Plus, a producer reveals One Direction’s break was strategically planned months ago.

Sony Wants To Sign Harry Styles Solo Deal

Harry Styles is a wanted man.

Now that cat’s out of the bag One Direction is taking an extended break next year after the release of their fifth studio album, reports of music execs eyeing the boys to pursue solo careers are rampant. The Sun, who broke the disbanding news, claim Sony wants to sign Harry Styles and are making negotiations their top priority via Simon Cowell’s Syco label.

Styles will undoubtedly compete with ex-One Directioner Zayn Malik, who left the band earlier this year and signed with RCA to pursue his solo career.

“Harry has always been One Direction’s most popular member and it’s obvious that we want to secure him — he’s a global superstar,” a source told the tabloid. Zayn will get to release an album first, as he left the band earlier, but the most excitement is about what Harry is going to do. Everyone wants to know what his solo material will sound like, there’s also a lot of pressure to get it right.”

On Monday (Aug. 24), Niall Horan confirmed the news the band’s taking a break, saying “We are not splitting up, but we will be taking a well earned break at some point next year.”

Producer Julian Bunetta, the producer/songwriter behind many of the group’s biggest hits (including “Drag Me Down,” “Steal My Girl” and “Story of My Life”), says it was the guys’ intention to take a break all along.

“There was a feeling of, ‘Well, we’re going to take a break, and anything in the world can happen during that time off,’” Bunetta told Billboard. “It’s the first time of there being some uncertainty, of not having things planned out beforehand, since they were 16 years old. There was definitely a vibe of making [the album] the best it can possibly be, and knowing it has to last as long as it needs to until we make another record — if we make another record.”

She adds their new record will address some of the recent happenings with the band, including Malik’s departure.

“There’s a song about losing someone that isn’t Zayn,” says Bunetta. “There’s also a song about the band being on shaky ground and not knowing what the future is. There are songs about love, there’s a song that is a little more sexually charged. It’s all over the map.”

“There was a lot of them not knowing if they were going to take a break or not, because that wasn’t decided just yesterday,” says Bunetta. “There was definitely some of that going on, [but] it wasn’t like every day was depressing in the studio. We were having so much fun when we were making this record — going out, having parties, really enjoying ourselves and not taking any day for granted that we got to spend with each other.

“When you’re faced with some uncertainty, you appreciate the moment more,” Bunetta continues. “The moment that you’re in becomes really special and sacred. It was definitely one of the most fun album-making processes I’ve had because of that.”