Former boy bander and member of One Direction (1D), Zayn Malik covered Billboard’s January 2016 issue. He sat down with Chris Martins for a very revealing interview on the singer’s life following his hasty exit from the hugely successful British boy band.
Malik was known as the “Bradford Bad Boy” after his hometown in Northern England in 1D. His departure from the band appears to have been pending for a few months. It began in November 2014 when the singer missed a 1D concert and scheduled interview. Four months later he cried onstage during a performance in Hong Kong and a few days later Malik left the tour due to “stress.” The following week he officially walked away from the band.
Upon leaving the 1D, Malik sought comfort and similar surroundings.
“I went home. I seen my mum, who cooked me some great food. I ate for three weeks because I’d lost so much weight in the band. I seen my sisters and put my dad’s sheepskin on — I walked around and everyone thought I was him. Nobody bothered me. It was good for my soul to be back in Bradford.”
It’s been eight months since Malik’s departure from 1D and his fans are growing anxious as they wait on new music from the British crooner.
“My fans are giving me shit every day,” he says. “Like, ‘Where the f— is your music? You’ve been at it for months. Give us something.’ ”
Fans will have to continue to wait, as the album isn’t due out until early spring through RCA. When describing Malik as an artist RCA chairman/CEO Peter Edge had this to say,
“It doesn’t feel like choreographed pop. When Zayn was in the band, he had all these songs he was writing, and plans to do his own music. It just feels like maybe he’s further along than the others.”
His manager Sarah Stennett described Malik as,“incredibly sensitive, but also very alpha.” Among his collaborators you’ll find James “Malay” Ho, who worked on the Grammy-winning Channel Orange by Frank Ocean. Malay describes their atypical creative process, which was unlike what Malik had become accustomed to.
“We went camping for a week in the Angeles Forest — set up a generator and a tent so we could track in the woods. It was the complete opposite of what he’d been doing. We had the gas grill, BB guns, bows and arrows. It was a shittin’-in-the-woods-type thing.”
Malik’s newfound freedom allows him to focus on doing things which spark and support creativity. His Bel Air and English homes are sanctuaries that act as outlets or facilitate his creative expression. When speaking on his new bungalow Malik divulged,
“I like to graffiti my house. The garden goes up three stories into the mountain. There are these walls that look white from one side, but when you walk up the stairs, the inside is all graffiti.”
While staying in his country home he says,
“I might write. I might paint. I might have a barbecue. I might chill in the tepee.”
Malik may be in a better place creating music he best relates to, but he did learn a thing or two from his time in 1D.
“Status. The capability to restrain certain things I would want to do. I also learned it’s good to keep friends. Because you don’t know when you’re going to make new ones, so you should probably just keep the old ones.”
Zayn Malik’s full interview is available in January’s issue of Billboard. Malik also discusses his upbringing, Muslim faith, the relationship with his former band mates, and what he looks for in a potential girlfriend. Get a behind the scenes look into the cover shoot below.
BTS Billboard Cover Shoot
By: Arlene Danna