UPDATE (10/17/16): Liam Payne has inked a North American solo deal with Republic Records, home of Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, and more. Republic's CEO and co-founder Monte Lipman said, "We're honored by Liam's decision to join Republic Records, and have extremely high expectations for his solo career."
Ever since One Direction went on hiatus earlier this year, rumors have abounded as to which of the remaining four members would put out a solo album first. Now, it looks like we might be closer to an answer.
Liam Payne announced on Twitter Thursday (July 21) that he’s signed to Capitol Records as a solo artist. "One Direction will always be my home and family but I'm very excited to see what this chapter brings,” he wrote.
Last September, Payne commented on how he saw 1D’s hiatus as an opportunity. "I realize now is the time to start branching out and exploring,” he said in an interview with Attitude, though back then said he he wasn’t thinking about working on a solo album.
Payne’s bandmate Harry Styles reportedly inked a solo deal last month, though he never announced the signing publicly. It’s still not clear whose solo album will be first out the gate, but Liam might just have taken the lead.