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One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson Signs With Epic Records (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 7/14/2017 Shirley Halperin
© Provided by Variety

Call it fifth and final: One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson has landed at Epic Records, joining a roster that includes DJ Khaled, Fifth Harmony, and French Montana. The singer’s deal comes via Simon Cowell’s Syco Records, which, like Epic, falls under the Sony Music umbrella.

Fellow 1D members Harry Styles and Zayn Malik are also signed to Sony — Columbia Records and RCA Records, respectively — while Niall Horan and Liam Payne are Universal Music Group artists (Capitol and Republic, respectively). It had previously been reported that Tomlinson would end up at RCA, but 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.

Now, Rhone tells Variety, “We are beyond delighted to have Louis Tomlinson as an artist,” adding that his new music “is the perfect bridge from his past to his future, and we are just as excited as the fans to experience his journey and growth.”

“Back To You” is slated for release on July 21.

One Direction is the rare boy band to have launched successful solo careers for its individual members. Styles, who stars in the Christopher Nolan film “Dunkirk,” hitting theaters July 20, released a critically acclaimed debut in May; Horan saw his understated “My Town” reach No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January, and now has “Slow Hands” climbing; Liam Payne’s “Strip That Down” is No. 23 on the Buzz Angle Top Songs chart; and Malik reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 in Feb. 2016 with “Pillowtalk,” and his collaboration with Taylor Swift, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” peaked at No. 10 in March.

Epic has also seen an impressive string of radio hits in recent weeks, with Khaled currently occupying two spots in the Top 5 — “I’m the One,” (feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, & Lil Wayne), and “Wild Thoughts” featuring Rihanna and Bryson Tiller — and French Montana exploding with “Unforgettable” (feat. Swae Lee).

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