Singer Zayn Malik didn't know what to do when Taylor Swift praised his debut album.
The 23-year-old released Mind of Mine in March (16), and the project immediately became a huge hit with fans helping it storm to the top of the charts around the world, but the former One Direction star admits all the attention was a little too much at times - especially when it came from someone like Taylor.
"I don’t get much feedback from my peers," he told Dazed magazine. "I spoke a bit to Taylor... at (girlfriend) Gigi’s (Hadid) house; we briefly spoke and she told me she really enjoyed the album. It was nice to get some feedback. She said she thought I was cool and I kind of blushed a bit and didn’t know how to take it."
The latest interview - conducted before an anxiety attack forced Zayn to cancel a gig at the CapitalFM Summertime Ball in London - also gives fans a glimpse into the singer's discomfort with the level of fame he's achieved in five short years.
"I haven’t done much acclimatin' (sic)," he confessed. "I’m just staying the way that I am. I think that’s the best way to keep your sanity. You’ve got to hold on to what you are and not let things get to your head, because if you do, that’s when everything comes crashing down terribly."
Zayn tries to maintain a sense of normality by not going to every single showbiz party he's invited to, preferring to spend time with Gigi, 21, friends and family.
"I don’t tend to go out much,” he said. “I stick to my own bubble, as it is. Creatively and socially, I think, as I’m getting older, that’s just the way I am.”
This also means Zayn can keep his head down and focus on his music - he revealed he has already started work on his second solo album.
"I’m just trying to do more and more," he said. "I’m excited to get more involved in every way that I can... I just want to get down to every detail. That’s my progression, learning my craft as a solo artist. I’m kind of itching a little bit. I want to work."