Los Angeles - Niall Horan is set to announce a solo deal with Sony.
Simon Cowell - who guided Niall and his One Direction bandmates to fame after discovering them on the UK X Factor - showered praise on the 22-year-old singer and hinted that a big announcement is coming.
He told PEOPLE: "I think they're all gonna do great. Niall is the most loyal. We are expecting to announce something soon with him. I've always known he's loyal."
Singer John Newman also revealed that he has been working on new material with Niall. He said: "I was having a text back and forth with Niall Horan the other night about some ideas, which is cool."
Meanwhile, Simon admitted he was disappointed that Niall's bandmate Liam Payne chose to sign his own solo deal with Capitol UK, which is part of Universal, rather than Sony, where One Direction have been with imprint Syco for the past six years.
He said: "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."
Simon added that he "always knew" the group - which also comprises Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson - would want to try to forge careers outside of One Direction and he hoped "that everyone would do it with us, but one flew out of the nest".
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