X Factor's One Direction make chart history in the USA

  • 21 March 2012
  • From the section Music
One Direction

One Direction have made history in the US.

America is usually one of the toughest places for UK artists to crack but the boy band have made it look easy.

Their album, Up All Night, has reached number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

It makes them the first British band to top the charts with their debut, something even The Beatles failed to manage.

The band have given Newsbeat behind the scenes access to their promotional tour in New York.

"All the promo and build up to the album coming out has been tough," says Niall Horan. "We did a lot of signings and tried to visit as many radio stations in as many states here as possible."

America's size means promotional tours in the country are a tough slog.

The band has visited dozens of cities in recent weeks to get as much exposure as possible.

Unlike other British bands before them, they've been helped by the power of social media.

Zayn Malik told Newsbeat: "We have the advantage of Twitter and YouTube and I think that goes to show how powerful the internet is nowadays because people shouldn't know who we are."

'Cowell'

The boys have millions of followers between them on Twitter and many fans in the US claim they first heard about the boys on some form of social media.

The group say another reason for their success has been the influence of Simon Cowell, the man who put them together on The X Factor in 2010.

One Direction
One Direction pose after performing on NBC's Today show in New York

"He's the big boss man," says Liam Payne. "A lot of people think he's not really involved that much but he is. To come out here and have the kind of reaction we've had so far is amazing. He must know what he's doing."

There may be no sign of Simon Cowell in New York but the band have a big support team in the US.

As well as security, they are joined on their tour bus by management from their record label and even a make-up artist who follows them throughout the day.

With the likes of 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys no longer around, One Direction have picked a good time to compete in the US charts.

Harry Styles acknowledged the gap in the market: "I think for quite a while you know there weren't a lot of boy bands even in the UK. I don't think there has been a massive boy band time recently."

To hear the full story of One Direction in America, with access to the band across five whole days of their US tour, listen to Radio 1 Stories on Monday 2nd April at 9pm. Or on iPlayer for 7 days after that.