It appears Liam Payne has taken a page out of Zayn Malik’s book. The One Direction singer announced that he has signed a record deal with Capitol Records, the same label that has produced legendary artists like Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, and the Beach Boys, along with current chart-toppers Katy Perry, Sam Smith, and 5 Seconds of Summer. Payne, 22, broke the news on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, posting a black and white picture of a vinyl record donning his name. He wrote:
“Very happy to have signed to my new record label Capitol Records. They have such an amazing history of artists, I hope I can follow in their footsteps. One Direction will always be my home and family but I’m very excited to see what this chapter brings.”
— Liam (@Real_Liam_Payne) July 21, 2016
It’s been a rough year and a half for One Direction fans. First, the boy band lost original member Malik in March 2015 to pursue a solo career. A few months later, the four remaining members–Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles–announced they would be taking an extended hiatus following the release of their fifth album Made in the A.M. While the young superstars have insisted they will, in fact, return after taking time off, many have been skeptical about the band’s future, and Payne’s announcement continues to fuel the argument that the band has officially gone in separate directions (mind the pun).
Styles is trying out his acting chops and has been filming the Christopher Nolan-directed World War II flick Dunkirk. Tomlinson has been kept busy during 1D’s hiatus following the birth of his son, Freddie, in January. The new dad recently appeared as a guest judge on America’s Got Talent, alongside the man who discovered him, Simon Cowell. Horan, an avid sports fan, has teamed up with One Direction’s management team Modest! to create his own management program, aimed specifically at golfers.
Malik made his solo debut in January with the release of his single, “Pillowtalk,” which shot to the top of the charts. His debut album, Mind of Mine, dropped on March 25, one year to the day after his shocking departure from the world’s biggest boy band.
Whether this truly marks the end of One Direction is yet to be seen, but one thing is certain: if fans offer up the same support to Payne and company as they did to Malik in his solo ventures, then they will be not only relevant but successful for a long time to come. Even if that does mean they go in four different directions.