Zayn Malik, Harry Styles May Compete For Top Album In 2016

Since Zayn Malik left One Direction, fans have been anticipating his first song released. Unfortunately, outside of “Befour,” there has been little progress as far as Zayn Malik and publishing his music goes, and now it looks like Harry Styles might beat him to the punch.

According to E! Online, unlike Zayn Malik, Harry Styles has already been making good on his break from One Direction by recording four songs without them. So far, Harry Styles has registered “Coco,” “5378 Miles,” “Already Home,” and “Endlessly.”

Zayn Malik has been dreaming of a solo career for 10 years.
Zayn Malik told Fader that he has been wanting to make a solo album for the past 10 years. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Interestingly, there is no mention of Zayn Malik or any of the other members of One Direction in Harry Styles’ listings for co-writers and performers. But the big question here is whether Harry Styles will become a big competitor in the music charts if Zayn Malik also releases music in 2016.

On top of that, it looks like Harry Styles will have some help beating out Zayn Malik in 2016 — from Jay Z. The Irish Examiner quotes Jay Z saying the following about Harry Styles around the first of January.

“I would love to sign Harry [Styles]. Simon [Cowell] is going to want to carry on working with him, of course. But we could do a joint venture – we both have big qualities we can bring to the table.”

On the other hand, no one can accuse Zayn Malik of not trying to be the first former or present member of 1D to get new music out in 2016. In addition to his new record deal with RCA, according to Entertainment Weekly, Zayn Malik is working with Malay and Frank Ocean to produce his new music.

Just like Harry Styles, when Zayn Malik first quit One Direction, he was approached by Americans like 50 Cent to sign a record deal. (Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

In his interview with Fader, Zayn Malik made a point of releasing part of an upcoming single, called “Befour.” Zayn Malik also talked about working with producer James “Malay” Ho in the Fader interview, and Malay has posted pictures on Instagram of his tent-in-the-woods recording sessions with Zayn Malik, according to Capital FM.

Zayn Malik also gave his fans insight about what his new music will be like, and also mentioned R&B eight times. One of Zayn Malik’s main references to R&B was his father’s influence on his musical tastes in childhood. Regardless, when Zayn Malik tried to bring R&B to One Direction, it was a largely rejected concept and, about that, Zayn Malik stated the following.

“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***, so they could use that version. Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us… I wasn’t 100 percent behind the music. It wasn’t me.”

Of course, when Zayn Malik quit One Direction, it was revealed that he did not care for the style of music 1D represented, but few fans had an idea of what Zayn Malik music would sound like — and so far there’s only one Zayn-approved sample.

That sample is “Befour,” and it appears that this Zayn Malik-centric recording works with an echoing, grain-silo recording style that is similar to the unique sound that My Morning Jacket had in their 2005 album, Z.

Z was reviewed by Pitchfork in 2005, and the description included references to R&B. By far one of their most personal albums, Z was a tribute to lead singer Jim James’ childhood best friend and musician/composer, Aaron Todovich, who died in 2003.

Naturally, it is apparent that the song name, “Befour,” is also a type of tribute to a certain wonderful, yet sad, chapter of Zayn Malik’s life that had closed. About the upcoming music he expects to release in 2016, Zayn Malik stated the following to Fader.

“I can map every lyric and every note to mean something to me. It’s a snapshot of my life and the thoughts on my life, my hopes, my aspirations, and my regrets in the summer of 2015.”

Other descriptions of Zayn Malik’s new style represented in “Befour” comes from Rolling Stone. On November 17, 2015, they write the following description of Zayn Malik’s latest solo work.

“In an accompanying video with the cover story, Malik previews new song ‘Befour,’ with the track suggesting a hazy, Weeknd-influenced R&B sound.”

Sadly, there is a lot of evidence that many fans will have a hard time choosing between Harry Styles or Zayn Malik in 2016 due to their extreme delectable-ness, according to PopCrush.

Nevertheless, it appears that Zayn Malik (if he continues along a rock/R&B angle with his music) and Harry Styles may not be competing within the same genre.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]