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Liam Payne during the opening Concert of DSF at Burj Park. Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Liam Payne was one of five boys who broke millions of hearts around the world when One Direction called it quits in 2016.

The hiatus gave time and space for each of the 1D boys (Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson and Payne) to forge their own paths in their respective careers in music, film and whatever life threw at them. For Payne, the independence earned him a lucrative recording deal with Republic Records, which was followed up with a string of hit singles.

It would take Payne another year before he released his debut album 'LP1', which released on Decemer 6 and drew mixed reviews from critics. Fans in the UAE were one of the first to get a glimpse of him performing tracks from his new album during the December 27 Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) concert at Burj Park, where he performed live with British songstress, Jorja Smith.

As his holiday in the city continues, Payne takes time out of playing tourist to give a sneak peek into his Dubai diary, including where he will party on New Year’s Eve, what he plans on buying for his two-year-old son Bear from Dubai, and yes, even whether a One Direction reunion is in the works.

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Liam Payne during the opening Concert of DSF at Burj Park. Dubai. Photo: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

You and Jorja Smith shared great chemistry at the DSF opening concert at Burj Park. This isn’t a first meeting we take it?

Jorja and I know each other from Wolverhampton. We haven’t played together before; she’s an amazing performer and her band is incredible, so it made me a little nervous!

Considering you are here for DSF, are you planning to take time out to hit the mall and what’s your absolute favourite thing to shop here?

I always hit the Hugo store first thing; it’s interesting to see the different collections in each region and it’s great to get feedback from the area. After that, I am an avid shopper for glasses and trainers. I don’t know why, but it seems that I never have the right amount. My mum asked me how many pairs of trainers I need — I told her two more pairs than I already have.

Are there plans to play tourist in Dubai as well, ride a camel or head out on a desert safari?

I have a full itinerary while I am here. I am going to La Perle for sure. We have a desert safari booked and will be partying with Jonas Blue at Zero Gravity for New Year’s Eve. [I] would love to see the fireworks too.

Getting back to your music, your new album ‘LP1’ dropped earlier this month. What was the inspiration for this album and if you had to choose a favourite track, which one would it be?

The album was made over a long period so there are many moments of my life from that time. My current favourite is ‘Live Forever’.

How happy are you with the album’s progression and the response from fans?

I’m extremely happy we hit 2.5 million album sales globally really quickly, so it is something I dreamt of as a young man and I am happy that the dream came true.

You have hinted in the past that a One Direction reunion should happen. In fact, you even made it a point to congratulate Harry when his album topped the UK charts this month. What would you say to One Direction fans who are holding out for a reunion someday?

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We have been talking a lot more recently and I can’t imagine we wouldn’t finish the story where we did. However, the guys are doing so well individually and they are experiencing new things like film and TV, so it will probably be a little while if it ever happens.

So, what are the plans for NYE? Would it be spent in Dubai or at home with Bear?

My friend Jonas Blue is playing in Dubai and we are going to go celebrate with him. I had a lovely Christmas with Bear and I will be taking him back some trainers from Dubai.

What is a New Year’s resolution for 2020?

My New Year’s resolution is to try and not make any more funny remarks. Every time I say something in tongue in cheek, it usually ends up getting me in trouble.