Zayn Malik is creatively driven. Malik has an inborn need to create, and an internal editor that demands quality in everything he does. Zayn’s music has an intensely spiritual quality that is inherently emotional and moving for the listener.
Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine album has only been out since March, and already Zayn is in the studio producing another album. Even though Malik has cut his tour a bit short due to his anxiety, he is driven back into the studio to create more music. Malik seems to enjoy the creative side of music more than the performance, and that also is evidence of his overwhelmingly artistic nature.
Mind of Mine is in some ways very eclectic, with references to sex in the context of love and tenderness. There is also a powerful spiritual melody titled “Intermission: Flowers” that is patterned after a Sufi tradition. The music itself has a Sufi qawwali, East Asian flavor. Sufi is a gentle esoteric East Asian spiritual tradition that encompasses spiritual meditation and visionary experiences as well as the qawwali style of music.
Zayn Malik was heavily influenced by Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan when he wrote “Flowers.” He and his producer Malay actually wrote and recorded the song for the first time beside a Beverly Hills hotel pool. There was a fountain that provided just the right atmosphere, according to this excerpt from his book, quoted in Rolling Stone.
“The pair of us were talking about the Pakistani musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. I was really into him because my dad had played his music a lot at home; I loved that the dude sang in Urdu, for one thing. A lot of people who know his music reckon he was one of the greatest artists of all time. He also turned a lot of people on to qawwali music.”
Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine “Intermission: Flowers” took shape in that moment, with the sound of a gurgling waterfall fountain in the background. Malay and Malik found themselves creating the intense yet gentle melody as well as the lyrics for “Flowers” from an ancient tradition and a small modern guitar.
“Malay set up the mic by the pool. There was a little waterfall nearby that was rippling away, and it really added to the atmosphere. I knew that Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s music came from a spiritual place, and it was also almost like jazz: his band would find a hook, and they would sing and play it, but what happened next was pretty much improvisation, ‘Intermission: Flowers’ soon took on a similar vibe. I was just riffing lyrics in Urdu over Malay’s lopped guitar, and we got it down.”
Mind of Mine’s “Intermission: Flowers” is based on music that finds its roots in a 600-year-old tradition according to The Village Voice.
“Fateh Ali Khan Nusrat, the renowned grandfather of the 600-year-old qawwali tradition (a form of devotion practiced by Sufi Muslims), rings softly in my ear like a musical ghost. There is something strongly spiritual in Zayn’s music, and both Zayn and Nusrat are Pakistani sons.”
Zayn Malik’s powerful inner critic drives his creative process to greater heights. According to recently released excerpts from his new book quoted in Rolling Stone, Zayn is also driven by a powerful need to please his father.
“Man, I know if Dad was to hear me sing like this, it would mean everything.”
Mind of Mine’s “Intermission: Flowers” must have made Mr. Malik very proud, or at least one would think. Z’s album overall is quite a unique production, both lyrically and musically. The melody of “It’s You” is especially haunting, and lyrically it overflows with creativity, but it seems Malik is most proud of “Flowers” which is sung in Urdu.
Zayn Malik grew up idolizing his dad, who worked hard as a personal trainer and set a powerful example of work ethic and striving for excellence in young Zayn. Malik expresses a strong desire to please his father in all that he does. He hopes to make both of his parents proud of him.
Mind of Mine producer Malay is Zayn Malik’s friend and in many ways a fan. He greatly admires Malik’s creativity. Malay is quoted in Just Jarred explaining that he has high expectations for Zayn’s career.
“Zayn is a true artist. He’s got vision and he’s pretty clear about what he wants to do. It also helps that he’s really creative – he’s always drawing, painting or writing stuff; he’s reading all the time, and it comes out in his lyrics. He’s just forever exercising that part of his brain, and I’m excited to see where he ends up. This is just the beginning for him. Now that he’s getting started, I can only imagine where he’s going to be in a few years.”
Zayn Malik’s work on Mind of Mine is exemplary, but it is just the beginning. Malik’s new book titled simply Zayn goes on sale November 1, and will not likely disappoint knowing Z’s instinctive perfectionism. It contains explanations for all Z’s songs and stories about his life as well as Malik’s own artwork and photography.
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Mind of Mine will also have a younger sibling soon as the new album is already being produced. Much excitement surrounds that project as well. Malay is probably correct, and fans have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the wellspring of Zayn Malik’s creativity.
Zayn Malik has also become involved in fashion and is producing a new line of clothing called Zayn x Versus, in collaboration with Donatella Versace. Ms. Versace is very excited about the new line. Malik is involved in many creative projects that are very diverse in nature.
Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine is just the start of a treasury of albums, books, fashion and artwork by Zayn.
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]