(Image: Instagram/sxxxxxx, Getty)

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Liam Payne has teamed up with his old school friend to release his first single in over a year.

The former One Direction singer, 27, has worked with his old college pal, music producer S-X, who said the new track is a "smash".

S-X, whose real name is Sam Andrew Gumbley, told the Daily Star: "Liam is a good friend of mine and we've got stuff coming soon.

"I don't want to say too much as you know how those One Direction fans get – when I mention him I can't even open my Twitter. But we've got a song coming and it's a smash.

Liam Payne has teamed with his old school friend to release his first single in over a year
(Image: Getty Images)

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"It's sooner than you think and that's all I can say."

Liam's hotly-anticipated return to music comes after he opened up about his battle with depression and addiction during his time in the band.

S-X said Liam is as genuine as they come, and no one could understand what he has been through.

He continued: "We're both from Wolverhampton and I was in college with him at the same time, and going from that to global stardom at 17 is not normal for any person.

The former One Direction singer has worked with his old college pal, music producer S-X
(Image: Instagram/sxxxxxx)

"To have toured the world, done stadium tours and everything, he is one of the most famous people in the world. So he will go through scrutiny from the media and whatever, but I can tell you he is one of the nicest people, one of the most genuine people I've ever met.

"He's a real good friend of mine."

One Direction, which Liam was part of alongside Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan and Zayn Malik, were one of the biggest bands in the world.

S-X said the song is a 'smash'
(Image: liampayne/Instagram)

S-X said Liam is as genuine as they come
(Image: Instagram/sxxxxxx)

Constant touring took its toll, with Zayn quitting in 2015 before the band went on an indefinite hiatus the following year.

In a recent interview, Liam admitted he had battle depression and addiction while in the band.

When asked if he had "moments of suicidal ideation" Liam replied: "Yeah. There is definitely some stuff I have never spoken about to do with it. It was really, really severe.

"There were a few pictures of me on a boat and I was all bloated out and I call it my pills-and-booze face.

One Direction went on an indefinite hiatus in 2016
(Image: Getty Images)

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"My face was 10 times bigger than it is now. The problem was, the best way to secure us was to lock us in our rooms, and what is in the room? A mini-bar.

"So I had a party-for-one that seemed to carry on for years. It was wild but the only way you could get frustration out."

*If you're struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit their site to find your local branch