One Direction was an all-consuming and time-consuming project for Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan. The tours were especially demanding, as the boys traveled quickly from city to city with no time for sightseeing or fun — just hours spent nearly every day on the tour bus followed by nightly shows that demanded all their energy.
One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, and Zayn Malik had at least one pet peeve about being in 1D and that seems only natural.
Zayn Malik wanted more creative freedom and to allow the band to grow into something more mature and fitting of their ages. Zayn loved being with the other guys and meeting the fans, though.
Harry Styles wanted the band’s music to be more deserving of all the attention it gets, although Harry did love every minute of the attention he got.
Niall Horan wanted to see more of the world and gather more experiences in order to become a better writer. Niall loved One Direction, though, and can’t wait to be back on tour. Horan loved touring but didn’t like missing out on the fun of it.
One Direction’s Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, and Niall Horan are not slamming 1D when they say these things. They are trying to create better music by lifting their limitations.
Zayn Malik has some really nice things to say about One Direction in his new book, Zayn. Recently, Malik has been releasing small excerpts to the press. Teen Vogue was given a really beautiful passage from the book about all the love Z has for his former band. First, however, Malik gave a thank you shout out to the fans.
“I got to meet amazing fans, and I can never thank all of them enough for the love and support they gave me during the good times, and the bad.”
Zayn Malik went on to say how truly proud he was to be a part of One Direction. Malik said he appreciated that time with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Niall Horan.
“I can honestly say I’m proud of a lot of stuff from the One Direction days. I’m not sure people realize that, but I am. I’ve got the memorabilia – the platinum discs we received with every album – all over my house. I have a wall dedicated to displaying them.”
Zayn Malik says One Direction was an experience that he treasures and would never deny it is part of him.
“One Direction was an incredible experience in its own right, and it’s a part of me, an integral part of my history, and I’m never going to deny that aspect of my life.”
What Zayn Malik said was really beautiful, and while fans appreciate his words, they have also been reminded of past statements by Malik that were categorized as slamming, critical, or throwing shade at the rest of the band. While these words don’t, by definition, represent anything Zayn has said, some of the things he said could be interpreted as frustration with management and the boy band image.
Zayn Malik has never said anything against Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, or Louis Tomlinson. He has, however, spoken about feeling artistically limited within the framework of what management expected from the One Direction.
One Direction’s Harry Styles and Niall Horan have at times vaguely inferred a bit of dissatisfaction from time to time as well. Isn’t that just part of life? Whether going to school, having a job, being in a family, or belonging to a club, sometimes people are not 100 percent positive about what they are doing and the groups they are with every day.
Niall Horan always wished he could check out the towns they went through and spend time touring some of the foreign countries. Traveling was the first thing on Horan’s agenda when the band went on hiatus. Niall went backpacking in Southeast Asia.
Niall Horan had something to say about being cooped up in hotel rooms during One Direction tours. NZ City quoted Niall recently about potential future tours.
“Just laying here watching and TV and thinking. Really looking forward to going to cities and maybe seeing them this time. Hahaha. Instead of being stuck in the hotel room and playing PlayStation.”
One Direction never had a lot of time to work on honing their musical skills or even in developing new music. One Direction’s music was very formulaic in nature, which was what Zayn Malik meant. They were hits, but even Harry Styles always believed the group’s music should have been better.
One Direction’s Harry Styles, the master of tact, once said that One Direction was as big or bigger than the Beatles fan-wise, but he quickly added that 1D’s music was not on par with the legendary fathers of rock, according to the Independent. Styles almost seemed to express guilt that 1D’s music was not legendary in character.
“But none of us think we’re in the same league as them music-wise. We’d be total fools if we did. Fame-wise it’s probably even bigger, but we don’t stand anywhere near them in terms of music.”
Zayn Malik announced over a year ago that his One Direction days were over. At the time, Malik felt creatively repressed by the squeaky clean image of 1D. When he left the band, he said he felt he couldn’t be his authentic self during the creative process.
