Producer Naughty Boy says Zayn Malik will release debut solo single early next year
Zayn Malik is hoping to release new music next year, according to Naughty Boy.
The producer is a close friend of the former One Direction singer, who stunned fans when he quit the boyband back in March.
Shortly after his shock exit, Zayn was seen with Naughty Boy amid reports they were working on tracks together.
However, the musician says he had just been there for Zayn as a friend, and they weren’t collaborating at that time.
"I was there for my friend and in this business it is not the easiest thing to make genuine friends," he told BBC Newsbeat.
"During that time we weren't making music, we have made music in the past. The world will hear the music but when he is ready and when the fans are ready.
"This year I want to get back to business as usual and when Zayn's ready, probably next year for his music, I'm there for him."
Following Zayn’s departure from the chart-topping band, it was reported that his fiancée, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards, may have been behind his choice.
And in the interview, Naughty Boy said Zayn’s intention was to spend time with his family and friends as a “normal” young man.
"For him it was important to just go quiet for a little while and when he is ready to talk he will," he said.
"I think there should be a bit of respect for that but also at the same time I can understand why the fans were upset.
"Sometimes you get caught up in something, bit like a circus but you are not really part of it."