Liam Payne has had a busy lockdown during the coranvirus pandemic. Not only has he been working on new music projects but he’s also helped to raise more than $10million (£7.9 million) for charities fighting COVID-19 just by playing the video game FIFA.
The Stack It Up singer joined premiership footballers and pro esports players to play FIFA 20 together online in the biggest esports charity event in history this week, with charity Gamers Without Borders raising money for COVID-19 relief.
In Liam’s match in the tournament, he played against Liverpool FC right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. He may have lost his particular back-to-back matches, but “to be able to do that and make money for unfortunate people at the same time, what an absolute winner – it’s just absolutely amazing to be a part of it,” Liam said, at the event.
In his only exclusive interview during the event, Yahoo UK caught up with Liam to discover the celebrity he’s been practicing his FIFA skills with in lockdown, the secret music he’s been working on, his plans for TV domination, and what he’s most excited about for post-lockdown with his son, Bear…
Yahoo UK: How have you been getting on in lockdown?
Liam Payne: I think lockdown has been hard for everyone – but in so many different ways. I count my blessings everyday, I’m very aware of how lucky I am. My family and I all have our health and a safe place to stay, so I’m really grateful for that.
Coronavirus: what happened today
I’ve been trying to use the time productively. I released a single during lockdown, so I’ve actually had a fair bit of work to do from home. I also donated to the Trussell Trust – a really important charity - and have been down to a food bank in London to help out.
Have you been working on any new music projects with this time at home?
I’m always working on something new! There are lots of ideas going around my head at the moment and songs being written on my computer and phone.
Fans will be excited about that! When can we next expect new solo music?
You’ve been filming your own roundup show on YouTube each week during lockdown – would you be up for your own talk show on TV?
I’d never say never! I’ve really enjoyed doing the YouTube videos, it’s been a great way for me to connect with my fans through this time.
Have you been keeping in touch your One Direction bandmates in lockdown? Have any 1D Zoom parties happened yet?
Yes, we’ve all been in touch with each other – no Zoom parties as yet though.
You’ve just been part of the Gamers Without Borders charity FIFA tournament, raising more than $10million to fight COVID-19 – why was being part of the esports event important to you?
We’re all just trying to do what we can to help, and this seemed like a really simple, and fun, way to raise some money.
The charity tournament is raising money for COVID-19 relief - what are you most looking forward to once the pandemic is over?
Being able to take my son out on day trips... even just to the park will be nice.
Bear’s only three-years-old, but do you play any games with him yet? What are you looking forward to introducing him to when he’s old enough?
No, not yet. He’s still too young for computer games. I always loved Super Mario and Sonic when I was really young, maybe I can introduce him to some retro games when he’s old enough!
Yahoo UK: Do you play much FIFA 20 at home? Who have you been practising your FIFA skills with?
I wouldn’t say I’m an avid gamer – but I do like to play a bit. I recently played Alesso at FIFA as well, which was good fun.
What sort of FIFA player are you?
Excited to be a part of this important cause fighting against COVID-19, with a charity prize pot of $1.5M 🙏 Tomorrow I’ll be taking on @trentarnold66 in the @GWBPS FIFA20 tournament ⚽ Click the link in my bio to watch the action at 5PM UK time (6PM CEST). #GWBPS #ad
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The attacking players on FIFA are always really quick, so I like to play on the counter attack. When I get the ball I pass forward quickly and try and catch my opponent off guard.
Could you tell us your number one FIFA tip?
My number one FIFA tip is to practice your timed finishing. If you practise your timed finishing on the game, it will help you score a lot more goals. It really improves your accuracy of shots.
Read more about COVID-19
How to get a coronavirus test if you have symptoms
How easing of lockdown rules affects you
In pictures: How UK school classrooms could look in new normal
How public transport could look after lockdown
How our public spaces will change in the future
Aside from the gameplay we love FIFA soundtracks... if you could compose the soundtrack for a video game, what would it be?
I’m not sure which series, but it would have to have light and shade... some moody moments to add tension and some big electronic choruses for the celebrations.
Head to GamersWithoutBorders.com for more info, donations and highlights