In NYLON, ZAYN talks past relationships, single life and being inspired by country music

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For almost the first time in his adult life, ZAYN says he’s single — and he likes it that way.

In a new interview with NYLON, ZAYN notes that when he got engaged at age 21 to his girlfriend of four years, Little Mix member Perrie Edwards, “I didn’t know anything about anything at that point.”

“I thought I did, because I was 21. I was legally allowed to do everything, but I didn’t know s***,” he adds. After he and Perrie broke up in 2015, he started seeing Gigi Hadid. “From 21 to 27, I was with Gi, and we had a kid, and I didn’t really take much time to get to know myself,” he admits.

Now, he says, “I’m really content and happy with being single for the first time in my life.”

ZAYN chatted with NYLON to promote his new album, Room Under the Stairs, which he says was influenced by country music, especially Chris StapletonWillie Nelson and other greats. He admires the fact that country lyrics reveal the artists’ “pain and their growth and their life lessons.”

“I didn’t feel like there was a Chris Stapleton song that comes on and he sounds like a f***boy, right? He doesn’t do it! He’s not out here saying, ‘B***** in the club! We’re drinking Bacardi!’ Or whatever these young kids use now,” ZAYN says. “He’s telling you a real grown man’s story … I was like, ‘This is cool. It’s something I can do.’” 

ZAYN hired one of Stapleton’s producers, Dave Cobb, for Room Under the Stairs, and the result is an album in which “every story came from me and means something to me.”

“There’s this man standing there — not this boy who doesn’t quite know how to tell you something,” he says.

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