BFT

London

Zayn Malik has paid tribute to his former bandmates as he made his first solo appearance since quitting One Direction.

The 22-year-old was presented with the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music at the fifth Annual Asian Awards. Describing himself as ‘not really a guy of many words’ and referencing the fact his bandmates normally made the speeches at such events, Malik told the audience he had had an ‘amazing’ time with the world-famous pop act.

He said: ‘I’d also like to take this moment to thank four of the best guys that I ever met whilst being in the band and doing all the amazing things that I did. ‘Some of the things that we did will stay with me for the rest of my life.’ Malik, who quit One Direction last month after jetting back to Britain from the boyband’s tour having been ‘’signed off with stress’’, released a statement at the time saying he wanted to spend time as a ‘normal 22-year-old’ away from the spotlight.  A track leaked online shortly after his departure from the band was thought to indicate Malik had put his vocals to a solo track with music producer Naughty Boy - real name Shahid Khan - but it later emerged that it was recorded for the boyband’s last album.