Zayn Malik may have taken the tween universe by surprise when he left One Direction in March.
But the singer did not take himself by any kind of surprise. Because he admits in a new interview that his departure from the beloved boy band was a very long time coming.
“It’s a nice feeling to come out of a place where you are being told what to do and just to be upset because of certain expectations or certain things that people wanted to see,” Malik says in a teaser for his interview with The Fader.
Malik said at the time of his One Direction departure that he wanted to just be "normal" for a little while.
But fans grew skeptical once it became clear that Malik was about to embark on a solo career as an artist instead. They felt betrayed.
Zayn has since signed that solo deal and her new music on the way.
“I don’t feel like people really know what I’m going to give them, musically,” Malik says. “And once they hear it, I feel like they will understand me a little bit more, and they’ll understand why I did what I did, and why I left the band, and why I had to write this shit down.
"Because for five - not even for five years, for ten years, this album has been in my brain, and it’s just been there, sat with me, needing to be out.”
So, for years and years, Malik has been planning to break free from Harry Styles and company?
How will fans feel when they learn this news? Will they understand Zayn's desire to do his own thing? Will they hold his exit against him?
Listen to Malik talk about his professional future in the following video and even get a listen to his first post-One Direction single.