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Zayn Says He Didn’t ‘Jump on the Bandwagon’ With Country Album

Zayn is dipping his toes into the country world with his upcoming album, Room Under the Stairs, but he isn’t just going along with the recent music trend.

“I was pretty much on my farm having a glass of whiskey and listening to a bit of [Chris] Stapleton by the fire with my dog, playing guitar,” Zayn told Nylon of his inspiration to go country in a story published on Tuesday (May 14). However, he added that while he’s “proud” of the upcoming album, he still worries about comparisons to people like Beyoncé, Post Malone and other pop acts who have forayed into country music recently. “People need to know I didn’t jump on the bandwagon,” he said.

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He continued, “People are in search of a little bit more depth from the lyrics. In the Top 40 charts, a lot of mainstream music feels a bit wishy-washy. The songs are f—ing fire. You know what I mean? They’re catchy. They’re playing on the radio and they do their job, but people are looking for a little bit more.”

Zayn then doubled down on how much Stapleton inspired him, as well as icons like Willie Nelson. “I could really hear their lyrics and their pain and their growth and the life lessons,” he explained. “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—-es in the club! We’re drinking Bacardi!’ Or whatever these young kids use now. He’s not like that. He’s got class, right? He’s telling you a real grown man’s story. And I respected the f— out of it. I was like, ‘This is cool. It’s something I can do.’”

The 15-track album, out May 17, will feature lead single “What I Am,” as well as tracks including “Alienated,” “My Woman,” Stardust,” “Something in the Water,” “Fuchsia Sea” and more. 

Room Under the Stairs will mark Zayn’s first full-length solo project since 2021’s Nobody Is Listening. After leaving One Direction in 2015, the singer launched his solo music career with 2016’s Mind of Mine and followed it up with 2018’s Icarus Falls

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