Liam Payne is back in the game.
After One Direction's Niall Horan and Harry Styles released solo projects, Payne dropped his debut single, "Strip That Down," overnight. The 23-year-old singer teamed up with Migos' Quavo for the song, which he co-wrote with Steve Mac and Ed Sheeran. Payne is the second One Direction member to pursue the hip-hop/R&B genre, after former bandmate Zayn Malik.
Payne actually references his boy band past in the pre-chorus, singing, "You know, I used to be in 1D (now I'm out, free) / People want me for one thing (that's not me) / I'm not changing, the way that I (used to be) / I just wanna have fun (and get rowdy)." In the chorus, the British pop star trades lines with Quavo, singing, "You know I love it when the music's loud / But c'mon, strip that down for me, baby / Now there's a lot of people in the crowd / But only you can dance with me / So put your hands on my body / And swing that round for me / You know, I love it when the music's loud / But c'mon, strip that down for me (yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)."
Payne's girlfriend, Cheryl Cole, is a big fan of the song:
"Getting to write with people like Ed is one of the most amazing things a person can do," he gushed on BBC Radio 2's The Chris Evans Breakfast Show Friday. "I'm humbled that Ed even took a second of his time," Payne added, "let alone spending hours with him to write the song."
"I've been working hard in the studio for over a year and I'm really excited to share this new music with my amazing fans. I've come a long way since our One Direction debut and I hope everyone likes my new sound as much as I do," Payne told E! News in a statement Friday. "2017 has been a big year for me already and I'm looking forward to what the rest of it will bring."