To be perfectly honest, I was never huge on One Direction. Sure, What Makes You Beautiful was a great (and addictively charming) pop gem, but this boyband was not the second coming of The Beatles – as it’s tried to be. Realizing that there were only so many directions the group could go after five years, member Zayn Malik decided to part ways with his bandmates in an effort to become “a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”

That being said, the recent emergence of new solo material from the artist comes as a complete surprise to the industry and One Direction fans alike. Director, producer, and friend to the now former 1D member, Naughty Boy, shared a demo made by him and Malik titled I Won’t Mind. The track features light guitar strumming with smooth, emotive lyrics from an extremely mature sounding Zayn as he sings about someone who will never be his. For a short demo, I Won’t Mind is really good, showing just what kind of raw talent is possible from the singer outside of the boyband machine.

Some of the continuing members of the group were upset by Naughty Boy‘s actions, to which he responded – via twitter:

Malik has been silent since the announcement of the split, but that quote is extremely insightful. Listen to I Won’t Mind above and let me know – in the comments – if you’re here for solo Zayn, like I am.