Simon Cowell is proud of his One Direction singing stars. And although he understands their desire to go solo, Cowell confessed to People that he wishes his guys would stay within what he describes as the family.
The multi-tasking music mogul played a key role in taking the individual One Direction singers and molding a band that made it to superstardom. But now that the One Direction lads have achieved that status, Simon wants them to remain close.
“I think they’re all gonna do great,” declared Cowell. “I worked with these guys for six years, so I always hoped they would all stay within what I call the Sony family, but I think only one won’t.”
Playing the “where are they now and where are they going” game, Simon also revealed who he views as the most loyal to the “family.” The issue of loyalty arose after Payne inked a solo deal with Universal Music. In contrast, One Direction as a band has a pact with Cowell’s Sony-owned Syco Music.
The king of music singled out Horan for mention, noting that he could sign a solo deal as well in the near future.
“Niall is the most loyal,” praised Simon. “We are expecting to announce something soon with him. I’ve always known he’s loyal.”
“[I hoped] that everyone would do it with us, but one flew out of the nest.”
With regard to the revelation that the band had decided to go on a hiatus last year, Simon has a confession. He recognized that his One Direction boys had been “100 percent” overworked after their soaring success following their discovery on The X Factor in 2010.
“Even though they were young, that was a grueling schedule, and after a while I could see they were exhausted,” noted Cowell. “Having a year off is going to be a healthy thing.”
And Horan, in particular, may have a “healthy” new direction. His chance at a solo singing career could get a boost from John Newman, who shared that he is considering some of his newest creations for Niall.
“I was having a text back and forth with Niall Horan the other night about some ideas, which is cool,” revealed Newman.
As for all those coy comments from Cowell about one singer flying “out of the nest,” Simon finally became candid with ET in discussing his shock over the news that Liam Payne had chosen not to ink a deal with Cowell’s company, Syco Music.
Instead, Liam chose to sign his solo record deal with Capitol Records UK. Simon described himself as “surprised” that the singer he had guided had inked a deal with a different label.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” admitted Cowell. But you know, that happens.”
Simon also seemed to throw shade at some of his singers in naming which One Direction stars he viewed as loyal.
“The great thing about these boys – well, not all of them, but most of them – they are incredibly loyal and you don’t always expect that. Niall, Harry, Louis. [It’s] amazing.”
In addition to eliminating Payne from his loyalty roll call, Cowell also skipped any mention of Zayn Malik. That singer exited One Direction in March 2015, inking a solo contract with RCA last year. He released his first solo album, Mind of Mine, in March.
[Photo by Jon Furniss Photography/Invision/AP Images]