Over the past decade, Harry Styles has become one of the biggest names in pop music. After becoming a teenage sensation as a member of boy band One Direction, Styles began releasing his own solo music which won over fans of all genres and catapulted him to a new level of stardom.
Although the English singer-songwriter has positioned himself firmly in the pop realm, he has been open about his love and respect for country music. In recent years, he’s performed several country covers during his live sets and even wrote a track for one of the genre’s most respected new talents.
In 2017, Styles noted Shania Twain as one of his biggest inspirations “both in music and fashion.” On a recent episode of Her Home Now Radio on Apple Music, Twain revealed that Styles is now a “texting friend” and hopes to perform a duet or write a song together in the future. Gretchen Wilson also praised Styles’ solo music, telling rolling stone that his 2017 self-titled solo album features “real writing, singing, and almost feels like listening to vinyl in the 70s”.
So why are some of country music’s biggest names raving about Harry Styles? Read on to watch and hear some of its most surprising and impressive pivots in the genre so far.
Little Big Town’s huge 2014 hit, “Girl Crush,” has become one of the band’s most beloved and recognizable tracks. In 2017, Styles began covering the song during its long live on tour trek across the United States, including its stop at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It became a fan favorite and Styles later recorded a studio version of the song as part of his Spotify Singles live album, which is only available on the streaming platform.
“Always the One” with Kacey Musgraves
When Kacey Musgraves was picked as an opener for a Harry Styles game live on tour concert dates in 2018 surprised many country fans. What many didn’t realize was that Musgraves and Styles shared a love for Shania Twain, which culminated in something magical. Their duet version of Twain’s 1997 hit “Still the One,” which was first performed while on tour at New York’s Madison Square Garden, made headlines when fan videos of the collaboration on stage have been posted online.
Although Harry Styles is known for his energetic live performances and adventurous fashion sense, he is also an incredibly talented songwriter. Written by Styles, Lori McKenna, Tom Hull and Tyler Johnson, “Changes” is a country song at its core. With lyrics that reflect the realities of life for many people in rural America, this is a surprising piece of work from Styles. The track was recorded by Cam and featured on his 2020 record The other side.
“Space Cowboy” with Kacey Musgraves
Fans who attended Kacey Musgraves’ last live golden hour the era received special treatment. On October 25, 2019, Harry Styles made a surprise appearance at Musgraves’ Bridgestone Arena show in Nashville, joining her on stage for a one-night-only duet version of her heartbreaking track “Space Cowboy.”
“Landslide” with Stevie Nicks
Whether you’re a die-hard country fan or a fan of pop, Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” is a song that truly defies genre. The Chicks made it their own in 2002 when they recorded a cover for their critically acclaimed album Home. During a secret show in Los Angeles in 2019, Styles shared the stage with Stevie Nicks for a duet version of the song. The duo’s unexpected harmonies unleash the same magic as The Chicks years earlier and speak to the classic track’s universal appeal.