Fans of One Direction live in a world where it is virtually impossible to separate fact from fiction. Many fans feel that One Direction’s management has created a media monster where the narrative seems to change on a daily basis. For the past six months, Louis Tomlinson has been the main subject of one Direction stories in the media, and for the most part the stories have been far from flattering. With the birth of Tomlinson’s baby last week we have seen a sea change in reporting about One Direction as “womanizer” Harry Styles is now the focus of press negativity.
As a result of the way One Direction are reported in the press, fans have reached the point where they question the truth of every story that is printed. Fans have simply come to believe that every story about One Direction is manipulated in one way or another. Whether the narrative is portrayed by the media or by One Direction’s management no longer matter to fans. The fans have simply come to believe that One Direction’s image is manipulated to the point that almost nothing is believable.
— zayn (@zaynmalik) January 24, 2016
Last year was a year that no One Direction fan will forget in a hurry, a year that saw three huge changes. Firstly Zayn Malik walked out on One Direction just weeks into their fourth world tour in as many years. Malik’s departure was quickly followed by news that Louis Tomlinson was to become a father, but of course the third piece of news was the most cataclysmic for One Direction fans. News that One Direction were to take a lengthy and indeterminate hiatus rocked many of their fans to their roots.
Since he quit One Direction Zayn Malik has rarely been out of the news. His much publicized fall-out with former friend Naughty Boy, his split from fiance Perrie Edwards and the forthcoming release of his solo music have all taken up thousands of column inches.
— The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) January 22, 2016
However, it was Malik’s comments in two major interview pieces that shocked One Direction fans.
In an interview with Fader, Malik seemed to criticize One Direction’s music when he made comments about how the recording process was managed.
“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in One Direction. If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as f**k, so they could use that version.”
Of course Malik’s comments were reported as an attack on One Direction but in reality it was something quite different. Malik’s comment that his “reality was shaped by other people’s fantasies” as a member of One Direction is perhaps the most telling comment in a massive article. It is this theme that Malik returned to in his recent interview with Billboard. Whilst the media sensationalized Malik’s comments that members of One Direction had not been in touch, it was Zayn’s comments on how One Direction’s image is controlled that were really telling.
“It was like a f***ing machine going constantly.”
“We weren’t allowed to say certain things, or word [lyrics] the way we would want to. I’d sit and wonder, ‘If the fans knew how it worked, what would they think?’ My argument was: People are more intelligent than that. They want to hear what’s real, so why don’t we write some stuff that we’re actually going through?”
Remember that whilst Malik may no longer be part of One Direction he is not free of their management completely. Simon Cowell still has a hand in Malik’s career after arranging for him to be signed on another label under Sony’s umbrella. It is also likely that Zayn had to make agreements with Cowell to enable him to escape his One Direction contract.
— RCA Records (@RCARecords) January 12, 2016
The Independent reports that Malik would consider a One Direction reunion if the time was right. Malik also says that he has no “beef” with his former One Direction bandmates.
“If the time was right and that was the thing to do, then I would make that decision when it came around.”
According to the Express One Direction mentor Simon Cowell has said that he is “not interested in anything Malik has to say.” You can be sure that one Direction fans want to hear what Malik has to say, especially when it comes to how One Direction are managed and presented to the media.
Reading Malik’s latest comments many One Direction fans will be wondering if Zayn’s comments about rejoining One Direction if “the time is right” means after One Direction move on from Cowell and their current management and PR teams.
[Photo by Koji Sasahara/AP]