One Direction: Zayn Malik ‘always knew’ he was going to leave the band
One Direction were formed by Simon Cowell during the throes of The X Factor in 2008. The band, comprised of Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik, quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, selling out tours and amassing countless fans – despite coming third in the competition. The band’s image changed drastically in 2015 when Zayn left the band. Speaking out a year later, the star explained his reasoning behind the monumental move.
Zayn spoke with music journalist Zane Lowe in 2016 to celebrate the release of his debut solo album, Mind of Mine.
The conversation turned to his exit from One Direction and why he chose to leave the band in the middle of a world tour.
He confessed: “I think I always wanted to go, from like the first year, really.
“I never really wanted to be there, like in the band. I just gave it a go because it was there at the time.”
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SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH ZAYN MALIK’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH ZANE LOWE.
When each of the band members auditioned unsuccessfully as solo singers in the ITV competition, Cowell urged the soon-to-be stars to join forces and create One Direction.
After the band split up six years later, in 2015, they had sold more than 50 million records worldwide.
Zayn wasn’t happy with the band from the beginning, however. He told Zane: “When I realised the direction we were going in – mind the pun – with the music, I instantly realised it wasn’t for me because I realised I couldn’t put any input in.
“I couldn’t give my opinion on this or that – because it didn’t fit the grain of what we were as a band, or what we represented.”
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Zayn gave a statement after his exit, which read: “I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.
“I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world.”
The band also released a statement: “The past five years have been beyond amazing, we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends.
“The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour.”
Exactly one year later, on March 25, 2016, Zayn released his debut album, Mind of Mine.
The record debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200.
His first single, Pillow Talk, also reached number one on the singles chart.
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