The singer joined the boyband during the seventh series of The X Factor and remained in the line-up until 2015 when his departure was announced.
Appearing on Spotify podcast Call Her Daddy, hosted by Alex Cooper, Malik discussed his time in the band, admitting that songwriting together was “hard”. “There used to be five of us in the room when we would write, it was so hard for us all to have the same viewpoint to talk about the same thing,” he said.
Of his decision to leave the band after five years together, he said he didn’t want to “go into too much detail”, but said there “was a lot of politics going on, certain people were doing certain things, certain people didn’t want to sign contracts, so I knew something was happening”.
“There were obviously underlying issues,” he continued. “Like within our friendships, too. We’ve been together every day for five years, and we got sick of each other, if I’m being completely honest. So we were close.” Despite feeling that way at the time, he added that now he looks back on his experiences with One Direction in a “much fonder light”.
Malik also discussed how being in the band changed his life, referring to the “visual evidence” of the phenomenon around himself and his bandmates, like people waiting for them outside of studios. “We started to get a fanbase and an audience and you could see that people were paying an interest in us,” he said. “From that point on, it was kind of a bit crazy.”
The star is set to make his return to music, two years since he released his third solo album ‘Nobody Is Listening’. He was recently confirmed to have signed a new record deal with Mercury Records, with his first single for the label, ‘Love Like This’, set to arrive on July 21.
Meanwhile, last year, the singer shared a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Angel’ to mark the guitar hero’s 80th birthday. Hendrix’s estate later told Billboard: “We’re hopeful that this version of a Hendrix classic will enlighten a new generation of listeners about Jimi’s genius and further propel his continuing legacy.”