One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has signed with Arista, sources tell Variety. While the singer was formerly linked with Epic Records in 2017, he is signed directly to Simon Cowell’s Syco label and will move within the Sony Music family to Arista. Tomlinson teased a new single on Feb. 2, posting on Twitter, “Just heard the master of the single. So excited for you all to hear it!”
Arista Records, founded by Clive Davis in 1974, was relaunched last year as part of Sony’s joint venture with former Island Records chief David Massey, who is CEO of the label as well as his own Work of Art publishing and management operation. Considering Massey’s track record with young artists, particularly former teen stars — he’s enjoyed success over the years with Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers as a group and as solo acts — he may have been considered a good fit for Tomlinson.
Arista is actually the third label in the Sony system where Tomlinson has landed: While he was initially assigned to RCA, when Epic Records president Sylvia Rhone heard Tomlinson’s music — in particular the song “Back To You” featuring Bebe Rexha — she campaigned for the project and succeeded in landing it at her label. However, the song only reached No. 40 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, although it was a Top 10 hit in his native U.K. He also teamed up with Steve Aoki for the 2017 single, “Just Hold On” and released two other solo tracks, “Just Like You” and “Miss You,” and appeared as a judge on the “X Factor” last fall.
He has been at work on his debut solo album for nearly three years; One Direction announced they were going on hiatus in 2015. In April of last year, he tweeted, “Can’t wait for the day to finally release this album. It’s all I’ve been working towards over the last two years.”
Tomlinson was the last of the five One Direction members to sign a solo deal and the third to land at Sony, joining Harry Styles and Zayn Malik (the former is with Columbia Records, the latter with RCA) while Niall Horan and Liam Payne are Universal Music Group artists (Capitol and Republic, respectively).