One Direction’s Harry Styles and Niall Horan did not leave the band, but they are taking a year or two off. That isn’t unusual for bands who have toured as long and hard as Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson did.
One Direction’s Harry Styles and Niall Horan set about correcting their pet peeve situation as soon as the hiatus began. That’s what Zayn Malik did as well.
Zayn Malik felt he wasn’t able to express himself within the confines of One Direction, so upon leaving, he expressed himself in interviews, an album, a book, and now even a clothing line. Zayn is expressing himself as an artist.
One Direction’s Harry Styles felt that the band was not really deserving of all that fame, so he went on an incredibly effective campaign to build a credible reputation and obtained a contract to produce three albums deserving that reputation. He’s consulted and collaborated with virtually every iconic rock musician he could find, including Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of the Beatles, Elton John, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Niall Horan went on a backpacking tour of East Asia and a lot of other sightseeing adventures before settling into recording his album. Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Liam Payne, and Zayn Malik were all very young when they became part of One Direction and had very little life experience. The experiences they did have, locked away in a hotel room, riding thousands of miles on a tour bus, and performing every single night, were not the kind of subjects their fans could relate to.
Niall Horan wanted experiences in order to write more relevant music — and perhaps for his own sanity as well. Horan said that he felt “normal” on his backpacking journey for the first time in a long time.
Zayn Malik admitted to the Fader back in November of 2015 that he didn’t feel like he was allowed to contribute to the band. One Direction’s image was strictly enforced by management, and Zayn felt especially restricted. Malik wanted to have more of an R&B sound, and sexier lyrics.
“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band… Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us. There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band.”
Zayn Malik used the word “we” to express the discontent with restrictions placed on One Direction by the management. Is Zayn saying that Harry Styles and Niall were not happy under Modest Management and Syco Records either?
“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.”
Is Zayn Malik saying that One Direction’s Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson were not happy within the boy band genre either? Were the other guys unhappy at the time as well? Perhaps that is the reason for the hiatus: to correct the things that were going wrong with their creative process.
Zayn Malik wanted desperately to express himself with some sexy rhythm and blues. Now that he’s done that, has he had a change of heart?
Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, and Niall Horan were all trying their best to produce great, even legendary music for their fans, but Zayn felt creatively restricted by One Direction’s management, who did keep the band locked into a very clean teen pop image. 1D could have been censored by management on lyrical content and overall style.
One Direction’s Harry Styles felt the music should have been better in order to merit all the attention. In fairness to the boys, they really didn’t have time to experiment much. They only had a few months a year in the studio and were pushed out on the road for nine months out of the year, playing five or six shows a week most of the time. Tired and rushed, censored and edited, who can blame the guys for any lack of creative growth under those circumstances?
One Direction’s Niall Horan felt he was missing out on life, and as a folk-style singer, his music had to be about life experiences. Horan got out and lived for a change. He got to travel and meet people under normal circumstances, which will help his own musical goals as well as his personal sense of well being.
One Direction members, whether Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, or Niall Horan, have a right to express frustration with their creative process. They also have a responsibility as adults, rather than the kids they were when they started, to correct the problems in whatever way they can.
That’s why Zayn Malik left the band, and that is why the rest are currently on hiatus.
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One Direction was great, but Harry Styles believes it can be a lot better. Niall Horan believes that the band would be better if all the members got to live a little bit of real life. Zayn Malik saw that they needed to move away from the boy band image because they were getting too old for it. All three boys were probably right, and those things are going to be changed when the boys get back together.
Zayn Malik, Harry Styles, and Niall Horan being critical of their own creative process is not throwing shade, slamming, or dissing One Direction. They are 1D after all. They are simply trying to be better at what they are being well paid to do. The hiatus is about doing a better job and gaining credibility and longevity for their careers.
One Direction’s Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, and Niall Horan are self-critical because they are becoming better musicians, for themselves and for their fans.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]