One Direction star Liam Payne signs solo record deal
Liam Payne has said he is "really happy" after signing a solo record deal with Capitol Records UK.
The One Direction star will shortly head into the studio to work on his first album as a vocalist in his own right.
Payne, 22, has assembled a new management team around him.
He said: "I'm really happy to have signed to such a prestigious label as Capitol Records UK.
"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."
He added: "One Direction will always be my family; I'm now excited to show what I can do as a solo artist."
Payne has sold over 20 million albums as part of the hugely successful boy band.
But his move is likely to fuel more speculation that One Direction, who are currently on hiatus, may permanently split up.
Harry Styles, who is also 22, is currently filming World War II movie Dunkirk for director Christopher Nolan.
Niall Horan, 22, is working on various projects.
Louis Tomlinson, 24, is occupied with fatherhood, his record label and television appearances as a guest talent show judge.
To date, Zayn Malik, 23, is the only member of One Direction to release a solo album.
Released in March, Mind Of Mine topped the charts in the US and the UK.
Nick Raphael, president of Capitol Records UK, said of Payne: "Capitol Records UK are incredibly excited to be working with Liam.
"It's not often you get the chance to sign such a talented and ambitious 22-year-old who has already conquered the world."