Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Harry Styles was seeking "a next step in evolution" in his career after leaving One Direction.
The 26-year-old singer discussed in an interview with Variety how the One Direction members' success as solo artists speaks to their positive time in the British boy band.
Styles came to fame with One Direction, which was formed on The X Factor U.K. in 2010. The group experienced massive success before beginning an indefinite hiatus in 2016.
Styles and his One Direction bandmates Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson have since released solo albums. Both of Styles' solo albums, Harry Styles (2017) and Fine Line (2019), debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.
In the interview, Styles said One Direction's experience as solo artists has differed from boy bands of the past.
"When you look at the history of people coming out of bands and starting solo careers, they feel this need to apologize for being in the band. 'Don't worry everyone, that wasn't me!" Now I get to do what I really want to do.' But we loved being in the band," he said.
Styles said this positive experience was the springboard for the members pursuing their solo careers.
"I think there's a wont to pit people against each other. And I think it's never been about that for us," he said. "It's about a next step in evolution. The fact that we've all achieved different things outside of the band says a lot about how hard we worked on it."
One Direction celebrated its 10th anniversary in July. Styles marked the occasion by voicing his love for his bandmates and gratitude to fans on Twitter.
"I've been struggling to put into words how grateful I am for everything that's happened over the last ten years. I've seen things and places that I'd only ever dreamt of when I was growing up," the singer said.
"I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with some of the most incredible people, and gained friendships that I know I will treasure for the rest of my life," he added. "None of this would be possible without the support you've given along the way."
Styles is nominated for three awards at the 2021 Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Album for Fine Line.