Between the birth of his son and the launch of his solo career, the former One Direction star has had a busy year — and it’s not slowing down any time soon. Payne, 24, will hit the road for the annual iHeartRadio Jingle Ball this winter, when he’ll join A-list acts on tour, from Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato to Ed Sheeran, who cowrote his breakout single “Strip That Down.”
In addition to spending time with Sheeran, Payne tells PEOPLE he’s looking forward to hanging out with another fellow Brit: Sam Smith.
“I’m really happy Sam will be there. I love Sam. He’s the best,” Payne — who welcomed a son, Bear, with girlfriend Cheryl Cole in March — told PEOPLE Tuesday at a Jingle Ball launch event at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City. “And I know that we’re gonna have a good night out afterwards.”
Payne and the “Too Good at Goodbyes” singer, 25, recently bonded when the One Direction alum offered a taste of his new tunes.
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“It was very sophisticated, let’s put it that way. And yeah, it was a late [night]. It was good though,” Payne says. “We had a really rubbish Bluetooth speaker, and I was showing him some of my songs. His friends were doing really inappropriate dance moves to them, so I’m happy that I can create that kind of vibe.”
And Smith isn’t the only singer in Payne’s circle who is appearing at the event: former band-mate Niall Horan is also slated to perform on tour. Some have speculated whether friendships between One Direction members remain strong as they pursue solo careers, but Payne is proud of his 1D comrades.
“I think that it’s all happening for the best,” says Payne. “Everyone is really enjoying their success at the moment. I’m super proud of them all for doing their own thing and doing it in their own way.”
Elvis Duran, New York City’s Z100 morning show personality and the original Jingle Ball pioneer, tells PEOPLE that one of his favorite parts of the event is witnessing friendships between artists.
Duran says there is party onstage — as well as behind the scenes.
“You have a lot of these artists that are friends who are seeing each other for the first time because they’ve been so busy being on the road and doing their albums,” Duran told PEOPLE at the launch for the tour, which will be presented by Capital One. “And to see them just hugging each other and taking pictures with each other — it’s really the only concert that I enjoy being backstage because it’s festive!”
In addition to the aforementioned artists, the star-studded 2017 iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour roster includes: the Chainsmokers, Charlie Puth, Kesha, Camila Cabello, Julia Michaels, Why Don’t We, Logic, Halsey, Fifth Harmony, Fall Out Boy, Zedd and Nick Jonas.