Zayn Malik graces the cover of NME magazine and opens up about life after One Direction and his emerging solo music career and new album ‘Mind of Mine.’ With candor, he talks about his former bandmates, the constrains upon him as one fifth of a band that was such a teen idol sensation for five years and more.

Zayn Malik

Photo: Zayn Malik
Credit: PR Photos

There have been many tell-all interviews, and with each one, the 23-year-old Zayn Malik has dished up tantalizing details of his life with One Direction, why he left the band and what live has been like since leaving. After what was, to the Directioners a shocking decision to leave 1D, it’s been a year of a very public reemergence of the solo artist that got his start on The X Factor UK where he, along with four others was assembled into the most successful boy band of this century.

With the new album out, ‘Mind of Mine,’ a clear declaration and reasserting of his artistic identity, he tells NME of life in the global spotlight, “”You can be in the eye of it if you choose to be or you can let it overwhelm you.”

Continuing, he elaborated, “I’ve kept a bit of my sanity, I know how the media works. I think that’s why it came across as being mysterious or detached. I just didn’t want to get caught up in something that wasn’t real.”

As for leaving the band, when asked if he consciously chose to do so while the band was still at the height of commercial success, he said, “I’m not saying that. But if I did then f–k me, I’ve got a great brain.”

And of course, as we know, the future of One Direction is uncertain now that they are a few months into a hiatus that is said to last for 18 months.

Zayn Malik was also quite vocal about his ties, or lack thereof, with his former band mates. He said, “‘m still probably the closest to Liam.” He went on to explain, saying, “We talk on the phone. He congratulated me on my single, which was nice.”

He added, “I congratulated him on his Brit Award,” referring to the British Video Award which One Direction won for “Drag Me Down,” the video that was shot on location at NASA headquarters in Houston, and the first single they released after he had left.

Summing up, he said,“It was a good chat. We hadn’t met in a long time so we want to meet up.”

Zayn Malik echoed comments in a previous interview. Earlier this year, told L’Uomo Vogue that “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.”

But this time around, a few months later, he was more pointed, and told NME he had not seen any of the band members, saying, “I tried to have contact but nobody’s reached out. So… whatever.”

He also spoke about that fateful day last March that he officially left One Direction, and said, “I called my security and I was like, ‘I need to sort out a plane. I want to go home.’ I don’t know how I knew, but I just did. So I chatted with my cousin. Listened to a few songs. Just waited for my plane to come.”

Now a year later, of course, the rest, as we say, is history, as Zayn Malik becomes yet another former boy band member to launch a solo career. The curiosity over his story is at an all-tine high as the album arrives in full. It’s no small feat, after all, that his debut solo single, ‘Pillow Talk’ — steamy and sensuous far beyond teen-idol standards — has become an international smash hit, topping the charts in nearly 70 countries, including both the U.S and the UK.

He said of the album’s title, “It’s really reflective of the whole experience that I want to give the listener.” Elaborating, he added, “I wanted it to be almost like a brainstorm. It’s just music and it’s just whatever you’re feeling at that moment in time.”

You can see the full interview here and as with the quotes above, he delivers much candor on other topics including his upbringing and how it has influenced his music and his original ambition to be a solo artist. You can see Zayn Malik’s cover and photos and behind-the-scenes video below!

A photo posted by NME (@nmemagazine) on

A photo posted by NME (@nmemagazine) on

Pictures: PR Photos