Zayn Malik released his new single, “Pillowtalk” Friday January 29, and by the following Friday, February 5, it was topping the charts in Britain with record breaking sales, downloads, and views. Fans were hungry for a taste of that new Zayn sound. Since he left One Direction last March, Malik has been experimenting around. Some of that music was leaked to YouTube. Fans went wild over the tiny unpolished samples from private jam sessions as soon as they heard them. Now, those who appreciate Zayn’s new music, or just want to give it a try, can look forward to a full serving of the new treat when Zayn’s album, Mind of Mine, comes out next month.
The effort Zayn Malik put into Mind of Mine is almost unprecedented. Zayn explained that he wrote 46 or 47 songs for the new album, but of course, only 17 or 18 will be on the album. It seems a shame, but less than half of the songs written for the album can actually be on the album. Fans will be delighted to know though, that only the best made the final cut. The Zayn Malik debut album is going to be amazing, and it will be available in March.
Apparently, Zayn Malik knew exactly what his maturing fan base wanted.”Pillowtalk” took the markets by storm last week. NME reports the single sold 112,000 in combined sales, 4.97 million streams and 50 million views on YouTube. The album has gone straight to the top of the billboard charts in the U.K., knocking Shawn Mendes down to third place with his single, “Stitches.” Pillowtalk” is the fastest selling single of the year.
Zayn Malik is courting a new sound with Mind of Mine, that is nothing like One Direction music. As Fuse TV explains, Mind of Mine is soulful, with a touch of R&B. It is even a bit bluesy. There is a lot of emotion in his voice. Zayn put a lot of his own heart into this music. It isn’t generic teen idol pop. It doesn’t just fit neatly into any specific category. Zayn, free of constraint, is laying his heart and soul out for fans, and that music is unique.
Zayn says he felt creatively limited by One Direction. The group’s image, and target audience, limited them to very strict lyrical censorship and a very mainstream pop vibe.
“There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band. 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… so they could use that version. Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us.”
The new Zayn Malik sound, isn’t designed to be mainstream. Listeners can expect some sexually explicit lyrics and mature subject matter in that new album. This music isn’t aimed just at tween girls, it is for adult people. It contains adult themes.
As Zayn Malik explains, management had One Direction locked into that generic pop, boy band sound, and would not allow them to express their potential or grow as musicians. Of course, sexually explicit lyrics were out of the question. He could never have recorded an album like Mind of Mine with them. The music had to be pure vanilla. Zayn Malik felt severely constrained.
“There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling. I wasn’t 100 percent behind the music. It wasn’t me. It was music that was already given to us, and we were told this is what is going to sell to these people. As much as we were the biggest, most famous boy band in the world, it felt weird. We were told to be happy about something that we weren’t happy about.”
Zayn Malik, finally unfettered and finally happy, will take listeners far from One Direction vanilla, to much more exotic flavors of musical expression with Mind of Mine.
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]