Zayn Malik faces a constant struggle with self-doubt.
The former One Direction star shocked fans and critics alike when he quit the mega boyband in March 2015, citing his wish to be a “normal 22-year-old”. Not long afterward he started recording solo material, with his debut album Mind of Mine hitting the number one spot all around the world upon its release in March (16).
Talking about his decision to walk away from bandmates Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, Zayn, who's been open with his anxiety issues in the past, insists he has no regrets.
“At that time in my life I felt I had done everything I could do there and I just needed to change it up,” he sighed to Britain’s Elle magazine. “It didn't feel brave. I just don't have it in me to feel fully secure in anything I do. I always strive towards something better. It’s why I think sometimes I come across the wrong way, a bit distant. I’m just stressed out trying to control how I’m perceived. I think about things a lot.”
His new material is a totally different sound to the pop vibe of One Direction, and Zayn says recording by himself made him fall in love with music all over again.
“The album is a build up of six years and never being able to express what I wanted to say. I had something to get off my chest,” he added.
Another major change for 23-year-old Zayn is his love life. The musician was engaged to Little Mix star Perrie Edwards, but not long after quitting One Direction he broke up with the blonde singer. He’s now dating model Gigi Hadid, and despite rumors of a split earlier this year (16), the Pillowtalk star insists the union is strong.
“She’s super intelligent, I think that’s why it works so well,” he smiled. “And we do the same type of job so we get that with each other.”