Zayn Malik is a name nearly everyone knows, but only in connection with X-Factor, One Direction, and his new solo album. He’s also known for his beautiful girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, but Zayn had a life before 1D, and he has a bright future ahead of him, including some rather exciting news about his latest career decisions. So keep reading to learn about his past, his present, and his exciting future.
Zayn Malik, the son of a Pakistani father, Yaser Malik, and an English mother, Tricia Brannan Malik, grew up in Bradford, a working class neighborhood with a lot of strong English working class values. Zayn told The Fader, the neighborhood of his childhood left a powerful impression on him.
“The whole vibe of Bradford is influential. It’s not the most funded place, in terms of the government, but there’s a lot of character there. There’s a lot of strong family values. Everybody’s very proud, and everybody’s stuck in their ways.”
As a youngster, Zayn Malik went to the mosque regularly and read the Koran through at least three times according to his mother. That too influenced him and helped to create a powerful sense of balance in his thinking. His mother converted to the faith in order to marry his father. Zayn has three sisters, Safaa, Waliyha, and Doniya. He often credits them for his strong appreciation of intelligent women, as described in Us Weekly.
Before Zayn Malik became One Direction’s allegedly most mysterious member, a label that always made Zayn a bit less than comfortable, he was just a shy but sweet kid growing up in Bradford. It was here, Malik says, that he learned his values, his stubbornness, and developed his overall strength of character. It was in Bradford he discovered his identity and the importance of staying aware of his true identity no matter where life takes him.
“That rubbed off on me a little bit and made me a stubborn person, and made me very aware of who I was. If you weren’t aware of that in Bradford, you kind of got left behind.”
Zayn Malik means beautiful king in Arabic. Zayn was always a beautiful child, and today he’s certainly living the life of a king. His impressively huge home in a gated community near London is in stark contrast to his childhood home. The pure white structure, accented with chrome, is both elegant and tasteful, as seen in the video below.
“This is my dream house. The neighborhoods I came from were not like this.”
Zayn Malik is living a great life thanks to his tremendous talent and a little show called X-Factor UK that recognized that talent. Zayn has spent a quarter of his 22 years in the spotlight as a famous pop star. Malik isn’t keeping all that cash for himself, though. He says his most important goal since the days of X-Factor was to help his family. He gifted them with a nice house, and he is paying for his cousin to go to a private school in London.
“In whatever way I can help them right now, because I’ve been almost gifted in a way, I do. I feel like it’s my responsibility.”
One Direction was Zayn’s bread and butter, as well as his perpetual occupation for five years. He worked hard and made his fortune, but still he felt unfulfilled. A little over a year ago, Malik left 1D to become a successful solo artist.
Zayn Malik also left his girlfriend of three years only five short months after leaving One Direction. Zayn broke up with Perrie Edwards after a full year of engagement. He soon found Gigi Hadid, with whom he had a lot in common. Gigi also grew up in a household with one middle eastern parent and one western parent. Gigi is a Victoria’s Secret supermodel who can relate to Zayn’s struggles with fame, occasional stage fright, and discomfort with media attention.
One Direction happened through a series of small miracles. First, Malik says, one could attribute his presence at the audition to his mother. Describing himself as a lazy kid, he says he would have never gotten up that morning and made it to the audition had it not been for his mom’s insistence. It was his dream, but it was her strength of will that got him out of bed that morning.
Zayn Malik made the first cut but not the second. He really didn’t make it through boot camp as a solo act. His biggest enemy was his shyness. Zayn now knows that he suffers from a degree of social anxiety that can render him unable to perform on stage occasionally. At the time, they just called it shyness. It was for that reason, and the various reasons that Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, and Louis Tomlinson couldn’t quite make it on their own either, at such a tender age, that brought about the idea of forming a group.
When One Direction came in third, Malik winked into the camera and stated with uncharacteristic confidence that this was not the end.
“This isn’t the last of One Direction.”
One Direction turned out to be the group of the century, with popularity only exceeded by the Beatles in all of modern history.
Zayn Malik has been an exemplary role model. He appreciates his fans and provides an example of youthful moderation in his religious values. He’s exhibiting a balanced life and he is an inspiration to many young people both Muslim and western, showing that one can have a strong faith without all the outward trappings or material restrictions.
“I’m just a normal person as well as following my religion, and doing all the normal things that everybody else does. I love music and I get tattoos and I make mistakes, and I’ve had to go through relationships and break up relationships. I feel proud that people actually look to me and can see themselves in that.”
Zayn Malik told The Fader he never felt any pressure, though, to be any sort of icon. He strongly identifies as being none other than himself. Shy though he may be, Zayn will not deny his own unique identity. He is religious, but he is also a lot of other things, and he alone decides the balance. He feels no pressure to be any different than the person he has always been, regardless of his overwhelming fame or being in the spotlight constantly.
“I don’t feel like I felt pressure ever. I always felt good that I was, like, first of my kind in what I was doing. I enjoyed that I brought the diversity. But I would never be trying to influence anything or try to stamp myself as a religious statement or portrayal of anything. I am me. I’m just doing me.”
Since Zayn Malik Departed from One Direction, he’s been enjoying just being himself. He is his own man, as explained in The Fader. He is proud of his life now, building a life that does not revolve completely around public opinion and building a clean boy band reputation. He’s full-on R&B now and playing music for grown-ups, and it feels good.
“A big part of why I left the band is I made the realization that it wasn’t actually about [being the biggest] anymore. It wasn’t about the amount of ticket sales that I get. It was more about the people that I reach. I want to reach them in the right way, and I want them to believe what I’m saying. I’ve done enough in terms of financial backing for me to live comfortably. I just want to make music now… I’ve got enough. I don’t need you to buy it on a mass scale for me to feel satisfied.”
Zayn Malik’s first solo album was, in fact, a huge success, but Zayn isn’t stopping there. He is, however, changing direction completely for a while. From X-Factor, through One Direction, and onto the solo album, Zayn has always been about performing, but now he’s going to give TV producing a shot.
Yes, Zayn Malik is now executive producer of a brand new television show, from the makers of the globally popular Entourage. The Sun reports that the new show will be about a boy-band, much like One Direction, but not specifically 1D. Casting for the show will begin next month, and few details have been released. However, there is a possibility that Malik may cast himself in one of the roles according to The Sun.
Zayn Malik has a firm grip on his future plans and is calling his own shots since leaving One Direction.
[Photo by New2/Getty Images]