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Exciting times ahead for Liam Payne!

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Liam Payne had some big news to share this week. The 22-year-old is preparing to launch a solo career after signing a record deal with Capital Records UK to release his own music.

In a statement, Liam said he felt "really happy" to have signed to such a "prestigious" label. "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 said.

liam2© Photo: Getty Images

Liam Payne is launching his solo career

The star also had a message for One Direction's loyal fan base, adding: "One Direction will always be my family; I'm now excited to show what I can do as a solo artist."

Liam later shared an Instagram post that read: "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 the footsteps. One Direction will always be my home and family but I'm very excited to see what this chapter brings."

Nick Raphael, president of Capital Records UK, said the label was "incredibly excited" to be working with Liam.

1d© Photo: Getty Images

One Direction have been on a hiatus since January

"It's not often you get the chance to sign such a talented and ambitious 22-year-old who has already conquered the world," he commented.

Liam – currently dating Cheryl – is following in the footsteps of Zayn Malik, who released his solo album Mind of Mine in March, and Harry Styles, who is rumoured to have signed a big deal with Columbia Records.  

liam cheryl© Photo: Getty Images

Liam is currently dating former Girls Aloud star Cheryl

Niall Horan recently launched how own golf talent agency, although he was spotted in a recording studio earlier this month, sparking reports he too could be working on new music.

Louis Tomlinson, meanwhile, is now living in the US to be closer to his baby son Freddie, and has appeared as a guest judge on America's Got Talent.