Zayn Malik graces the cover of L’Uomo Vogue magazine and poses shirtless for an edgy photo spread. He talks about One Direction and his life after leaving the hugely popular boy band and also opens up about whether or not he’s in contact with his former band mates.

Zayn Malik

Photo: Zayn Malik
Credit: PR Photos

The former 1D member much in the news, having just celebrated his 23rd birthday, and now, causing a stir both with his candor and baring his torso in photos by famed photographer Ellen Von Unwerth. Yes, he continues raising eyebrows with his post-One Direction interviews. For months, he was cryptic in comments and that left much room for rampant speculation. He recently covered Billboard and had much to say, and, once again, in yet another cover story he’s speaking his mind.

Directioners were collectively shocked as he walked away from fellow band members Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson. He opened up to ‘Uomo Vogue and spoke of his life after 1D, saying, “Now that I can really be myself and make music that feels honest to me, it doesn’t feel like work. It really is relaxing to me.”

He went on to elaborate of his decision to go solo, saying, “When I decided to leave, it wasn’t a big build up, it had always been underlying. I never felt like I belonged in the group, I was just doing it because at the time, I felt like it was the right place for me to be”.

Yes, One Direction was a huge success. It’s not every band that can boast 50 million in record sales worldwide. Yes, Simon Cowell concocted the group quite literally on The X Factor, but the success ever since has been staggering. Five albums five years, and now, down to just four members, the band’s off on a planned hiatus.

Asked about this formulaic assembly of boy bands and the “bad boy” role he was assumed to be portraying, Malik said, “To be honest, I mentally and physically distanced myself from what I was doing creatively because I didn’t want any part of it really. It didn’t feel like I was really being me.”

But now in the aftermath, as he forges his own identity he is, of course, asked the question that the public seems to demand an answer for. What about his current relationship with his former bandmates? Zayn tells L’Uomo Vogue that the “the truth is I haven’t spoken to any of the boys at all really, I spoke to Liam a bit and that’s just the way it is.”

He went on to say, “I did try to reach out to a couple of people and they didn’t get back to me, but then publicly, when they were asked questions about it, said that they’d spoken to me and that we were friends. But that’s not the case, I tried to reach out and be their friend but they haven’t even replied to any of my calls or texts.”

He has, as fans know, signed as a solo artist to RCA Records and the curiosity over his new album is, to say the very least, gigantic. Asked about collaborators on the upcoming debut, he told the publication, “I just want this album to be about me and me standing on my own two feet. I’ve sung with four other voices for over four years now so I want to hear myself, alone for once.”

And with that, he echoes previous public comments, this is a solo artist now who’s eager to forge ahead. As such he’s continuing to spark intrigue and, of course, to beg the question, is this the beginning of a hugely successful solo career? For now, it’s all speculation, as not even a leaked track of this solo artist has yet emerged.

You can see the full interview here and Zayn Malik’s cover and photos below!

A photo posted by L'Uomo Vogue (@luomovogue) on

A photo posted by L'Uomo Vogue (@luomovogue) on

A photo posted by L'Uomo Vogue (@luomovogue) on

Pictures: PR Photos