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Liam James Payne (born 29 August 1993) is an English singer and songwriter. He rose to fame as a member of the boy band One Direction. Payne made his debut as a singer when he auditioned for the British television series The X Factor in 2008. After being eliminated as a solo performer, he auditioned again in 2010 and was put into a group with four other contestants to form One Direction. One Direction has released five commercially successful albums, performed on four worldwide tours, and won multiple awards.
Payne has worked with other producers under the monikers "Big Payno" and "Payno" creating remixes for songs by his band and singer Cheryl. In 2016, Payne signed a recording deal with Capitol Records as a solo artist. In May 2017, Payne released "Strip That Down", the lead single from his upcoming debut solo album.
Payne was born in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. He is the son of Karen, a nursery nurse, and Geoff Payne, a fitter. He has two older sisters, Nicola and Ruth. Payne was born three weeks early, getting sick frequently. Until the age of four, Payne had regular tests done in hospital as doctors noticed one of his kidneys was scarred and dysfunctional. To help cope with the pain, he had 32 injections in his arm in the morning and evening as a child. As a student, Payne was heavily involved in sports, particularly cross country running. Payne originally joined the Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club to pursue his running career. After failing to make the English National Team for the 2012 Olympic Games, he was placed on the reserve list.
As he was dealing with bullying from some older students in secondary school, he took up boxing lessons at the age of 12. Payne completed 11 GCSEs at St Peter's Collegiate School before moving on to study music technology at Wolverhampton College's Paget Road campus.
Payne was first introduced to the world of show business at age 12 as a member of the Pink Productions Theatre Company, even appearing as Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever. Payne had previously performed in front of a crowd of 26,000 during a Wolverhampton Wanderers football match.
Payne cites Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, and Usher as major musical influences. "The person who has inspired me most is Pharrell Williams who I worked with a while back. I got talking to his producer recently and asked him what Pharrell was like when he was younger, and he said to me that when he was my age he couldn't press a note on a keyboard. And that was amazing to me because at 22 I thought I was too old to learn guitar," revealed Payne.
The X Factor
Payne first auditioned for the fifth series of the British Singing Competition The X Factor in 2008, at just 14 years old. Payne moved past the first round after performing Frank Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon". He was subsequently cut at the Boot Camp stage, but Simon Cowell, who then changed his mind and asked Payne to return for the judges' houses stage. Payne was cut again during judges' houses, but was encouraged by Cowell to "come back in two years".
Payne returned to the show in 2010 for the seventh series. He auditioned with the Michael Bublé version of "Cry Me a River", which earned him four yeses and a standing ovation from Cowell. Payne was considered the second favourite to win the competition following his solo audition. "He failed to progress to the Boys category at judges' houses." Four others in his age group did as well, but after a suggestion by Nicole Scherzinger, a guest judge, they were put together to form a five-piece boy band at Wembley Arena, during the bootcamp stage of the competition, thus qualifying for the Groups category. Subsequently, the group got together for two weeks to get to know each other and to practice. For their qualifying song at Judges' houses, and their first song as a group, One Direction performed an acoustic version of "Torn". Simon Cowell later commented that the performance convinced him that the group "were confident, fun, like a gang of friends, and kind of fearless as well." The group quickly gained popularity in the UK, ultimately coming in third place on the show.
Following The X Factor, One Direction were signed to Simon Cowell's Syco Entertainment in 2010. One Direction released their first studio album, Up All Night, in 2011, followed by their second album, Take Me Home, in 2012. Their third album Midnight Memories was released in 2013, followed by their fourth album Four in 2014 and Made in the A.M. in 2015. One Direction became the only group in this 58-year history of the Billboard 200 albums chart to have their first five albums debut at number 1.
During the Take Me Home Tour, One Direction covered Wheatus's "Teenage Dirtbag". In the original song lead vocalist Brendan Brown performs a segment in a "female voice" which, in One Direction's rendition of the song Payne covered in falsetto. This garnered praise from Brown, who commented, "You can do my girl part anytime."
Following the departure of former member Zayn Malik, Liam has been tasked with taking over the bulk of Malik's vocals. Bandmate Harry Styles admitted, "Liam [Payne] stepped up to do the high notes. He kicks them in the bollocks every show. He doesn't hold back."
Payne is known as one of the principal writers in One Direction, credited for co-writing more than half of the songs on the band's third and fourth album.
Payne began working as a producer under the monikers "Big Payno" or "Payno", teaming up with fellow producers AfterHrs to remix several tracks including Cheryl Cole's "I Don't Care" in 2014. Some EDM websites noted Payne's remixes were venturing into future house. Payne is also credited with writing Cole's "I Won't Break", off her album Only Human.
In August 2014, Payne created and became director of Hampton Music Limited, a publishing company under which his solo projects will appear. Australian band 5 Seconds of Summer is signed to One Mode Productions Limited, on which Payne serves as one of the directors.
Payne began working on future projects collaborating with Juicy J on seven tracks with more in the works, DJ Mustard, and Miguel. He has also been in the studio with producer and performing artist Pharrell Williams. Payne also contacted The Collective member and YouTube musician and producer Will Singe.
Payne appeared on the cover of Attitude magazine after being awarded the Sexiest Man of the Year, marking the first and only solo cover and interview by a member of One Direction and furthering speculation of Payne's solo career.
In 2015, Payne collaborated with songwriter Jamie Scott on Irish band Hometown's single "The Night We Met". In early 2016, Payne featured on a track titled "You" by Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J. Payne denied that the track was a single, but it was confirmed to be a leak from an untitled mixtape, yet to be released.
On 22 July 2016 Payne revealed on Twitter that he had signed a recording contract with Capitol Records. His debut solo single "Strip That Down", featuring Quavo and co-written with Ed Sheeran and Steve Mac, was released on 19 May 2017. It was sent to US contemporary hit radio on 23 May 2017. Payne has confirmed the song "Bedroom Floor" and the collaboration with Zedd, "Get Low". Regarding his forthcoming debut album, Payne stated:
It's very eclectic. It's more like my playlist album; my favorite playlist of songs that I have made over the past year. So, some slow jams, there's a couple of dance songs on there, with some R&B stuff. So there's a lot -- it's a lot of different stuff.
Payne is an avid supporter of Unicef and teamed up with tennis star Andy Murray, Jack Whitehall and Clare Balding in support of Unicef UK's Children in Danger Summer Disease Appeal.
Payne teamed up with motorsport star Eddie Jordan in support of UK based chartiy CLIC Sargent.
Payne is an ambassador for the charitable organization Trekstock, whose aim is to "empower young adults to thrive through and beyond cancer". Payne's original campaign with the organization in 2013 raised $784,198. He raised an additional $211,237 during his campaign in 2015.
Payne has also been named an ambassador of Sustainable Development Goals also known as the Global Goals campaign.
Payne also began a Twitter campaign in the hopes of helping impoverished people across the globe by personally getting involved with charity work and inspiring his followers to do so as well.
Payne also gave a much needed push to a £6 million youth project "The Youth Zone" in his hometown of Wolverhampton.
As a member on One Direction, Payne has also supported Comic Relief, Office Depot's Anti-Bullying Campaign, and a new initiative titled Action 1D "to help better the future".
Payne saved his best friend Andy Samuels' life following an accidental fire in August 2013. Payne also came to the defence of a waitress when several members of the Tottenham Hotspur team acted inappropriately towards her in a club in London. He saved Calvin Harris from injury during an incident at Miley Cyrus' birthday party in 2013.
Payne is a friend of English recording artist Katie Waissel, whom he helped through her divorce. He is also a close friend of radio personality Scott Mills.
Payne was named Attitude Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year in 2015. Glamour included him on its lists for "Sexiest Men" in 2012 and 2013.
Payne has been credited by fast food giant Burger King as being the inspiration behind the return of the Chicken Fries menu item. Payne is also an avid fan of the Harry Potter series.
Payne began dating singer Cheryl in 2016. On 22 March 2017, Cheryl welcomed the couple's first child, a son.