Niall Horan has risked incurring the wrath of Simon Cowell by quitting the music mogul’s record label Syco, the imprint to which his former group One Direction are signed, for a new deal on Capitol Records.

It’s a bold move for Horan, parting ways with the person who discovered him on ‘The X Factor’ all those years ago, but it’s one that other members of the group have already done in pursuit of their own solo careers over the last year or so.

Niall HoranNiall Horan has quit Syco

“I hope not, please don’t hate me,” the 23 year old Irish-born singer told The Sun on Wednesday (May 3rd), when asked if he thought his move meant that he and Cowell would now be on bad terms. “We were very close to Simon for years and had a lot of success together. I just felt like I wanted and needed a fresh start.”

Syco still represents One Direction after they signed with the label having been discovered on the 2010 edition of ‘The X Factor’, on which they finished in third place.

Theoretically, the group will have to work with Cowell in the future, as they are still contracted to make more new music for the label at some point, whenever they decide to reunite.

More: Niall Horan says One Direction will “definitely” reform one day

“It’s a long time to be at a label I wanted to broaden my horizons and try something new,” Horan said by way of explaining his decision to walk away. However, he assured fans that One Direction will stay with Syco. “We both know that and when One Direction come back we’ll still have albums left to do.”

Meanwhile, Horan is set to do battle in the charts with his 1D colleague Harry Styles. The Irish star is set to release his new solo single ‘Slow Hands’ on Friday, the same day as Styles unleashes ‘Sweet Creature’, the latest cut from his self-titled solo album that follows a week later on May 12th.

Speaking about that much-vaunted reunion, after 1D went on hiatus at the end of 2015, Horan said that it would definitely happen, but that because of everybody’s various solo careers / babies, he wouldn’t put a timeframe on it.

“You know I’m going to probably end up touring this, Harry will probably end up doing the same, probably Liam probably Louis, that’s a year – time adds up,” he said.

More: Watch Zayn Malik and Niall Horan share an awkward handshake at the AMAs