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Zayn Malik Breaks Silence Following One Direction Split to Talk Solo Music, Why He Quit

”I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people’s happiness,“ the 22-year-old singer said

Zayn Malik has opened up about his split with One Direction, which shocked fans around the world earlier this week. But there’s good news: He’s not done with music.

In an interview published in Friday’s edition of U.K. publication The Sun, Malik said his immediate plans are “to write and relax and chill.”

While fans like “devastated” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh are having a hard time grasping a 1D without Malik, he says he’s “never felt more in control” in his life, and is already working on new music with producer Naughty Boy. According to the Sun, he’s experimenting with new sounds, including rapping.

“I feel like I’m doing what’s right, and right by myself and right by the boys, so I feel good,” Malik said in the interview, in which he also denies tension between him and the other four members of the chart-topping boy band.

“My band has been really supportive. They’ve been really cool about it. And they understand that, you know, it’s not real to me anymore,” Malik said. “They still want to do it for a while, so they’re going to carry on doing what they want to do. And I think they’re doing to do OK for a while. I think they’re going to be cool.”

The fans, Malik says, are what kept him going, despite being unhappy in the group.

“I did try to do something that I wasn’t happy doing for a while, for the sake of maybe other people’s happiness—and that was mainly the fans,” Malik said. And I only ever tried to do it for the fans, and it was only ever for them. And, basically, I’m only upset I feel like I may have let them down in some sort of way. That’s the main thing that I don’t want to happen.”

For those hoping Malik will give One Direction one more shot in the future, here’s what he had to say: “I don’t think I can really answer that, really, but, I don’t know.”