Zayn Malik is convinced he would have pursued a job to become an English lecturer had his pop star dreams not come true.
The singer was just a teenager when he shot to fame as a member of One Direction, which was formed following their individual appearances on British reality show The X Factor in 2010.
Zayn quit the boy band in 2015 to go solo, but he still contemplates what he would be doing if his music career had fallen flat, and he’s sure he would have pursued his other passion for the English language – and perhaps become a professor.
“I think about alternative realities,” he tells VMAN magazine. “I think I’d be at university and I would have done my English degree. I think I’d be looking for some employment to do with English lecturing or literature.
“I love poetry and writing – obviously, I’m a songwriter – so, it would’ve been something that would still give me the feeling of a creative outlet within my writing.”
During the interview, the Pillowtalk star also reflected on his decision to walk out on One Direction at the height of their success, admitting it was the first time he really took control of his future.
“I don’t think it (quitting the band) was necessarily that experience that made me a man,” he muses. “I was becoming a man at that time anyway, and that experience was a validation of my decision-making at that time.
“Maybe I became a bit more in the driver’s seat – a bit more in control – and that was the first decision I made that reflected that in my life. I think it was a natural growth as a human being and as a person.
I’m still growing every day, as everybody is. I don’t know everything and I’m willing to learn, so I believe everything is a natural progression.”
The 24-year-old, who has openly discussed his struggles with severe anxiety, is currently working on his second solo album, the follow-up to Mind of Mine, and he’s excited to soon share his growth as an artist.
“I feel like my songwriting definitely developed, just because I’ve been doing it so much,” Zayn says. “I feel like the songs are a bit more organized, where I felt like, before, that Mind of Mine was a brainstorm. That’s why I called it Mind of Mine, because it was ideas that I had that I put out. This one is more thought out. I had more time to process everything and go through it all. It’s an evolution.”
Zayn has yet to reveal a release date for his sophomore album.