The Zayn Malik solo era is firing up ... he's officially signed on with RCA Records, with a little help from Simon Cowell.
Our sources say Cowell was the go-between for Zayn and RCA. He's been negotiating the deal for a couple of weeks.
It's interesting ... One Direction and Malik are on competing labels. The group is signed to Columbia and Syco.
We're told Cowell -- who created One Direction -- felt RCA was the best place for Malik to succeed as a solo artist.
Malik left the band back in March.
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