Being part of a pop band like One Direction was never part of Zayn Malik’s plan, but when the chance to join Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson arose, Malik felt like he had to take advantage of the opportunity.
That doesn’t mean Zayn was always wild about the idea. From the start, Zayn Malik had planned on finding his success as a solo artist, but the outcome of The X Factor in 2010 changed all that. When he had the chance to pair up with the other guys to form One Direction, Zayn decided to go for it.
It didn’t take long for Malik to recognize that One Direction wasn’t the right fit for him.
“I think I always wanted to go, from like the first year, really. I never really wanted to be there, like in the band. I just gave it a go because it was there at the time, and when I realized the direction we were going in—mind the pun—with the music, I instantly realized it wasn’t for me, because I realized I couldn’t put any input in.”
Malik made the remarks while talking with Beats 1 Radio’s Zane Lowe. The video, which is Zayn’s first on-camera interview since leaving 1D, is scheduled to air at 9 a.m. ET Thursday on Apple Music’s Beats 1 Radio. Find out more about Zayn Malik’s on-screen comments in the video below. (Article continues below the video.)
During the interview, Malik said that the decision to leave the band in March of 2015 wasn’t ever something he was unsure about.
“I couldn’t give my opinion on this or that because it didn’t fit the grain of what we were as a band or what we represented. So that’s when it became straight for me, that’s when I had to be like I’ve got to start thinking about myself. So I was always just writing anyway, even when I was in the band. It wasn’t something that I had to think about and process information. I just always knew.”
According to Malik, he wasn’t the only 1D member who knew he didn’t “fit the grain” of the band. In fact, Zayn said that the other band members often did what they could to incorporate Malik’s style as well. In the end, it simply didn’t work out.
“I think the boys knew, in terms of the music, that wasn’t my cup of tea. You know what I mean? They were aware of that. They were trying to facilitate certain things for me so that I could sing certain R&B ad libs here and there, and that was nice, but obviously, I think they always knew that. It wasn’t something they had to figure out. It was always there.”
Zayn’s most recent comments aren’t exactly surprising, as the former 1D lad has been candid about his feelings on the pop group since leaving the band. In the past, Zane has gone so far as to call One Direction’s music “uncool.”
Since leaving One Direction more than 10 months ago, Malik has worked on his solo career, and on Friday, Zayn is scheduled to release his first solo single, titled “Pillowtalk.”
Meanwhile, the remaining four One Direction band mates are on a hiatus after completing a grueling world tour. Nevertheless, the band recently released an official video for their song “History.” The video pays tribute to the band’s first five years together and, of course, includes footage of Malik as a member of the group.
What do you think of Zayn Malik’s most recent comments about his time with One Direction? Do you think Zayn was right to leave the band when he did? Why or why not?
Find out more about Zayn Malik’s new single, “Pillowtalk” in the video below.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment]