10 Things We Learned From Zayn Malik’s FADER Feature


Only days after his ex-bandmates dropped their latest album without him, FADER magazine released their December issue with Zayn Malik’s first interview after leaving One Direction.

The FADER teased the interview yesterday afternoon before releasing the full story at 6p.m. The video they posted also included a few seconds of Zayn’s upcoming single Befour.

In addition to setting the record straight on some of the most troubling rumors, (Larry is not real and no, he did not dump his ex-fiancee Perrie Edwards via text) the FADER feature gives us our first look at Zayn post-One Direction. To date, it’s his most candid, raw and uncensored version of himself that he’s shared with the public. Here’s 10 things we learned about everyone’s favourite Bradford Bad Boy.

He wouldn’t have auditioned for The X-Factor if it weren’t for his mom.
“The reason I woke up is because my mom came in the room and was like, ‘You have to go audition for this show’,” he said. “I felt like I had to do it because I owed it to her.”


He’s proud that he’s become a figure other Muslims can relate to
FADER’s article talks a lot about how his religion plays into his fame. It cites a Noisey essay that points out how Zayn’s exposure in the media makes people within the community discuss what it means to be Muslim in a new way.

He said,

I’m just a normal person as well as following my religion, and doing all the normal things that everybody else does. I love music and I get tattoos and I make mistakes, and I’ve had to go through relationships and break up relationships. I feel proud that people actually look to me and can see themselves in that,” he said. “I don’t feel like I felt pressure ever. I always felt good that I was, like, first of my kind in what I was doing. I enjoyed that I brought the diversity. But I would never be trying to influence anything or try to stamp myself as a religious statement or portrayal of anything. I am me. I’m just doing me.


A lot of times he felt he was just playing the role of the mysterious band member in 1D
“I’m actually quite easy, a happy-go-lucky sort of guy,” he said. “but there was a lot of situations that were almost created to make me be portrayed as the mysterious or quiet one.”


He never felt creative freedom while in the band
“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band,” he said. “If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as f—k, so they could use that version.”


When he decided to leave the band, he just woke up one day and decided to go home
“I guess I just wanted to go home from the beginning,” he said. “I was always thinking it. I just didn’t know when I was going to do it. Then by the time I decided to go, it just felt right on that day. I woke up on that morning, if I’m being completely honest with you, and was like, ‘I need to go home. I just need to be me now, because I’ve had enough.’”


Some of Zayn’s new album was recorded in the woods
The recording rig he and his team used was mobile so they’ve been able lay down tracks in The Beverly Hills Hotel, in his house, and even while camping: “That’s where Zayn got into archery, shooting at trees in the downtime while their generator regained electricity, and it’s where they laid down some of their favorite vocal tracks, backed by the soft hum of the forthcoming solo debut. The album is slated for release in early 2016.


He doesn’t care about making money anymore
Leaving the band made him realize he didn’t want be all about the money: “It wasn’t about the amount of ticket sales that I get. It was more about the people that I reach,” he said. “I want to reach them in the right way, and I want them to believe what I’m saying. I’ve done enough in terms of financial backing for me to live comfortably. I just want to make music now.”


He would never listen to One Direction
“That’s not music that I would listen to. Would you listen to One Direction, sat at a party with your girl? I wouldn’t,” he told FADER. “As much as I was in that band, and I loved everything that we did, that’s not music that I would listen to. I want to make music that I think is cool shit. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.”


He might be collaborating with Liam Payne in the future.
Liam is the only One Direction member he’s been in touch with: “I spoke to Liam about two weeks ago,” Zayn said. “[Liam] said that he didn’t understand it at the time, but he now fully gets why I had to do what I did. He understands that it’s my thing, that I had to do that, and that basically he wants to meet up and sit down and have a good chat in person, and he wants to do some music and work on some stuff aside from being in the band.” #ZIAM is real.


You can expect a lot of different genres on his upcoming album

“[The songs] don’t really fit a specific type of music. They’re not like, ‘This is funk, this is soul, this is upbeat, this is a dance tune.’ Nothing is like that. I don’t really know what my style is yet. I’m kind of just showing what my influences are,” he said.


You can read the full article here.