One Direction’s Liam Payne covers the new issue of Attitude — a leading gay British lifestyle magazine — and addresses the group’s upcoming hiatus, if he has plans to go solo, accusations of homophobia, and what drives him “insane” about the group’s fandom.
“I realize now this is the time to start branching out and exploring,” Payne says of One Direction’s break. “This won’t last forever, and there will be a point when we will break off and do our own things, but… we will work together again.”
Payne notes that he’s very into songwriting, production, investment and business, citing Pharrell Williams as an inspiration. “I want to target every part of the industry.”
“A lot of people say to me, ‘Oh, you’ll go solo,’ but I haven’t thought about that. If the right song comes along and I think I should sing it, then I will release it as a solo artist. Otherwise, I’m happy being behind the scenes. When the others boys [in the group] go solo, I would love to write songs for them. I want to make great music that people want to listen to.”
Payne says the Attitude photo shoot and interview is the “first time I have done something on my own.” On Oct. 14, the publication will award Payne sexiest man of the year at the Attitude Awards. “I was so happy to get the award, but at the same time it’s a super scary thing because [the solo interview is] such a huge statement to make.”
In the interview, Payne also talks about his perceived homophobia, assuring fans that “it’s totally not true.”
In 2014, he tweeted to Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson, saying that he had “huge love” for his family and “respect” for their “family values.” The tweet came a few weeks after Robertson’s father, Phil, stirred controversy when he made anti-gay comments to GQ magazine, comparing homosexuality to bestiality.
Payne says when he tweeted his support, he “didn’t know about the comments Phil had made. It had only been in the press in America. I was most definitely not supporting what he said. I hadn’t even heard it.” Payne says he was only admiring the Robertsons’ “tight family relationship” and is “not supportive of everything they say.”
“A lot of my friends are gay and I don’t think anything about it. I actually find it funny that being gay is still something that’s talked about as though it’s not natural. I mean, I don’t go around saying, ‘Oh, this guy is gay.’ I don’t make a big deal about it. I will just say, ‘This is my mate.’ My mates are my mates, regardless of their sexuality.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Payne talks about how One Direction was playing concerts in the U.S. after gay marriage was legalized and how “there were loads of rainbow flags flying at our shows, but I think that was mainly because people think of the Louis and Harry thing [that they’re secret lovers], which is absolutely nuts and drives me insane.”
Head to Attitude‘s website for more.