LONDON – Zayn Malik thanked his former band mates of One Direction in a touching tribute as he accepted an award at the Asian Awards in London Friday night.

Sporting a newly shaved head, Malik walked the red carpet with his mother at the awards ceremony, marking his first major public appearance as a solo artist.

The 22-year-old singer was being honored for Outstanding Achievement in Music, TMZ reports.

“I’d also like to take this moment to thank four of the best guys I ever met while being in the band and doing all the amazing things that I did,” Malik said. “Some of the things that we did will stay with me for the rest of my life, and I thank you for that. Here’s to the future!”

It’s been almost a month since Zayn announced his departure from One Direction, effectively causing a full-scale Internet meltdown. He has since spoken out about his reasons for leaving, but this is one of the first times he’s publicly addressed the boys since he left. We’re just glad they seem to be on good terms, in spite of all the controversy. Watch the video, below!