Zayn Malik broke a million hearts last year when he walked out on One Direction just weeks into their “On The Road Again” world tour. There had been signs that Malik was struggling to cope with life in the world’s biggest “boy-band.” The cracks had been showing for months, and rumors suggested that Zayn was headed for the exit door. Malik’s exit caused panic partly because many One Direction fans feared that Zayn’s departure could lead to the break-up of One Direction.
It was clear that Malik needed a break to explore his own creative road. Malik confirmed that he felt constrained creatively as a member of One Direction, and in an interview with Fader Zayn, controversially stated that he thought One Direction’s music was as “generic as f**k.”
Zayn followed up with an interview in Billboard, where he explained the level to which One Direction’s image is controlled by their management.
“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?”
It is clear that Malik was determined to forge his own path and Zayn’s fans have eagerly awaited the release of his first solo single. One Direction fans are a loyal lot, and millions of them retained a loyalty to Zayn and were excited to hear what direction his solo material would take.
Malik’s debut single “Pillow Talk” dropped last Friday, January 29 and is set to top the charts across the planet. According to NME, Malik told the Times that his new material would be much more adult orientated than his work with One Direction.
“Everybody has sex, and it’s something people want to hear about. It’s part of everybody’s life, a very big part of life! And you don’t want to sweep it under the carpet. It has to be talked about.”
Malik has certainly delivered on that promise. According to NME, Malik has said that his debut solo single “Pillow Talk” is about “dirty and raw” sex, and it is a song that definitely requires a little parental guidance.
Now Malik has released an acoustic version of his single, and in many ways, it really isn’t what you might expect.
Malik’s “living room session” version of the single strips away the production and electro feel of the original and replaced with an acoustic guitar. The original undoubtedly scores the R&B feel that Zayn envisaged as he wrote the song, but it is in the acoustic version that we really see Malik showcase his talent as a songwriter and as a performer.
The emotion inherent in Malik’s songwriting comes over much more clearly in the acoustic version and bodes well for Malik’s debut solo album, Mind of Mine, which will be released in the spring.
While Malik’s new music looks set to be a huge hit, the Mirror reports today that Zayn seems keen to avoid bumping into his former fiance, Little Mix star Perrie Edwards. Malik was in negotiations to appear at Radio 1’s “Big Weekend” festival shows in May. It seems that negotiations have broken down, because Zayn was asked to appear on the same day as Little Mix.
“Zayn’s team don’t want it to become ‘a thing’ if the two of them are backstage at the same time. It will take the shine off his performance, because many people would then just talk about his past relationship.
“Zayn and his team really want his solo career to be all about the music.”
Apparently, Zayn wants to avoid the gossip that would undoubtedly emerge if Malik and Edwards bumped into each other backstage.
While Malik may want his music to do his talking for him Zayn will need to avoid developing a reputation as an unreliable guest on radio and TV shows. Malik cancelled appearances on Graham Norton’s TV show and on Greg James’ radio shows at the last minute and has drawn some fierce criticism as a result.
[Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP]