Over the past decade, Harry Styles has become one of the biggest names in pop music. After first becoming a teen sensation as a member of chart-topping boy band One Direction, Styles began releasing his own solo music that won fans across genres and catapulted him into a new level of stardom.
Although the English singer-songwriter has positioned himself firmly in the pop realm, he's been open about his love and respect for country music. In recent years, he has performed multiple country covers during his live sets and even penned a track for one of the genre's most respected new talents.
In 2017, Styles noted Shania Twain as one of his biggest inspirations in "both music and fashion." During a recent episode of her Home Now Radio show 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 has also praised Styles' solo music, telling Rolling Stone that his 2017 self-titled solo album features "real songwriting, singing and is almost like listening to vinyl in the Seventies."
So why are some of country music's biggest names raving about Harry Styles? Keep reading to watch and hear some of his most surprising and impressive pivots into the genre, so far.
Little Big Town's massive 2014 hit "Girl Crush" has become one of the band's most beloved and recognizable tracks. In 2017, Styles began covering the song during his lengthy Live on Tour trek across the U.S., including his stop at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. It became a fan favorite and Styles went on to record a studio version of the tune as a part of his Spotify Singles live album, which is only available on the streaming platform.
"Still the One" with Kacey Musgraves
When Kacey Musgraves was tapped as an opener for part of Harry Styles' Live on Tour concert dates in 2018, it came as a surprise for many country fans. What many didn't realize is that both Musgraves and Styles shared a love for Shania Twain, which resulted in something magical. Their duet version of Twain's 1997 hit "Still the One," which was first performed during a tour date at New York City's Madison Square Garden, earned headlines when fans' videos of the on-stage collaboration were posted online.
Although Harry Styles is known for his energetic live performances and adventurous fashion sense, he's also an incredibly talented songwriter. Written by Styles, Lori McKenna, Tom Hull and Tyler Johnson, "Changes" is a country story-song at its core. With lyrics that reflect on the realities of life for many in rural America, it's a surprising piece of work from Styles. The track was recorded by Cam and featured on her 2020 record The Otherside.
"Space Cowboy" with Kacey Musgraves
Fans who attended the last live show of Kacey Musgraves' Golden Hour era got a special treat. On Oct. 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 country diehard or a pop lover, Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" is a song that truly defies genre lines. The Chicks made it their own in 2002 when they recorded a cover for their critically acclaimed record Home. During a 2019 secret show in Los Angeles, Styles shared the stage with Stevie Nicks for a duet version of the song. The unexpected duo's harmonies spark the same magic that The Chicks did years earlier, and speaks to the universal appeal of the classic track.