Zayn Malik has kept his lips sealed when it comes to self-promotion ever since he signed to RCA Records back in July. But now, it seems like the singer is ready to kick his newly-formed solo status into full gear by appearing on the cover of The Fader‘s December issue.

Zayn looks completely cool and confident (and sometimes shirtless!) as he he shows off his new blonde-tipped hair and stylish motorcycle in the Francesco Nazardo-photographed editorial.

In the interview, the UK singer revealed why he decided to leave One Direction once and for all:

“I was always thinking it. I just didn’t know when I was going to do it. Then by the time I decided to go, it just felt right on that day. I woke up on that morning, if I’m being completely honest with you, and was like, ‘I need to go home. I just need to be now, because I’ve had enough.'”

He also went into detail about the lack of freedom he experienced when recording in the studio with the other boys:

“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band. If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as fuck, so they could use that version.”

You can check out Zayn’s entire interview here (included are juicy details including his Twitter fight with Louis Tomlinson) and photos at The Fader. Check down below to hear an instrumental clip of his “Befour” single!