Zayn Malik has been shedding his boy band image since he left One Direction — but is he trying to adopt punk as his new music style?
Billboard noted on June 11 that Wiz Khalifa teamed up with pop-punk band Fall Out Boy for his Boys of Zummer Tour. Could Zayn Malik’s latest moves in the media be his attempt to follow in Wiz Khalifa’s footsteps of working with musicians that identify themselves as punk?
Although the picture the Daily Mail posted on September 9 showing Zayn Malik smoking is hardly a defining punk image — the company he keeps is a better indicator that the next phase of Zayn Malik’s life may include a punk edge.
For example, Zayn Malik and Rita Ora were recently seen together in Hollywood. According to a September 11 report by OK Magazine, the dinner date was more about collaborating on music instead of a potential romantic interaction between Rita Ora and Zayn Malik.
Following that, Rita Ora was seen the very next day wearing a t-shirt that supports the theory that Zayn Malik might be hanging out with punks. The Daily Mail reports on September 10 that Rita Ora was wearing a Dead Kennedy’s t-shirt, but is there more to Rita Ora’s punk roots besides fashion?
As it appears, if Zayn Malik and Rita Ora work on music together, she has a strong punk past that she will bring with her — if she wants. The Belfast Telegraph states on August 23 that Rita Ora was quoted as saying the following about her punk roots.
“[Before becoming famous] I was really involved actually surprisingly enough in my love for punk music and that really graduated to even the style references you know and kind of really focusing on a culture more than anything because for me music is a specific type of culture.”
Adding to the Rita Ora rumors, Zayn Malik and Miley Cyrus are also caught up in collaboration rumors. J-14 reports on September 10, “Zayn Malik has shown that he supports Miley Cyrus and her stance on the music industry, but now rumors of a collaboration are bubbling! #MileyFeatZayn has started trending on Twitter allegedly over a tweeted (and deleted) tease on RCA Record’s account.”
But, is Miley Cyrus a punk? And could she help Zayn Malik enter into this music culture? In reviewing her latest album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz, Daily Atheneum points out on September 7 that Miley Cyrus is at least working with industry talent who describe themselves as having punk roots and states, “The Flaming Lips worked with Cyrus on most of the album’s instrumentals.”
As far as being a part of punk culture, on June 10, the Guardian gives Miley Cyrus punk credit for her ideals in the following analysis.
“The difference between [Miley Cyrus] and a clothes-less Christina Aguilera cradling an electric guitar on the cover of Rolling Stone, for example, is that this is resolutely unsexy. It’s confrontational, Free The Nipple nudity. She doesn’t look coy, or vulnerable. She looks like she’s having a party. She’s taking the 90s Madonna approach to public sexuality: it’s deliberately provocative, and crucially, it is not being served up for male consumption.”
Could hanging out with punk stars like Rita Ora and Miley Cyrus mean that Zayn Malik will write a collaborative album with Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedy’s? Could Zayn Malik be headlining with other old school pop punk artists at Riot Fest in 2016?
It was predicted by Complex U.K. on June 7 that Zayn Malik would definitely go punk with his post-1D career because, like Miley Cyrus, he is thinking like a punk. A piece of their evidence in staking the claim was a tweet from Zayn Malik made on April 30, in which he says, “Is speech an extension to our thoughts or an image that we like to create?”
For now, Zayn Malik has not announced he will be working with underground punk icons in the near future; but, his choice to adopt pop punk style would not be unwelcome by some forerunners in that community.
According to an NME report from July 13, John Lydon a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the 1970s band, The Sex Pistols, stated that he thought Zayn Malik’s old band, One Direction, were “good singers.”
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]