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Zquad take note! Zayn is on the April/May cover of Complex looking as fine as ever. With his first single Pillowtalk debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in February, topping the charts in 68 countries, this bad boy is ready to begin his solo career. The former One Direction member talked to the magazine about his upcoming album Mind Of Mine, his tattoos, and his relationship with model Gigi Hadid.
Here are 10 things we learned from the interview.
1. Zayn is STILL releasing tracks off the album
This singer isn’t slowing down with releasing songs off his upcoming album, and Complex posted a snippet of Mind Of Mine, accompanied by a behind-the-scenes video from the shoot.
Preview a brand new song by @ZaynMalik
— Complex (@ComplexMag) March 21, 2016
2. He felt silenced in One Direction
Hearing why Zayn left the boy band never gets old, as the singer gets more and more candid each interview he does. Zayn was known in the boy band as the mysterious one, and told the magazine it was simply because he wasn’t given the chance to speak. “The other boys’ personalities were much more forward. They would answer the questions. I would let that happen because, like I said, I didn’t have any creative input there. I didn’t feel like I was going to say anything about it anyway.”
3. He really wanted to grow his beard
Zayn spoke out about how being part of a boy band meant individuality was something that they often had to hide in order to appear united. The singer rebelled against his management at the time and kept his beard anyway, but now being a solo artist he can do his own thing. “That’s one of the things that is now quite cool. I get to keep my beard. I also wanted to dye my hair when I was in the band, but I wasn’t allowed to,” Zayn told the magazine.
4. He’s a fan of Kanye West
When asked about whether being real or successful was more important to him, Zayn said real and noted that success follows authenticity. He praised Yeezus for being a truly authentic person. “That’s why Kanye is so successful. He’s speaking the truth, regardless of whomever he offends, he isn’t bothered. That’s admirable.”
5. He and Gigi Hadid were just being themselves in the Pillowtalk video
Zayn admitted that he’s still trying to keep his relationship with high-fashion model Gigi Hadid on the down-low, but realizes he’s part of the public eye and things will get out. That’s part of the reason he included her in his steamy music video for Pillowtalk, where the two of them were hardly acting. “To be honest, the reason it was used was because we were just messing around. It wasn’t even, like, part of the shoot. You know when they say, “action”? They didn’t do that. It was just rolling,” Zayn said.
6. He’s totally fine with people having sex to his album
With some super suggestive, slow R&B-style songs on the album, it may not be a surprise to most that it could be used as the soundtrack to some people’s sex lives. Complex asked the singer if he wants people to have sex to his album: “Well, if that’s something that they would choose to do, then yeah,” he answered. “It’s a very sexual album.”
7. He’s a big fan of Tupac
When asked what album has had the most impact on him, Zayn talked about Tupac’s All Eyez On Me and how he admired the artist’s honesty. “The songs are so real, and from a perspective of a place where somebody is not afraid to be completely 100 percent honest,” he said. “He’s the first rapper to talk about the fact that his mom was a crack addict. For me, that’s courageous as f–k…For me to listen to that album as I grew up, it really helped me to understand that it’s OK to be honest with your art, because people appreciate that.”
8. He really hates TV interviews
Zayn revealed that he honestly feels as though he’s a pretty crappy celebrity, and isn’t a fan of public speaking. “When it comes to TV, that’s the worst. I hate the whole setup. When it’s interviews like this, I don’t mind. I’m just talking to a normal person. It’s when you are fully glammed up and you’re sitting with a hundred lights in your face and someone is asking you questions in front of a crowd of people—that’s when it becomes a bit strange for me. I’m not a public speaker. I’m a singer.”
9. His tattoos are hidden for a reason
Zayn revealed he likes to keep his tattoos to himself and purposely hides them so no one can comment. “I’ve got a couple of Arabic writing tattoos and nobody knows what they mean,” the singer said. “Obviously some people can read Arabic, but the tattoos are in places that people won’t necessarily see.”
10. He wants to go back to school
Even though for a lot of us we may be counting down the days until we’re no longer in an educational institution, Zayn is excited to go back. “I want to go to school. I’d love to get a degree in English, or literature.” But the singer admitted he wants to do it all from home. “I’ll get my courses from one of the universities around here and just do home study. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do.”
Mind of Mine is set to be released this Friday.