Zayn Malik opens up on One Direction departure: ‘I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling’

Malik calls former boyband 'generic as fuck' and reveals first clip of solo material 'Befour'

Former One Direction member Zayn Malik has opened up about his time in One Direction and his reasons for quitting the boy band earlier this year.

Speaking to The Fader in a lengthy interview, Malik described One Direction’s music as “generic as fuck” and explained how the band were controlled by management, leaving him unable to “experiment creatively.”

“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band,” Zayn told the magazine. “If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as fuck, so they could use that version. 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, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling. I wasn’t 100 per cent 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.”

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Malik went on to detail the moment he decided to leave the band in March 2015, explaining that he had been thinking about it for some time.

“I guess I just wanted to go home from the beginning,” he said. “I was always thinking it. I just didn’t know when I was going to do it. Then by the time I decided to go, it just felt right on that day. I woke up on that morning, if I’m being completely honest with you, and was like, ‘I need to go home. I just need to be me now, because I’ve had enough.’ I was with my little cousin at the time – we were sat in the hotel room – and I was just, ‘Should I go home?’ And he was like, ‘If you want to go home, let’s go home.’ So we left.”

Malik went on to describe his new solo album, which he has been working on with Frank Ocean producer Malay. Malay recently tweeted about his work on Malik’s debut solo record, calling the former One Direction man “pure genius”.

“I’m working every day now, but I’m working on music that I enjoy,” Malik said. “That’s not music that I would listen to. Would you listen to One Direction, sat at a party with your girl? I wouldn’t. To me, that’s not an insult, that’s me as a 22-year-old man. 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.”

In a video accompanying the interview, Malik previews his new solo song ‘Befour’, his first solo material since leaving the boyband earlier this year.

Listen to ‘Befour’ in the clip below:

Asked about his contact with his former bandmates, Malik explained that he had only recently spoken to bandmate Liam Payne and that the pair planned to meet up, “to do some music and work on some stuff.”

“I spoke to Liam about two weeks ago,” he said. “It was the first time I’d spoken to him since I left the band, and I rung him, and he wanted to talk. He said that he didn’t understand it at the time, but he now fully gets why I had to do what I did. He understands that it’s my thing, that I had to do that, and that basically he wants to meet up and sit down and have a good chat in person, and he wants to do some music and work on some stuff aside from being in the band, which we always wanted to do anyway.”

Following his One Direction exit, Malik signed a solo deal with RCA and has been offered guidance by 50 Cent and collaborations with Odd Future man Tyler, The Creator.