Since his exit from One Direction eight years ago, Zayn Malik has become notorious for his reclusive approach to press and traditional avenues of music promotion. But as the star preps the release of his new single “Love Like This,” he is officially re-entering the interview arena.
For his first interview in six years, Malik was announced as the latest guest on Alex Cooper’s Call Her Daddy podcast on Tuesday (July 11). In a preview clip posted to the podcast’s social media pages, Zayn reveals why he chose this moment to return to the limelight in a more open way. “I feel like we were so overexposed in the band that that’s why I took the time that I have to not even necessarily do interviews,” he said.
It’s easy to see why Malik feels that way — from 2011 to 2015, One Direction pumped out five studio albums, four world tours, two concert films, and a documentary, as well as collecting four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 and six top ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Zayn ultimately decided to leave the group before the release of their fifth studio album, saying in a 2015 statement, “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.”
In the teaser clip for his upcoming interview, Zayn tells Cooper that he grew weary of the stereotypes being used within the boy band. “They just said, ‘Oh yeah, you can be the mysterious one.’ That wasn’t necessarily my personality, I’m just chill,” he said. “I know that a lot of people have high-energy personalities, and it’s just not the way I am.”
In 2020, Zayn welcomed his first child, a daughter, with model Gigi Hadid; in the episode preview, the singer credits his daughter for giving him the confidence to sit down for the interview. “Since I’ve had my daughter, the main thing in my mind is trying to be a good example for her,” he said. “That’s why I’m even doing this interview. I used to get a lot of anxiety around having a conversation like this, and I want her to look at me and be like, ‘Yo, my dad’s doing this!’”
The preview clip also featured Zayn embracing his newfound affinity for “dad jokes,” and gushing about how his daughter has brought “the color back” into his life. Zayn’s Call Her Daddy interview will be available on Wednesday, July 12. His new single, “Love Like This,” is slated for a July 21 release.
Check out the full preview here: