Zayn Malik, former member of the international musical sensation One Direction, put on the first-ever TV performance of his solo career by crooning his new single, “It’s You,” on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, and fans as well as critics agree it was absolutely incredible. Zayn has made it very clear he is done with One Direction and wants to take them on in the charts, and this was a huge step in that direction. Is Zayn Malik the next Justin Timberlake?
Zayn Malik Throws Shade At One Direction
Malik has not been guarded with his contempt for One Directions’s work since he left, basically calling it immature and effeminate.
“That’s not music that I would listen to. Would you listen to One Direction, sat at a party with your girl? I wouldn’t. To me, that’s not an insult, that’s me as a 22-year-old man.”
At one point, in fact, Zayn dropped the f-bomb when discussing One Direction’s music.
“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 as f**k, so they could use that version.”
“Generic as f**k”… ouch.
Well, what Malik unleashed on the world last night certainly wasn’t “generic as f**k,” says The New York Post.
In fact, they write, “it blows away anything that his old group ever did.”
It’s possible that the incredible beauty and melancholy of Zayn’s melodious RnB “It’s You” is due to the fact that the song’s content was very close to Malik’s heart, a fact Zayn revealed in an interview with DJ Zane Lowe.
“It was a form of therapy for me and it did help me get through some s **t,” Malik said.
All the sentimentality and heartthrob Zayn poured into the new track really paid off, and the fans at the show went nuts for Malik’s latest effort.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) February 18, 2016
It seems now that Malik is really trying to make his own mark as a musician and not simply replicate his One Direction beginnings.
Is Zayn Malik The Next Justin Timberlake?
Several months ago, Jay-Z branded Nick Jonas as the next Justin Timberlake. But is it possible that Jay was looking at the wrong boy band? Maybe he should have been looking at one Direction, and maybe Zayn Malik is actually music’s next boy-band-member-turned-superstar.
“I would wake up every morning feeling this more and more of an urge to step out on my own and try my own hand as a musician just by myself,” Timberlake recently said about his departure from NSYNC in 2002.
Malik has said very similar things about his departure from One Direction, commenting on how he felt restrained in One Direction and now feels free to express himself.
“To me, it’s like I stood in front of a canvas for about five years, and someone said like, ‘You’re not allowed to paint on this canvas.’ I’ve got the paint, I’ve got the f*****g brushes, and I can’t get it on there. Now someone removed the plastic and was like, ‘Alright, you can now paint.'”
Also like Timberlake with NSYNC, Malik is enjoying great success after his departure from his former group, although Zayn is being met with even better chart performance than Justin. Timberlake’s first solo single, “Like I Love You,” peaked at #2 on the UK Billboard and #11 in the US, while “Pillow Talk,” Malik’s first single, debuted at #1 in more than a dozen countries. That’s extremely promising for Zayn Malik’s eponymous journey into the music biz.
We’ll find out if Zayn can continue to follow in Justin’s footsteps when Malik’s new album, Mind of Mine, is released on March 25 (see the album art below). It may be a tough legacy to follow, as Timberlake’s debut album came out at #2 on the US Billboard, but the performance of Zayn Malik’s first single and his very promising new tune suggest he may be up to the challenge. Could Zayn Malik be the next Justin Timberlake?
[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]