Liam Payne signs solo record deal amid One Direction split fears

Justin Carissimo
New York
,Jess Denham
Thursday 21 July 2016 20:37 BST
(Christopher Polk/Getty)

One Direction’s Liam Payne has announced plans to go solo after signing a deal to join Capitol Records UK.

The 22-year-old singer-songwriter announced that he is “really happy” to have joined “such a prestigious label” before revealing the news on Twitter and Instagram (to a casual 260,000 retweets and 590,000 likes).

“Capitol Records has an amazing history stretching right back before even Frank Sinatra and I'm really looking forward to becoming part of their story,” Payne wrote in a statement. “One Direction will always be my family; I'm now excited to show what I can do as a solo artist.”

Payne has already assembled a new management team and will be heading into the studio shortly to work on his first solo album.

Capitol Records UK president Nick Raphael said that the label is “incredibly excited“ to be working with him. “It’s not often you get the chance to sign such a talented and ambitious 22-year-old who has already conquered the world,” he wrote in a statement.

Bands already signed to Capitol, which is part of Universal, include Katy Perry and 5 Seconds of Summer. Payne is the first One Direction member to sign a deal away from the boyband’s label, Sony.

Harry Styles has signed a solo deal with Colombia but is currently busy filming Christopher Nolan’s World War II movie Dunkirk. Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson are both busy with various projects, with the latter starting his own record label and working as a judge on America’s Got Talent.

Zayn Malik went solo after quitting the band suddenly in March last year. He became the first British male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with his debut album Mind of Mine earlier this year.

Payne has sold more than 20 million albums as part of One Direction, who were put together by Simon Cowell on The X Factor in 2010 and finished third. They all auditioned as solo candidates, with Styles coming up with their name. One Direction are on “hiatus” after their last world tour but speculation is rife that they have actually split up.

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