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Zayn Malik: It was time to leave One Direction

London: Singer Zayn Malik, who quit One Direction early last year, says he "knew it was his time" to depart the chart-topping boy band.

The "Pillowtalk" hitmaker felt it was the right decision and now feels "free at last", reports femalefirst.co.uk.

Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik

"I just knew it was my time. I knew I wanted to do something different and start expressing the way I felt about certain things," Malik told Dazed magazine.

"I know that musicians are seen as one-sided people a lot of the time. But we do have other elements to us as well. I didn't feel good. Do you know what I mean? And if you don't feel good... You need to be able to express what it is that you are. I'm free at last," he added.

The 23-year-old singer was a little nervous about how his young fans would react to his new music and expected them to "freak out".

"I didn't know what to expect. I wanted to make that statement, that this was something completely separate from whatever was out there before. I kind of expected the fans that followed me before to be a bit freaked out by it," Malik said.

"It was nerve-wracking for me but it worked out for the best, because people started listening to it in a more mature context," he added.

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