“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band,” he told the title for its December/January issue. “If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as f***, so they could use that version. Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us. There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling. I wasn’t 100 percent behind the music. It wasn’t me. It was music that was already given to us, and we were told this is what is going to sell to these people. As much as we were the biggest, most famous boy band in the world, it felt weird. We were told to be happy about something that we weren’t happy about.”
Cowell, whose record label Syco signed the band, has responded to the singer’s "rude" claims in a story published in Britain’s The Mirror.
“I think once he has had a chance to reflect on everything he will probably reconsider what he’s said because it was a very, very democratic process in the band,” said Cowell, who mentored the band during their formative stint on X Factor.
"It is a bit rude to the people who wrote all the hits with them,” he added.
Zayn Malik Says There's No 1D In-Band Relationships, Harry Styles Admits He's Hooked Up With a Fan
After a muted start, Malik's solo career looked to be on the right path when, in the space of a single week back in July, he announced deals with Turn First Artists management and RCA Records.
Cowell got the last word on the aspiring solo star and the now-four-piece he left behind. "As soon as he left we sorted him out with a label who really were enthusiastic about him and then my loyalty was back with the boys."