Like when free sex meets 100 percent tesao

Given the amount of anger in the political discourse in this country, I can understand why you want to stay out of it.

Yeah. I see everything. I see the political thing. I see the Trump thing. I see it on the news. They are saying, “Does this mean Zayn Malik has to leave America?” These things are always there. I see what’s going on, but I’ll never be the person that will make some sort of statement. I never want to make anybody biased toward anything. I could have an opinion, but that’s my opinion. That’s the main thing for me. I don’t want to influence anybody’s brain in any sort of way.

Are you a competitive person?

Quietly. I’m not overtly competitive. I don’t shout it from the rooftops. But yeah, I always want to win.

What album has had the most impact on you?

Probably Tupac’s All Eyez on Me. The songs are so real, and from a perspective of a place where somebody is not afraid to be completely 100 percent honest. He’s the first rapper to talk about the fact that his mom was a crack addict. For me, that’s courageous as fuck. He took that risk and spoke about everything in detail openly and without any shame. For me to listen to that album as I grew up, it really helped me to understand that it’s OK to be honest with your art, because people appreciate that.

What are you worst at, when it comes to being a celebrity?

[Laughs.] I’m a pretty shit celebrity all around. But when it comes to TV, that’s the worst. I hate the whole setup. When it’s interviews like this, I don’t mind. I’m just talking to a normal person. It’s when you are fully glammed up and you’re sitting with a hundred lights in your face and someone is asking you questions in front of a crowd of people—that’s when it becomes a bit strange for me. I’m not a public speaker. I’m a singer. Those two things are very different in my brain. I’m not an extrovert in everyday life. I’m a performer. When it comes to stage I can sing and do that, but when I’m in normal-day life I’m very reserved. I guess that’s my downfall.

I’d like to ask you about your tattoos. Do you have any that are especially important to you, that nobody knows about?

I do. I’ve got a couple of Arabic writing tattoos and nobody knows what they mean.

And you keep them private?

Yeah. Just for myself. That’s why I wrote them in Arabic. Obviously some people can read Arabic, but the tattoos are in places that people won’t necessarily see.

There’s a song called “Drunk” on the album that is pretty straightforward. Are there similar songs about drugs or psychedelia on the record?

It is a lot of chill songs, vibes that you can just relax and do your thing to. In terms of psychedelic music, I’m not really that type of person. I don’t even get shit-faced drunk. I’m not really into that type of music. There are a couple of club songs that you can dance to a bit that have a sexy vibe, but there’s none of that hard dance stuff. I smoke sometimes when I’m writing. Sometimes it helps with the creative process, depending on the strain of weed.

How much do you smoke?

I smoked quite a bit in school. I used to write raps and I found it was quite helpful in that department, coming up with words and different concepts. It helped me think outside the box.

Do you think you’ll feel differently the night you drop your solo album as opposed to when you dropped an album with One Direction?

I know already it’s going to be massively different. I felt different when the single dropped. There’s so many extra emotions tied into it because it’s a personal song. None of the songs that I wrote in One Direction were personal to me. Whenever we’d get an award or this or that, it was never something that I was emotionally attached to. Whereas with this, I am. I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to be crazy ecstatic when that album drops. I’m going to be buzzing and I’m going to go out. I’ll probably party with my friends and enjoy it.

What’s your plan for after the new album drops?

I want to go to school. I’d love to get a degree in English, or literature.

And you think you’ll do it in L.A.?

I think so. Who knows? I think I’ll just do a home thing. I’ll get my courses from one of the universities around here and just do home study. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to get my degree eventually. I want to do that, and hopefully write my next record while I’m doing it.

What is your standard for success? Do you ever think about failure?

I think about all aspects of the outcomes of what is going to happen with everything. I don’t know if that’s just something in me, or something that’s natural with everybody. I tend to think about that. It does worry me sometimes, but all I can do is what I’m doing right now. Just go with it and try to hope for the best. I’m enjoying it right now, being creative. I’m enjoying writing music and doing this. And if it doesn’t work out, I would probably just live a simple life.

Do you think you’d be content with that?

Yeah. I’ve done a lot for a 23-year-old. I’d be stupid to complain.

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