One Direction: Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction


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.


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
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 time, and sadly there is photographic evidence! My hair has changed a lot over the years. It started white-blond and curly when I was born, then went brown and straight, and then started going
curly again when I was 12. So it’s been through several phases. The worst thing was probably when I had blond streaks put in it when I was about eight. I thought it was cool when I went into school the day after having it done, but looking back I looked like a douche. I lived in tracksuits, and as all I ever wanted to do was go out on my bike, I guess it fitted in with my image.




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.

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