M.I.A. and Zayn Malik Collaborated on a Song for Her New Album Over WhatsApp

M.I.A. and former One Directioner Zayn Malik have teamed up for a new track from her forthcoming fifth album, AIM.

In addition to working with her once-estranged ex-boyfriend, Diplo, M.I.A tells Entertainment Weekly that she’s tapped Malik as another huge talent for a song called “Freedun” that was mastered a day prior to her interview. She explained that she worked with Malik on his cut remotely while she was visiting India.

“We just basically did it while I was here, because I’ve been here for a week-and-a-half,” says M.I.A. “We’ve just been going back and forth on, you know, WhatsApp.”

The artist explained that she and Malik first became connected when she considered writing songs for his 2016 album, Mind of Mine.

“We have the same publishers and they wanted me to demo some songs for Zayn,” says Malik. “Before I started writing properly my own stuff [for AIM], I was thinking maybe I’ll write for other people instead. I really wanted to write a song for Zayn….We had a couple people in common. And that’s how it came about. I didn’t really approach him for my own record until later on. First, I thought I wanted to try writing a song for him.”

M.I.A looks forward to spending more time outside of the music-making headspace following the release of AIM, which is supposedly her last album.

“I want to do something else for a bit,” she says. “I just feel like I need to spend more periods of time somewhere. When you get into music and you get into a cycle of a record, how life goes, is very fast. You don’t get to just live things out and get involved with communities. I want to spend some time in Greece, make a documentary [there]. Something useful for a bit.”