Zayn Malik talks about life since One Direction in his first interview in years

After a break from public life and interviews, former One Direction member Zayn Malik appeared on a podcast that aired on Wednesday and talked about his decision to leave the group, what life has been like since then and his new song on his debut single. interview in years.

“There were great experiences, I had great times with them, but we were just running our cycle,” Mr. Malik said of his time with the band on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast, hosted by Alex Cooper.

Mr. Malik was the first to leave One Direction in 2015, after the group steadily released chart-topping songs like “What Makes You Beautiful,” “Story of My Life,” and “Best Song Ever.” The boy band, put together by British music competition show ‘The X Factor’, have been together for almost six years and developed a frenzied following among their young fans, who have been known for their brashness and devotion to the five members.

One Direction continued to make music after Mr. Malik’s departure, but the band officially broke up in 2016. Mr. Malik released his first single, “Pillowtalk” that same year.

During the interview, Mr. Malek told Ms. Cooper that around the time of his departure, the bandmates had begun to clash.

“We’ve been together every day for five years and we’d really tired of each other, if we’re being completely honest,” said Mr. Malik, adding: “I look back now in a fonder light than I would have as I had just left. There were wonderful experiences.” I had a great time with them, but we were just running our cycle.”

He said he was starting to see signs that it was time to go and that others might do the same, and he wanted to “be on top” and be the “first” to release his own record.

“I don’t want to go into too many details, but there was a lot of politics going on. People were doing certain things. Some people didn’t want to sign contracts, so I knew something was going on,” he said.

Ms. Cooper also touched on the subject of the reported confrontation between Mr. Malik and Yolanda Hadid, the mother of his ex-girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid, with whom he shares a daughter, asks about his decision to remain largely silent on the issue. In response, Mr. Malik said he believed the issue should remain within the family.

“I just keep to myself. I knew what the situation was, I knew what happened and the people involved knew what happened too,” said Mr. Malik. “I didn’t want to draw attention to anything.”

In recent years, he said, he has lived a quieter life in suburban Pennsylvania. He said he is happy to be away from the hustle and bustle of New York City, where he enjoys a life mostly free of paparazzi and spends many of his days in the studio, writing and composing music.

He said he enjoyed spending time with cats, dogs, turtles, and chickens. (Mr. Malik noticed that he was so attached to one chicken that died that he decided to stop naming her.)

Being out of the public eye, he said, allows his daughter to live a more private life, if she chooses to do so.

“I’m just trying to give her a choice,” Mr. Malik said. “If she wanted to get away from her, she could be here.”

Mr. Malik said there was a steady stream of fans following the band when they were together. He recalls the day before the band’s single release when fans hid in rubbish bins outside a studio in Sweden waiting for artists to show up, then came out and grabbed them. “I think I had a little heart attack,” he joked.

One Direction’s hit “What Makes You Beautiful” was on Billboard’s Hot 100 for 34 weeks, peaking at number four in 2012. In 2013, “Story of my Life” had similar staying power, with 32 weeks, and reached peaking at No. 6 in 2013. However, “Best Song Ever” climbed higher – it reached No. 2 in 2013 and spent 21 weeks on the chart.

The group has had four world tours, performing in North America, Asia, Europe and South America, and occasionally sold out shows in minutes.