Zayn Malik has revealed a lot about himself, and his music, just by leaking a few excerpts from his book Zayn. The book will not become available until November 1, but Malik has been kind enough to share several excerpts with the press, ahead of the book’s release.
Zayn Malik gave Billboard an excerpt about his inspirations for writing Mind of Mine. There have been a lot of speculations, about the beautiful sexy love songs, like “It’s You,” and “She.” Were these songs about Gigi Hadid or Perrie Edwards? Were they about his high school sweetheart, dream girl, or imaginary lover? Perhaps the lyrics just came from Zayn’s imagination and not memory?
Zayn Malik did not reveal in the excerpt whether or not he was thinking of a specific girl when he wrote his songs. His lyrics were not filled with clues as to the identity of the girl or girls either. Perhaps at least some of those details will be revealed in the book, but certainly not in these excerpts.
Zayn Malik did reveal in this excerpt in Billboard, his musical influences and inspirations at the time he was writing Mind of Mine, though.
“I’d been listening to a lot of tracks by The Beatles when I was working on it. I had really got into some of their more psychedelic stuff, like ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’ from the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The piano chords at the start of ‘Fool for You,’ and the guitars, were inspired by The Beatles’ sound…I like to draw on the influence of all sorts of music and artists.”
The Mind of Mine album does seem to be very influenced lyrically and musically by the spirit of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” The influence of John Lennon’s music is just apparent to an educated listener, but what Zayn Malik did with this influence is quite creative.
One Direction was often compared to the Beatles with Harry Styles being considered the Paul McCartney of 1D. There are some strong parallels between Harry and Paul musically, but Zayn Malik is the obvious John Lennon of the crowd.
Mind of Mine reflects a warm familiarity of Lennon to a Beatles fan, that is hard to define. Yet Zayn has his own unique way of interpreting the underlying spirit of Lennon.
Zayn Malik did not in any way copy John Lennon’s work. Rather he incorporated the style and concept while totally doing his own thing with it. Strangely, it was almost as if Lennon was putting out new music, within today’s parameters, and within the R&B genre. The spirit of Lennon’s music plays a role in Zayn’s work, yet it is uniquely Zayn.
John Lennon wrote “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds,” in 1967. It was an earth shatteringly unique piece, at the time. “Lucy in the Sky” stood apart, redefining the new genre of rock and roll, and fleshing out a style within that genre called psychedelic rock. It was an iconic example, to say the least.
Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine has those John Lennon style poetically cryptic lyrics that seem to stand for a good bit more than is stated on the surface. The album shows a lot of creativity and a unique spin on a classic rock influence, that is at the same time very R&B and more than a bit contemporary. Still, there is a sort of timeless quality to Malik’s debut album.
Zayn Malik’s Mind of Mine had a far older influence as well. Zayn was influenced by Pakistani recording artist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan when he wrote “Intermission: Flower.” Ali Khan’s music is part of a 600-year-old East Asian traditional style of music called qawwali. The Rolling Stone offered this quote from “Zayn.”
“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.”
John Lennon and Zayn Malik were both influenced by the music and culture of East Asia. Lennon was heavily influenced by the life in ashrams in India. He was not alone in this. In the 1960s, great Gurus and Yogis were quite popular among the young people of those times. Even Apple founder Steve Jobs went to study the various spiritual influences of India.
Mind of Mine by Zayn Malik utilizes the eastern influence heavily in “Flowers,” but the slight hint is there in other songs as well. These types of eastern influences in music can give an exotic flavor to any song or album.
From John Lennon to Marty Friedman and on to Zayn Malik, the sounds of East Asia are used to contribute intricate complexities that add to uniqueness. Malik’s first solo effort is masterful, especially for a debut album. Fans await the second album anxiously.
Zayn Malik, though, is never overconfident. It is what makes life difficult for him at times, but it is also what sets Mind of Mine apart as a great and cohesive album. Zayn confided in the book excerpt given to Billboard that he wrote about twice as many songs as he needed for his first album.
“When I’d finally finished recording Mind of Mine, I realized I had put down 48 songs. I couldn’t believe we had so many. It was a nightmare choosing the final list, especially because all the songs meant a lot to me, and I procrastinated as much as I could before making my decision. In the end, it all came together; the songs chosen for the album spoke for themselves.”
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Now Zayn Malik is writing and recording more songs in the studio for his second album. His talent as an artist has been proven in Mind of Mine. Zayn will no doubt improve even more because that is just nature for artists like Malik. His book is also going to be a treat for fans.
Zayn Malik’s book titled ‘Zayn’ reveals that “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” was an inspiration for ‘Mind Of Mine.’
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]