Former One Direction star Zayn Malik has admitted he wishes he had waited a couple more years before signing a record deal.
The 23-year-old found fame with the boy band on The X Factor in 2010 but quit the chart-topping group last year, citing his desire “to be a normal 22-year-old”.
Zayn has now told ES Magazine that if he could give any advice to his 17-year-old self it would be: “Don’t do it.” The singer – who has been open about his battle with anxiety – went on: “I would say, ‘Do your research and be a bit more prepared about certain situations before you make a decision’.”
When he was quizzed about whether he would have signed, knowing what he does now, the singer responded: “I probably wouldn’t have – I would’ve waited a couple more extra years.
“Just so I had that time to just get my head around being a famous person. I’ve never been able to have, what’s the word? Anonymity.
“If I could go back, I’d have a few more years of anonymity.”
The Pillowtalk singer said he was “very ignorant at 17 — blind beyond my years”
“I thought going on X Factor meant you won a million pounds and got a contract at the end of it,” he said.
“And I was like, ‘S**t. All my problems are solved. I win a million pounds and that’s it. Simple.’ “But you don’t think about everything else that goes with it. You’re only 17, your dreams are immature. You see what you want.” Zayn has since launched a solo career but has had to cancel concerts due to anxiety.
In June he pulled out of the Capital Summertime Ball in London, and in October he called off his appearance at Autism Rocks in Dubai because he did not feel confident enough to perform.
He told ES: “I want people to see the good side to me and, yeah, the emotional stress of maybe not fulfilling that is a lot sometimes.
“Anxiety is something people don’t necessarily want to advertise because it’s seen, in a way, like a weakness.
“I speak about it so that people understand that it doesn’t matter what level of success you have, where you’re from, who you are, what sex you are, what you do – you can still experience these things.
“For me to pretend that I didn’t have anxiety would be fake.” Zayn also opened up about his romance with supermodel Gigi Hadid in the interview, revealing that although they “haven’t officially swapped keys” yet, they “live together wherever we are”.
He added: “She’s a very intelligent woman. She knows how to carry herself. She’s quite classy and that.
“She’s not, like, arrogant in any way, she’s confident. She carries it well. She’s cool.”