Zayn Malik reveals how being a ‘very northern man’ has shaped his life in the US

Bradford star said it ‘heavily influences my personality and decision-making on a daily basis’

Maira Butt
Monday 08 April 2024 18:00 BST
Zayn Malik appears in first interview in six years on Call Her Daddy podcast

Zayn Malik has opened up about how his northern identity has stayed with him during his decade on stages and in the studios of Los Angeles.

Although the musician now lives on a farm in Pennsylvania in the US, the 31-year-old says his upbringing in Bradford, Yorkshire has “heavily influenced” his life.

“I always initially knew how much Bradford had influenced me, even when I came to London,” Malik told the Big Issue:

The singer made his breakthrough rise to fame on the X Factor alongside Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson after they were brought together to create a band in 2010. He has kept out of the spotlight in recent years and has recently returned to public life.

“I was instantly introduced to many different characters that I had not come across before and quickly realised that my personality and the way I am is very northern.

“Now as a 31-year-old man, after living in America for 10 years, I’ve definitely come to terms with the fact that I’m a very northern man, which heavily influences my personality and decision-making on a daily basis.”

Malik has re-emerged in the spotlight after years in which he said he struggled with anxiety (Getty Images)

The “Dusk Til Dawn” singer, who is of mixed British Pakistani heritage, was recently announced as the ambassador for Bradford City of Culture 2025. He will take part in a number of city-wide projects celebrating the area.

While the singer maintains a close connection to his home town, he recalled that as a child he decided he would not spend his entire life there as he wanted to “do something unique and worthwhile”.

He recently made headlines for sharing that he wanted to raise his three-year-old daughter Khai, who he shares with ex Gigi Hadid in Pennsylvania. He made the rare comment in an interview with L’Officiel magazine, as he acknowledged how much he loves the outdoors, which includes his home in rural Pennsylvania.

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“I pretty quickly made up my mind that this would be a great place to raise a child because there’s so much for her to do here,” he said about Pennsylvania. “So, we do spend a lot of time outside.”

Malik shared in his interview with Big Issue that he had originally wanted to leave his hometown as he “wanted my parents to have a better house”.

Zayn Malik attends the Kenzo Menswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on 19 January 2024 in Paris, France. (Getty Images)

He shared: “We lived in a rented property our whole upbringing and I wanted to give them a better quality of living. So that was the original intent behind it, and then when I got to about 17 or 18, I wanted to forge my own path, write my own story and go out and see the world.”

For his upcoming fourth album, Room Under The Stairs – to be released 17 May – the singer who has been open about his experience of anxiety, says he has reflected alot on his identity.

Discussing the inspiration behind his new single “What I Am”, he said: “I’m reflecting on the way that I approach situations rather than necessarily a correlation to what my original identity is.”

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