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our exclusive chat with One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson - who thanks fans for 1D’s success and explains what he would be doing if he wasn’t singing.
The 20-year-old is genuinely finding it hard to believe that he is one fifth of the biggest and most in demand pop outfit in the world.
But he only has to look at the facts.
It’s been the Year of One Direction since they released debut single What Makes You Beautiful just 12-months ago.
Not only did it go to the top of the pops in the UK, it smashed the charts around the world, selling five million copies and is now officially one of best-selling singles of all time.
That was only the start.
Their album, Up All Night, didn’t just break records here it did what even the Beatles didn’t do - it was the first time a debut album by a British band had entered number one on the US Billboard 200 chart.
They’ve gone on to have three other top 10 hits with Gotta Be You, One Thing and latest release, Live While We’re Young and sold over 12 million records.
One Direction, or 1D as their fans know them, have performed sold out tours in the UK, American and Australasia.
Louis has had his hands on a BRIT Award and three MTV Video Music Awards.
He’s also amassed 6.5 million Twitter followers.
Now comes news they are, surprise, surprise, rolling in cash after raking in £26.3 million this year alone. That’s over £5 million each to claim the highest new entry at number five in celebrity magazine Heat’s annual Rich List of young British stars.
They have overtaken the likes of Adele, Leona Lewis and Cheryl Cole.
It caps an amazing 2012 but Louis and his band mates Harry Styles, 18, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, all 19, could double their value in the next 12 months, say bosses at their record label Sony.
Take Me Home is scheduled for release in November 2012. A follow-up world tour in 2013 includes three nights at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena on March 19, April 13 and 14.
Not bad for a set of lads who were unknown when they were put together by X Factor boss Simon Cowell in 2010.
Louis got a reminder of his fame when he returned home to play for his Three Horse Shoes pub team in a charity football match against a Doncaster Rovers XI at the Keepmoat stadium. Louismania followed.
More than 9,500 screaming fans greeted him and helped to raise £10,000 for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, where he is a patron.
In an exclusive chat with The Star, Louis says he’d like to get home more often to see proud mum Johannah, his four younger sisters and dad Mark.
He says there are days when he still can’t believe his own story.
“This last two years has been just a complete whirlwind. It’s hard to believe it at times,’’ he told The Star - watch our chat in full at thestar.co.uk/video.
“It’s really difficult to take in. Even that I’m in the band in the first place is strange enough.
“I lay in bed and think about everything that’s happened. I know it sounds really cheesy but it’s difficult to believe - especially at this young age.
“But it’s all down to our fans. They are the people who have put us where we are and they are the people who continue to play the records.
“I want to send a massive thanks to them all. None of their support goes unnoticed. They have been absolutely incredible.
“We would have got nowhere without the fans who voted for us on the X Factor and who are now going out and buying the records and coming to see us on tour.”
He’s better groomed and manicured than he was when he turned up to audition for the X Factor a couple of years ago. He’s also dressed from head to toe in designer gear.
But beneath the pin-up exterior, it’s pleasing to know he’s still the same old Louis who we first chatted to when he was gob-smacked by the hysteria and noise that greeted the boys during a break filming the X Factor, at a signing session at HMV in Bradford.
He said: “I can still do the normal things, like walking to the shop and that sort of thing. You might get stopped for a photo. But it only becomes big when everyone knows where you are going to be.
“It’s absolutely amazing that people have got behind me. To have that kind of support is amazing.”
One Direction are top of the tweets
LOUIS Tomlinson’s band One Direction are top of the pops compared to other X Factor acts in a chart which examines online presence.
In a survey of Twitter mentions, ‘likes’ on Facebook and views on video sharing sites such as YouTube, they are the greatest hit.
They scored 117.5 million points in a chart by media analysts Starcount, while second place Leona Lewis could only manage 27.8 million and Cher Lloyd was third with 26 million.
Louis has got 6,435,627 Twitter followers, give or take a few, which means @Louis_Tomlinson can’t answer all his fans. So we asked @SheffieldStar followers to ask him a question and we picked one at random.
Katy Maguire asked: “If you weren’t singing what would you be doing? p.s i love you - katy maguire x “
Louis, from Bessacarr, who attended Hayfield School then Hall Cross sixth form, gave another insight into how life could have turned out. He said: “I planned, if I managed to get through education, to be a drama teacher.”
Instead, he’s living, not acting the dream.