Zayn Covers ‘Complex’, Talks About His “Very Sexual” New Album
It’s not hard to see how being a member of a boy band can be a creatively stifling experience, as Justin Timberlake and Robbie Williams can attest to. Now Zayn Malik is the latest male pop star to come through the machinery intact as a solo star that, at least for now, at the onset, seems to have potential for a fairly lengthy career on his own.
“None of the songs that I wrote in One Direction were personal to me,” Zayn tells Complex for the publication’s April/May 2016 issue, ahead of the March 25 release of his debut solo album Mind Of Mine. (See photos shot by Nabil above.) “Whenever we’d get an award or this or that, it was never something that I was emotionally attached to.”
The 23-year-old singer also discusses the fact that he wasn’t allowed to grow a beard or dye his hair while in 1D. He says these restrictions are one of the reasons he likes the outspoken nature of Kanye West.
“I believe that success follows authenticity. People see through fake shit,” Zayn explains to Complex. “They don’t want to see that; they want a real person. That’s why Kanye is so successful. He’s speaking the truth, regardless of whomever he offends, he isn’t bothered. That’s admirable.”
West isn’t the only artist who ranks high on Zayn’s list, though. When asked about the album that’s had the most impact on him, he singles out Tupac‘s acclaimed 1996 LP All Eyez On Me.
“The songs are so real, and from a perspective of a place where somebody is not afraid to be completely 100 percent honest,” Zayn says of Tupca’s fourth studio album. “He’s the first rapper to talk about the fact that his mom was a crack addict. For me, that’s courageous as fuck. He took that risk and spoke about everything in detail openly and without any shame. For me to listen to that album as I grew up, it really helped me to understand that it’s OK to be honest with your art, because people appreciate that”
As for Zayn’s own album, when asked if he thinks listeners will have sex to it, he responds quite simply: “Who knows? It’s a very sexual album. I’m sure it could fit into that scenario.”
Catch Zayn’s full chat and stunning cover shoot with Complex here.