Robbie Williams reveals he sees himself in Harry Styles

The singer also reflected on leaving Take That and his relationship with Gary Barlow.
The singer also reflected on leaving Take That and his relationship with Gary Barlow. The singer also reflected on leaving Take That and his relationship with Gary Barlow.

Robbie Williams has said he sees “a lot” of himself in pop sensation Harry Styles.

The 48-year-old found fame as a member of hit boyband Take That before going on to forge a successful solo career after the release of his debut album Life Thru A Lens.

Speaking to friend and presenter Scott Mills in celebration of the album, which features hit Angels, Williams was told by Mills, 49, that he sees similarities between the two performers.

Williams replied: “Absolutely. I see a lot.

“This is inconsequential but the algorithm on my YouTube threw up a video of Harry Styles talking in between songs and what he was talking about was a bit of nonsense, like I talk about, just a bit of banter.

“It was like, I see what he’s doing. He’s trying to fill a space… That stage is massive and it’s a lonely place.

“You’d better throw some shapes or you’re just going to feel awkward.”

During the conversation, which took place on Robbie Williams: My Life Thru A Lens on BBC Radio 2, Williams also discussed his initial departure from Take That and the impact on his relationship with former bandmate Gary Barlow.

“I think that I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown, my first of many,” Williams said of leaving the band.

BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend -Coventry
BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend -Coventry Harry Styles (Ian West/PA)

“All the information going into the computer had made the computer overload … So it felt like I was in some sort of burning building and I needed to get out.

“That’s how it felt at the time. Then I was like, ‘okay, I’ll do this tour and then I’ll leave’. And they actually went, ‘Actually, if you’re going to leave, can you go now?’”

Williams left the band, which at the time consisted of Williams, Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen and Jason Orange, in 1995 before temporarily rejoining in 2010.

Williams revealed he later “made sure” there was chart rivalry between himself and Barlow, 51, telling Mills: “Because that’s what the 90s was about. This is what was happening in my camp – I say my camp, I mean my head – it’s like wrestling or boxing.

“It’s your tribe against their tribe, and my tribe was me and their tribe was Gary Barlow, and I was all up for that kind of conflict because I got some sort of kick from it.

Help for Heroes Concert – London
Help for Heroes Concert – London Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow (Yui Mok/PA)

“Unfortunately Gary didn’t feel the same way and he didn’t get a kick from it, because he was a well-rounded grown-up that didn’t need that sort of inflammation in his life. I so badly wanted him to respond but, like I say, he’s a well-rounded grown up.”

Williams said he and Barlow have since repaired their relationship, adding: “Look, we are family. It’s like blood family for all the good, and all the bad, and we are intrinsically locked together on this journey on the planet.

“All of us – me, Jay, Howard, Mark and Gaz. I will always be the younger brother and he will always be the older brother. And I did things that I’m not proud of, and said things I’m not proud of as a reaction to things that I hope he’s not that proud of either. That being said, taking the mickey out of Gary, he didn’t deserve that.”

Robbie Williams: My Life Thru a Lens is available on BBC Sounds from December 30 and airs on BBC Radio 2 on January 1 at 5pm.