Zayn Malik made a rare public appearance Tuesday (Dec. 13) on Elvis Duran and the Morning Show for his first interview in over a year and a half to discuss a range of topics, including how songwriting proved to be therapeutic and his new collaboration with Taylor Swift.
The unlikely pair linked up to work on “I Don’t Want to Live Forever,” the first song from the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, because of girlfriend Gigi Hadid’s friendship with Swift.
“The interesting thing was she’s actually friends with Gi, so she already reached out because [producer] Jack [Antonoff] had just played her the song anyway,” Malik said. “She mentioned to me that she liked the song so I already kind of knew in the back of my head that she liked it so I asked her if she wanted to be on it and she was cool with it.”
Malik, who has been public with his struggles with anxiety in the past, discussed how writing acts as a therapy process. “Whether that’s writing something down for yourself or writing it down in a memoir or writing it down in a song, it’s just a way of alleviating something that’s on your mind and getting it out there, so for me it was kind of a little bit of that and I kind of enjoyed it.”
His most recent writing endeavor was his self-titled memoir, which hit shelves last month and reflected on his career so far. “It was fun to reminisce on things and think about what was bad and what was good and make sense of it all because I didn’t feel like I really had time to do that in the band, so it was nice to have that time.”
The notably private star cited his hometown of Bradford, England, and the support from his parents as the reason why he’s so grounded. “I feel like where I’m from, because it is just like a small working-class place, people are very easily ready to pull you back down to the earth when you get a bit big headed,” Malik said. “Now I’m really thankful for that because one of the main things I like to hold onto in my personality is that I’m quite grounded. I’m thankful I’m from a place like that because they are quick to pull you back down to earth if you get a bit over yourself.”
In the interview he also discusses his musical influences, the process of writing his autobiography and how being a solo artist gives him the ability to make sense of things more versus his One Direction days.
You can watch the interview below: