Zayn Malik: Liam Payne is 'closest' following 1D split | EW.com

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Zayn Malik 'closest' to Liam Payne following 1D split

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It’s been nearly one year since Zayn Malik left One Direction in favor of a solo career, and he’s still not on speaking terms with the majority of his former band mates — except Liam Payne.

“I’m still probably the closest to Liam,” Malik told U.K.-based magazine NME. “We talk on the phone. He congratulated me on my single, which was nice. I congratulated him on his BRIT Award [the group collected the British Video Award for ‘Drag Me Down’]. It was a good chat. We haven’t met up in a long time so we want to meet up.”

As for Niall Horan, Harry Styles, and Louis Tomlinson, Malik says, “I tried to have contact but nobody’s reached out. So … whatever.”

This isn’t the first time that Malik has admitted to a friendly post-1D relationship with Payne. “I spoke to Liam about two weeks ago. It was the first time I’d spoken to him since I left the band, and I rung him, and he wanted to talk,” Malik told The Fader back in November. “He said that he didn’t understand it at the time, but he now fully gets why I had to do what I did. He understands that it’s my thing, that I had to do that, and that basically he wants to meet up and sit down and have a good chat in person, and he wants to do some music and work on some stuff aside from being in the band, which we always wanted to do anyway.”

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Indeed, like Malik, Payne’s musical tastes extend beyond the music he created for One Direction. In advance of the release of the band’s fifth album, Payne told EW that his influences include Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Usher, and Drake, to name a few. Plus, the first snippets of his post-1D ventures — including a feature on a Juicy J-Wiz Khalifa mixtape — tease a more R&B-focused solo career to come.

So, as we cross our fingers that the remaining members of One Direction do properly reunite following their separate solo explorations, we can hope for a Malik-Payne duet first.