Liam Payne's highly-anticipated debut single,"Strip That Down," is here — and it's co-written by Ed Sheeran

By Dave Quinn
May 19, 2017 12:30 PM

Liam Payne‘s highly anticipated debut single is here!

The 23-year-old singer and new dad has become the fifth and final member of One Direction to launch a solo career — and he’s chosen a sound far different than Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Niall Horan or Louis Tomlinson.

The track, titled “Strip That Down” and co-written by Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac, takes on a hip-hop inspired pop sound.

It features Quavo of hip-hop group Migos — who have become the go-to rappers for pop collaborations, following their appearances on Calvin Harris‘ “Slide” and Katy Perry‘s “Bon Appétit.”

Credit: Courtesy Republic Records

Payne — whose debut album is expected soon — said in a statement that he was looking forward to fans hearing his new sound.

“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,” he said. “I’ve come a long way since our One Direction debut and I hope everyone likes my new sound as much as I do. 2017 has been a big year for me already and I’m looking forward to what the rest of it will bring.”

He doesn’t appear to be missing his One Direction bandmates, singing: “You know I used to be on 1-D / 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 want to have fun and / get rowdy.”

He explained the lyrics to Elvin Duran on Friday morning, saying, “The best part of it for me [is] just getting to go out and explore. That’s when I said the line in the song, ‘1D now I’m out free,’ just means free to musically go about. I’ve always been into writing. I wrote a lot of stuff for us 1D boys and I did writing for some artists as well. It’s been nice now that we can all go out on our own musical journeys and enjoy ourselves.”

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Previously, Payne told Sirius XM Hits 1 how the collaboration with Sheeran came to be.

“I was in L.A. at my house, and I got a call like ‘Ed Sheeran’s in the studio and he’s writing this song — it’s about you and it’s for you so come down and have a listen,’ ” Payne said. “Within 30 minutes, we finished it off. When you get to collaborate with people like Ed Sheeran, it’s great.”

As he told Duran, “Ed’s the one on the track that does the ‘Strip that down!’ That’s actually Ed’s voice!”

Listen to “Strip That Down” here or in the lyric video above.