Zayn Malik speaks out in detail about his life after 1D-eparture, how he’s overcome hardships after he quit One Direction and broke it off with ex-fiancée, Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards.

The 22-year-old singer explains to Billboard magazine, the cover of which he poses for this week, that he spends his time in the studio when he’s upset or feels depressed, “That’s because I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I’m not censoring myself anymore, so I’m not tired. I love it.”

Back in November 2014, Zayn cried onstage while performing in Hong Kong. He soon left One Direction’s tour due to “stress” and the romantic rut his engagement with long-time girlfriend Perrie Edwards had hit. In March 2015, his representative officially announced his departure. At the time Zayn knew just what to do to release his stress – he went home: “I seen [sic] my mum, who cooked me some great food. I ate for three weeks because I’d lost so much weight in the band. I seen my sisters and put my dad’s sheepskin on – I walked around and everyone thought I was him. Nobody bothered me. It was good for my soul to be back in Bradford.”

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The months that followed was when Zayn went miss-in-action for a while. Finally, though, he’s breaking the silence to say he’s found himself a new beginning and learned much more about himself: “I’m incredibly disciplined. I realized I can push myself through situations I might not necessarily want to do, but can overcome by being in the moment. No matter what, I can smile and do whatever I got to do.”

Now Zayn is working hard on his solo album, which is due for an early 2016 release.

Read the full interview here.