Liam Payne's rush-released new EP looks set to flop as it fails to make an impression on the U.K. charts.
The One Direction star was due to release his debut album next month (Sep18), but delayed the record after his split from British popstar Cheryl and put out an EP featuring four new tracks last Friday (24Aug18) instead.
His new collection is not eligible for the U.K. albums chart and its title track, a duet with French Montana called First Time, and the other three songs didn’t make it into the midweek Top 40, compiled by the Official Charts Company - a situation that has reportedly worried executives at his label Republic Records.
"When Liam released his first solo single, Strip That Down, last summer it had a great reaction and peaked at number three," a source told The Sun. "But fast forward 12 months and people have lost interest. Fans complained the music on his EP was too auto-tuned and it just hasn't been enough to get people excited."
According to the insider, First Time's lack of early success has sparked fears his album won't match the success of his old bandmates Harry Styles and Zayn Malik's debut efforts - both of which topped the U.K. albums chart.
"Bosses are still hoping First Time will rise up the charts in the next few weeks, but it's not a good start and has made them uncertain as to which direction to go down with the album," The Sun's source added.
Liam, who turned 25 on Wednesday, announced the EP with a statement explaining that he wanted to make changes to his album due to his split from Cheryl, the mother of his 17-month-old son Bear.
"The last few months have seen some big changes for me," he wrote. "I'm determined for my debut album to truly represent me. In the meantime, this EP is a collection of songs I'm really proud of and want you all to hear."
The musician will find out if his blushes have been spared by a late sales surge when the U.K. chart is announced on Friday (31Aug18) evening.