A few short months after the release of his debut solo album, Mind of Mine, Zayn sat down with the folks at Dazed to discuss what life has been like since coming out as a solo artist and the freedom he’s now found.
The interview begins by briefly touching on the insane reaction across social media after the announcement of his departure from boyband One Direction. Videos of fans sobbing during school and work quickly spread online. Zayn-centric hashtags trended on Twitter for hours, as fans mourned the loss of one fifth of One Direction. He comments on the overwhelming response to the news.
“Everybody was just crying. Yeah…Sorry about that.”
Sat in a recording booth at Jungle City Studios, the interviewer notes how Zayn isn’t the typical celebrity they’re used to dealing with. There’s no diva behavior here; his team consists of a small handful of people. Seeming incredibly grounded, the 23-year-old touches on how that’s possible amidst all the success he’s found.
“You’ve got to hold on to what you are and not let things get to your head, because if you do, that’s when everything comes crashing down terribly.”
One way that he accomplishes that is by “stick[ing] to [his] own bubble” both personally and professionally. It’s then that he launches into a quick anecdote on his run-in with Taylor Swift while at girlfriend Gigi Hadid’s house. Swift complimented him on the album, calling it “cool.” Not knowing how to take the compliment, he admits that his reaction was more of a bashful one, saying he hasn’t grown accustomed to fame quite yet and he’s keeping it that way.
“I’m staying the way that I am. I think that’s the best way to keep your sanity.”
The topic moves on to this year’s Met Gala, where Zayn showed up and impressed with his Versace suit with chrome-covered arms.
When asked where he draws inspiration from when it comes to his style, the late Prince is one name that comes up. The ‘Like I Would’ singer comments on Prince’s fearlessness when it came to fashion, and he tried to channel that fearlessness on the night of the Met Gala.
Growing up, Zayn reveals that his love for R&B and hip hop started at an early age. He often found himself in his father’s music collection, looking for new music. Zayn credits his father’s musical taste for the inspiration behind ‘Flower,’ a track off of Mind of Mine sung entirely in Urdu. The lyrics beautifully translate to
Until the flower of this love has blossomed / This heart won’t be at peace / Give me your heart / Give me your heart / Give me your heart
The topic of conversation returns to his decision to leave One Direction, and the motive behind it. Back in July (2015) when he signed with RCA, he tweeted his reasoning- to be able to show who he really is.
— zayn (@zaynmalik) July 29, 2015
Nearly a year later, his thoughts on the topic are very much the same.
“I just knew it was my time. I knew I wanted to do something different and start expressing the way I felt about certain things.”
He expresses his affection for his label, the respect they have for his music, and the direction he’s headed in, grateful for the creative freedom he’s found in them.
With one album out already, Zayn is busying himself with working on his second, rehearsing for some upcoming performances, and trying to hone his craft as a solo artist.
“I’m kind of itching a little bit. I want to work. I’ve learned over four or five years that it’s good to work because you’re earning, not spending.”
The interview closes with his thoughts on how musicians are often perceived. He explains that there is more to them than what people usually see. He goes on to tell of the importance of self-expression. Though that once wasn’t possible for him, he now says with a grin, “I’m free at last.”
You can read the entire interview here!
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