The “Like I Would” singer opens up about creating his debut album and working with his current producer Malay after his fall out with Naughty Boy. “With Naughty Boy, look, we just didn’t get on. And we’ll leave it at that,” he says about their Twitter feud. He then adds, “Malay is all about the music. He can tell you what the screw is in a microphone that gives it that tinny sound. He’s that kind of guy.”
Zayn wrote all the lyrics himself on the album, something he never could have done while with One Direction. He told NME “he always knew he’d end up as a solo artist – he auditioned as one, after all – and that being in the studio is what he lives for.”
Being in a boyband catering to teenage fans also put restrictions on the type of music he could make. Once free from that mold, he kicked off his solo career with a steamy video for his first single “Pillow Talk,” featuring his current girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid. His new album has a unique voice, with influences ranging from The Beatles to local rappers from his home town, and even music from his Pakistani heritage.
If you’re wondering how he manages to blend these different sounds together in a way that makes it all work, Zayn confesses “It helps sometimes with the creative process, if you’re smoking a good weed.”
See photos from the shoot and behind-the-scenes video below.
(Photo credit: 1D_Swiss_Team Twitter account)