When news broke out last March that Zayn Malik was leaving One Direction, to be, what he described, as a “normal 22-year old,” the hearts of many fans of the group and of Malik himself were believed to have broken to the point of no return.
It took some time, but our hearts are no longer heavy. ZAYN, all caps and no Malik, launched his first single and accompanying video, PILLOWTALK, worldwide today, showcasing a new direction for the singer, that includes raunchier lyrics, sultrier production and an R&B influence that he’s said to have been in “his brain for ten years.”
In his first in-person interview since his departure from One Direction, Zayn revealed to Beats Radio 1’s, Zane Lowe, that, despite the nerves, it feels good to release music on his own terms, being fully immersed in the writing, production and creative process, and “doing what [he’s] always wanted to do.”
The single (and accompanying video, featuring model Gigi Hadid) is the lead-in to his forthcoming record, entitled Mind of Mine, to be released in the spring of 2016.
Both the single and video have been commended by fans and music critics alike, particularly Malik’s vocals, first ever use of profanity, seductive allusions and the (rather trippy) creativity behind the track’s video that displays the theme of sex in an artistic & metaphorical way, without succumbing to sexual objectification.
Malik’s confidence, and now success behind his musical vision, in steering away from his former pop sensibilities in favor of slower, sexier and more personal R&B grooves is proof that the singer can hold his own: musically, lyrically and independently now as a solo artist.
“I knew I had to go and put my brain into something. It’s all my creative direction. That’s something that’s massively liberating. It feels great to just do whatever and take the responsibility myself and be like, ‘I did that and I like it,'” he said in his interview with Lowe.
This wait was certainly worth it…and so begins the anticipation for his full-length debut album in March. We’re proud of you, Z.