zayn wouldn't play one direction music on a date
The newly solo singer talks about his influences, Islam, his hometown and his separation from One Direction.
Bleach blond Zayn Malik -- the one-time boyband heartthrob from One Direction -- has since gone solo. He's now fronting the new issue of The Fader, and revealed some interesting insight into his new direction in a revealing interview -- his first major talk since quitting the band. The full story is well worth the read, but here are five slices of the real Zayn.
"The whole vibe of Bradford is influential…It's not the most funded place, in terms of the government, but there's a lot of character there. There's a lot of strong family values. Everybody's very proud, and everybody's stuck in their ways. That rubbed off on me a little bit and made me a stubborn person, and made me very aware of who I was. If you weren't aware of that in Bradford, you kind of got left behind."
You've got his mom to thank for his fame
"People laugh at me because it sounds so childish now, but genuinely, at the time, I was a lazy teen. If I was in control of me going to audition for X Factor, I would have never gone because I would have never got up on the day of the audition at four in the morning. The reason I woke up is because my mom came in the room and was like, 'You have to go audition for this show.' I felt like I had to do it because I owed it to her."
And his dad to thank for his musical influences
"My main influences in music came from my dad… It was a lot of R&B, a lot of R. Kelly, a lot of Usher, a lot of Donell Jones, a lot of Prince. He used to play a lot of rap as well, 2Pac and Biggie. A lot of bop, a lot of reggae, Gregory Isaac and weird artists like Yellowman."
He's not a Muslim role model
"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…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."
There are no intra-1D love affairs
"There's no secret relationships going on with any of the band members…It's not funny, and it still continues to be quite hard for them. They won't naturally go put their arm around each other because they're conscious of this thing that's going on, which is not even true. They won't do that natural behavior."
And he pretty much hated his 1D tracks
"I just wasn't convinced with what we were selling. I wasn't 100 percent behind the music. It wasn't me. It was music that was already given to us, and we were told this is what is going to sell to these people. As much as we were the biggest, most famous boy band in the world, it felt weird. We were told to be happy about something that we weren't happy about…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 don't think that's an offensive statement to make. That's just not who I am. If I was sat at a dinner date with a girl, I would play some cool shit, you know what I mean? I want to make music that I think is cool shit. I don't think that's too much to ask for."
And so we await new Zayn material...