Mr. Matanes poses with One Direction at the premiere for their movie “One Direction: This Is Us”. (L-R): Niall, Zayn, Liam, David, Harry and Louis. Photo: David Matanes

The wait is finally over – One Direction is returning, now with Pace’s very own French and Spanish teacher David Matanes.

The renowned English-Irish boy band was formed on the X Factor in 2010 and consisted of five members: Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik. In just five years, they released five albums, twelve music videos, and 109 total songs, including hits like “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Story of My Life” and “Drag Me Down.”

They took on four world tours and received over 240 awards. Unfortunately, Zayn Malik left the band in March 2015. The four remaining members released their fifth album, “Made in the A.M.,” in November 2015 and then announced an 18-month hiatus.

Since 2015, all members have pursued successful solo careers, with each releasing at least one album. Their 18-month hiatus became five years, but their solo careers began to slow during the COVID-19 pandemic. They reconnected this past summer after their 10-year anniversary on July 23, 2020. “We were inspired by the dedication of our fans who have stayed even after all these years,” said Payne in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “We had seen their support in our solo careers, but when we saw them come together on the anniversary, we decided it was time to reunite.” 

While discussing reunion plans in late 2020, the band’s biggest concern was finding a fifth member. “One of the reasons we went on hiatus was because the band just didn’t feel right without a fifth member,” said Horan. “We understood Zayn’s decision to leave, and we miss him dearly, but we needed someone to fill his shoes.”

And that’s where Mr. Matanes comes in. He always has crazy stories to share with his students, but he has never shared one of the craziest ones: he spends his summers in London partying with Harry Styles. He met Harry while clubbing in London in 2013. “We did a karaoke duet to ‘Best Song Ever,’ and we have been friends ever since,” said Mr. Matanes. 

Most people seem unaware of Mr. Matanes’ talent. However, many will recognize him from the background vocals of Styles’ solo hit “Watermelon Sugar” and from the French voice on “Cherry.” “Ever since I heard his angelic voice in our karaoke duet, I knew he was born to be a star,” said Styles. “He has the perfect performing personality, and he’s just an all around amazing guy.”

The band officially asked Mr. Matanes to be their new member in January. “I immediately said yes,” said Mr. Matanes. “Singing has always been my passion, and I cannot wait to share it with the world.” He spent his spring break in Los Angeles hanging out with the boys and finalizing reunion details. “I love spending time with David,” said Tomlinson. “I am elated that he is our bandmate now, and I can’t wait to grow our friendship.”

Their reunion announcement via “Good Morning America” shook the world on March 28. “This is my first time on live television, so that’s very exciting,” said Mr. Matanes on GMA. The band will host NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, and in the coming weeks and months, they will be guests on various talk shows to promote the reunion. Once COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted, they will be touring their album “Made in the A.M.,” and they plan to release a new album in 2022.

Malik has no hard feelings about his replacement. “Although I left the band, I still want what’s best for the boys,” he said in an interview with Vogue. “I’m so happy they have found someone as talented and worthy as David.”

Despite some absences due to talk show appearances, Mr. Matanes plans to finish out this school year at Pace. Then, he will leave to pursue his dream, but he will miss all of his students. “Although I am incredibly saddened to leave Pace, I know the Pace community will support me throughout this new journey,” he said. Mr. Matanes has offered free reunion tickets to all Pace faculty and staff.


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