For five years, Nathan Sykes was a member of the British boy band, The Wanted. The group, which gave us catchy dance-floor anthems like the 2011 number-one hit, “Glad You Came,” went their separate ways in 2014, promising fans that they would someday work together again. But 22-year-old Sykes has been far from quiet ever since the hiatus was announced.
In fact, it seems that the singer was just getting started with a budding career as a solo artist. He’s been hitting the studio with his former flame Ariana Grande, who he dated in 2013, and reinventing his musical style with a debut record that’s slated to come out later this year. Sykes has already given us a taste of what to expect from the album, which has spawned three fresh and catchy songs so far—the latest being his upcoming single with Grande, “Over and Over Again,” which he performed at the Billboard Hollywood Party on New Year’s Eve. The singer sure knows how to keep us wanting more—and we’re OK with that. Scroll down for seven things to know about buzzy new solo music star.
1. He was the youngest member of The Wanted.
When the band formed in 2009, Sykes was just 16 years old. Now well out of his teens, he’s already familiar with how the industry works as he kicks off his solo career.
2. He's already won an award.
Sykes and his bandmates in The Wanted won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Breakout Artist in 2013 following the success of their hit single, “Glad You Came.” In the band’s speech, they graciously thanked their supporters before singing an impromptu a capella version of the Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight.”
3. He's had a TV show.
In 2013, Sykes starred in a reality TV show about The Wanted, called “The Wanted Life.” The series, which aired on E!, gave fans an inside look at the boy band's lifestyle while they lived together in the California's Hollywood Hills.
4. He's faced his share of challenges.
Sykes suffered from a vocal chord hemorrhage in 2013, which required throat surgery. Luckily, the surgery was a success and the singer came back from it better than ever.
5. He's working with the hit-makers.
Right after The Wanted completed their last tour, Sykes headed to the studio with Grammy-nominated producer Harmony Samuels, who’s recorded hits with artists like Ariana Grande, Fifth Harmony, and Chris Brown. Sykes had met Samuels while working on Grande’s track, “Almost Is Never Enough,” their duet which spent two straight weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
6. He's a hot commodity.
Sykes’s first U.S. solo tour date at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City sold out in just 10 minutes. He revealed to Rolling Stone that his mom frantically called him to say that the ticket website had crashed, but really, the concert had just sold out that quickly.
7. He's friends with Hollywood's mega pop-stars.