Since Zayn Malik broke the hearts of millions of girls across the world by quitting One Direction, all eyes have been on the singer to see what his next move was going to be.
He quickly announced that he had plans to record solo music, despite originally stating his reason for quitting One Direction was to step out of the spotlight and enjoy a more private life. After a well publicised spat with former friend and producer Naughty Boy on Twitter, Zayn started to tease the arrival of solo music.
In the past week Zayn has been announced for, and pulled out of, an appearance on The Graham Norton Show, and clips of him talking candidly to Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s Beats 1 have been released where he admits he never felt comfortable in One Direction. Such candid honesty can go one of two ways; your fans can either feel glad that you made a decision that was in your best interests or it can cause a backlash due to biting the hand that’s fed you (and in Zayn’s case he’s made millions from doing something he apparently was never really all that in to).
Today Zayn has unleashed his debut solo single Pillowtalk and it’s clear that his number 1 aim is to distance himself from his former band. Anyone expecting One Direction style solo music is going to be disappointed as Pillowtalk is a decidedly more adult affair that combines R&B with soulful vocals; it really couldn’t be more different from One Direction’s usual output.
Pillowtalk is a collaboration between Zayn and producer Malay (who has worked with Frank Ocean), with the two writing and producing the song together. Zayn has clearly taken inspiration from R&B stars such as Usher and Chris Brown, as he’s slowed down the beat and takes his lyrics straight to the bedroom, complete with several expletives. It’s enough to peak interest from those who never really listened to One Direction but is likely to upset the parents of the kids who followed One Direction since their days on The X Factor.
The bad boy, down and dirty approach has worked for other stars who have left big groups – you just need to look at Robbie Williams to see that he has made a career off the back off his wild behaviour when he first went solo.
As the first taste from Zayn’s forthcoming debut album Mind of Mine (expected 25th March), Pillowtalk does enough to grab your attention. It’s subtler than I would have expected but perhaps that’s why it works as well as it does. Vocally Zayn has never sounded better, and perhaps for the first time fans are hearing what he is actually capable of doing with his voice.
The accompanying video, directed by Bouha Kazmi, stars model Gigi Hadid and is a raunchy affair. It’s certainly nothing like anything One Direction have ever done, and I guess that’s the point!
Pillowtalk is available to stream and download now. Watch the saucy video for Pillowtalk below: