Liam Payne has finally debuted his long-awaited solo single, Strip That Down, and fans are delighted to hear a surprise cameo from none other than Ed Sheeran.
Featuring Migos rapper Quavo, Strip That Down boasts a minimal hip-hop bassline marking a noticeable departure from the bubblegum pop he released with boy band One Direction. Set to be a dancefloor-filler, the track sees Payne, 23, entering a club and hunting around a club for a female companion while other lyrics appear to be inspired by his relationship with girlfriend Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
Payne sings: "You know, I've been taking some time, And I've been keeping to myself/ I had my eyes up on the prize, Ain't watching anybody else/ But your love, it hit me hard, girl/ Yeah, you're bad for my health/ I love the cards, that I've been dealt, Do you feel the same as well?"
Fans may recognise a familiar voice on the song with Payne confirming that Sheeran, 26, not only co-wrote the track but lent his vocals to the hook.
Exposing the secret cameo, Payne told Nick Grimshaw on BBC Radio 1: "He secretly made his way on the song. The voice that does the 'strip that down, girl' [in deep voice], that's actually him. It's amazing, the best thing ever. I feel so lucky that he wanted to write a song for me and I just want to say thank you to him more than anything. It's amazing, I'm humbled at the fact he even wanted to bother working with us and spend his time."
Listen to Liam Payne new single Strip That Down:
Strip That Down also appears to feature Payne throwing a jab at One Direction, singing: "You know I used to be in 1D (now I'm out free)/ People want me for one thing (That's not me)." Clearly keen to distance himself from the boy band, the pop star has sparked controversy after admitting to not being a fan of his former bandmate Harry Styles' solo single, Sign Of The Times.
In an interview with Music Choice, Payne said of the chart-topping ballad: "It's not something I'd listen to, but I think he did a great job of doing what he wanted to do. That's the way I'd put it best, I think. The funny thing is, [Harry] would say the same thing about me because he doesn't really listen to hip-hop music, whereas it's like my song's more Rack City [a song by Tyga] and his song is more of a different era to something I'd listen to, I guess."