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Zayn Malik, Billboard

Miller Mobley

Zayn Malik has moved on professionally and romantically.

There's no doubt that his days with One Direction are done, but fans are wondering where his new music is. After teasing his forthcoming track, "Befour," in a video with Fader magazine, fans desperately wanted to hear something more, but the British crooner has yet to come up with something. In an interview with Billboard magazine, Zayn opens up about his creative process and why that was stifled during his 1D days, where the music is and what's going on in his personal life.

"[The band and I] weren't allowed to say certain things, or word [lyrics] the way we would want to," says Malik. "I'd sit and wonder, 'If the fans knew how it worked, what would they think?' My argument was: People are more intelligent than that. They want to hear what's real, so why don't we write some stuff that we're actually going through?"

Zayn Malik, Billboard

Miller Mobley

Even if they were allowed to sing what they wanted, it seems it still wouldn't have been enough for Zayn because Liam Payne, Harry Styles, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson all had different tastes in music. "I genuinely enjoyed [the band] and did whatever I could to be myself within that, but it's just not where I sit as a musician," he adds. "The other boys' taste was generally indie rock. It's good music, but I don't f--k with it. That was never cool where I was from."

After quitting the band on March 25, 2015, and subsequent public Twitter feuds, Directioners assumed—fairly so—that there was some bad blood between Zayn and the remaining four, but Zayn tells the magazine it's not like that. "There are no sides to pick," he says. "We're not going head-to-head."

Zayn Malik, Billboard

Miller Mobley

While there may not be any feuding, Zayn admits he and the band keep their distances. "The truth of it is, you can think one thing about a situation and the total opposite can happen," he says. "I had every intention of remaining friends with everybody, but I guess certain phone numbers have changed and I haven't received calls from a lot of people."

"I've reached out to a few of them and not got a reply. Certain people have pride issues, but it's stuff you overcome in time."

Zayn left 1D and not too long after that he and Perrie Edwards called off their engagement. Now he has been seen cozying up to model Gigi Hadid. He maintained they were just friends for a little while, but after she posted a picture of them cuddling together, there was no denying the romance.

Zayn Malik, Billboard

Miller Mobley

"I need a challenge," he says when asked what he looks for in a woman. "Also, I like girls that are a bit chunky in certain areas—the nice areas. I like a fuller woman. I enjoy an intellectual conversation as well, where someone can construct a sentence beyond what hair and makeup they're wearing, and talk about something political or about the world. I like an opinion."

Thanks to being raised by "a lot of women," Zayn says he knows how to handle the obsessed fans. "...There's nothing any fan girl could've ever taught me about any woman," he explains. "I fully understood every person who'd come and see the band, because I have crazy aunties and crazy sisters who would fan-girl over actors.

"If people can't have something, they want it."

So how about that album, Zayn?