Niall Horan latest in One Direction to go solo

Niall Horan in a photo from his Facebook page.
Niall Horan in a photo from his Facebook page.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

NEW YORK (AFP) - One Direction's Niall Horan released a first solo single on Thursday (Sept 29), becoming the latest member of the boy band to pursue music since the group went on hiatus.

The 23-year-old Irish singer announced that he had signed a contract with Capitol Records and released a first song, This Town.

Driven by acoustic guitar, This Town is a light ballad about heartbreak in which Horan wishes for another chance with a partner.

Horan, who did not give a timetable for further releases, also put out a video for This Town in which he performs at Capitol's studio in Hollywood.

One Direction achieved global fame, with screaming pubescent girls packing their concerts, after the then teenagers appeared in 2010 on the British television contest The X Factor.

The band announced a hiatus at the end of last year, with the proliferation of solo projects raising fears among fans of a permanent rupture.

Zayn Malik, who left the band in March last year, has had the most prominent solo career.

He released an album, Mind Of Mine, full of racy R&B that would have been unthinkable for squeaky-clean One Direction.

Liam Payne in July revealed that he is also working on a solo album and, like Horan, signed to Capitol Records - not One Direction's Columbia Records.

Among the other two members, Harry Styles has reportedly reached a record deal with Columbia.

Louis Tomlinson, who recently became a father, has been quiet on the solo front but is working with The X Factor judge Simon Cowell on putting together an all-girl pop band.