One Direction may be collectively taking a break, but in terms of solo projects some members are showing that they aren't stepping away from music entirely. A song, reportedly recorded by Liam Payne, has leaked online, which sees the boy band member make a departure from 1D's pop sound and teaming up with hip-hop stars Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J.
After the track was leaked online on 21 April, does Zayn Malik - Payne's former bandmate and r'n'b's newly crowned prince - face competition?
The track - entitled You - was obtained by TMZ and features Payne, 22, singing on the chorus, while Juicy J delivers explicit lyrics over, what sounds like, an instrumental sample of Adele's 2015 single Hello.
Payne is heard singing the lyrics: "All I need is you, see anything you want/ Anything you want girl, all I see is you." According to TMZ, the star has recorded five songs with You's producer, TM88, who hails from songwriting and production collective 808 Mafia.
After the song leaked on 20 April, Payne set the record straight on Twitter, clarifying that it was not an official single and simply a 'demo'. The singer tweeted: "Hearing that I've got a single out lol thats a surprise to me that's a one take scratch demo I was writing with someone as an idea for them. Guess I need to guard my projects better ... They don't even let you finish these days. Just to clarify I do not have a single what u just heard is something i get up to on a weekend lol."
Listen to Liam Payne, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J's You:
Some have noted the similarity in sound between Payne and Malik, including one fan who commented: "So Juicy J and Liam are the new Naughty Boy and Zayn now," however, another says the singers are in their own lanes, chiming in: "Why compare zayn and liam when we all know that theyre both kings of music industry."
Malik, 23, quit One Direction in March 2015 to pursue a solo career and released his debut album Mind Of Mine in March 2016. The album shot to number one on the charts around the world and Malik became the first male artist to top the US Billboard 200 chart with a debut album in more than two decades. Mind Of Mine boasts the chart-topping single Pillowtalk and the popular tracks It's You, Befour and a collaboration with r'n'b singer Kehlani.
The remaining 1D members, Payne, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Niall Horan, began a hiatus in December 2015 and their Syco record label boss Simon Cowell confirmed the singers would use their time away from the band to launch their solo projects. The music mogul told E! News in March that "lots of things are going to be announced over the next few months".
Payne has been teasing fans with his solo material for some time and previewed a snippet of an r'n'b song on Instagram in January with the caption: "Little Song I wrote for fun yesterday."