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Zayn Malik

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Zayn Malik
Zayn Wiki.jpg
Malik in 2015
Native name زین جواد ملک
Born Zain Javadd Malik
(1993-01-12) 12 January 1993 (age 25)
Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Nationality British
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2010–present
Associated acts One Direction

Zain Javadd "Zayn" Malik (/ˈmælɪk/ Urdu: زین جواد ملک‎; born 12 January 1993), who records mononymously as Zayn, is an English singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Malik auditioned as a solo artist for the British music competition The X Factor in 2010. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Malik was brought back into the competition, along with four other contestants, to form the boy band that would become known as One Direction. Malik split from the group in March 2015 and signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records.

Adopting a more alternative R&B music style with his debut studio album Mind of Mine (2016) and its lead single, "Pillowtalk", Malik became the first British male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with a debut single and debut album. Malik is the recipient of several accolades, including an American Music Award, Billboard Music Award and MTV Video Music Award.

Early life

Zain Javadd Malik[1][2] was born on 12 January 1993[3] in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.[4][5] His father, Yaser Malik, is British Pakistani, and his mother, Tricia Brannan Malik, is English, and of part Irish descent. His mother converted to Islam upon marriage.[4][6][7] He has one older sister, Doniya, and two younger sisters, Waliyha and Safaa.[8][9] He was raised in a working class family,[4] and grew up in a working-class neighbourhood.[10]

Malik grew up in East Bowling, located south of the Bradford city centre. He attended Lower Fields Primary School and Tong High School in Bradford.[11] Malik has stated that he started taking pride in his appearance after moving schools at the age of twelve, and as a teenager he took performing arts courses and appeared in school productions.[12] He grew up listening to his father's urban music records, primarily R&B, hip hop, and reggae.[10] He starting writing raps when he was at school,[13] and sang on stage for the first time when singer Jay Sean visited his school.[14] Malik also did boxing for two years from the ages of 15 to 17.[15] Prior to his music career, he was originally planning to pursue a career as an English teacher.[16]


2010–2015: The X Factor and One Direction

One Direction greeting fans in Stockholm, Sweden, May 2012

In 2010, 17-year-old Malik auditioned in Manchester for the seventh series of reality-television competition The X Factor, but he actually started entertaining five years ago. He sang "Let Me Love You" by Mario as his audition song and was accepted into the next round.[17] Upon auditioning for The X Factor, Malik stated that he was "looking for an experience".[18] He was eliminated before the final round of the competition,[19] but judges Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell grouped him with fellow competitors Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson to form a new act for the remainder of the show, the boy band that would become known as One Direction.[20] The group quickly gained popularity in the UK, finished in third place, and were subsequently signed by Cowell to a reported £2 million Syco Records record contract.[21] They subsequently signed in North America with Columbia Records.[22]

A book licensed by One Direction, One Direction: Forever Young (Our Official X Factor Story), released in February 2011, topped The Sunday Times' Best Seller list.[23][24] The same month, the boy band performed for 500,000 people throughout the UK as part of the X Factor Live Tour.[25] The group's debut studio album Up All Night was released in November 2011. It topped the charts in 16 countries. The lead single, "What Makes You Beautiful", was an international commercial success, reaching number one in the UK and number four in the US; it has since been certified four and six times platinum in the US and Australia, respectively. Subsequent singles, "Gotta Be You" and "One Thing", became top ten hits in the UK. The band's second studio album, Take Me Home, was released in November 2012.[26] The record sold 540,000 copies in its first week in the US and went to number one in 35 countries.[27][28] The album's lead single, "Live While We're Young", became One Direction's highest peaking song in a number of countries and recorded the highest one-week opening sales figure for a song by a non-US artist at the time.[29]

One Direction's third studio album, 2013's Midnight Memories, was a commercial success as well. Its number one debut on Billboard 200 made One Direction the first band in history to have their first three albums all debut atop the Billboard 200. With their fourth album, 2014's Four, they extended the record to four consecutive number-one albums. As of March 2015, the band has sold 6.49 million albums and 23.7 million singles in the United States.[30] The group has sold more than 50 million records globally.[31] Malik quit the band on 25 March 2015, citing his desire to live as a "normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight", after signing off from the band's On the Road Again Tour for an indefinite period six days prior due to stress. He denied rumors of any rift between the members, explaining that the band had been supportive of the decision.[32][33][34] His last public performance in the name of One Direction was On the Road Again Tour in Hong Kong on 18 March 2015 in AsiaWorld Arena.

2015–2017: Mind of Mine

In March 2015, Malik was seen at a London recording studio with producer Naughty Boy.[35] Following his departure from One Direction, Malik alluded to the potential of a solo career, with the release of his first solo studio album to be released under the Syco label in 2016.[36][37] The same month Naughty Boy released on SoundCloud an early demo of Malik's song "I Won't Mind".[38] In June 2015, UK rapper Mic Righteous leaked Malik's "No Type", featuring Mic Righteous and produced by Naughty Boy, a cover version of Rae Sremmurd's hip hop song.[39] Malik also worked with grime rappers Krept & Konan during this time, but the material was never released after Malik parted ways with Naughty Boy.[40] Though unreleased, his work with Naughty Boy and Krept & Konan helped Malik gain a new urban audience in the UK.[41]

By July 2015 Malik announced he had signed a recording deal with RCA Records.[42] Later that year, Malik gave several interviews where he talked about his debut solo studio album and revealed part of the track list. Talking with The Fader, he stated "life experiences have been the influences for the album and just stuff that I've been through, especially in the last five years". In a conversation with Billboard, Malik's main collaborator for the album James "Malay" Ho said they have gone to unusual lengths in pursuit of inspiration during recording sessions, for one “we went camping for a week in the Angeles Forest - set up a generator and a tent so we could track in the woods."[43] In his first solo on-camera interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music's Beats 1, Malik revealed Mind of Mine as the album's title.[44]

Malik at the sets of Ocean's 8, filming his cameo in the upcoming American heist comedy film

The album's lead single, "Pillowtalk", was released in January 2016. The song debuted at number one in a number of countries, including the UK Singles Chart[45] and the US Billboard Hot 100;[46] on the latter, it became the 25th song to debut at number one, making him the first UK artist to debut at number one on the Hot 100 with a first charted single.[46] The single's performance propelled Zayn to number six on the Billboard Artist 100 chart.[47] Worldwide, he had the highest first-day and weekly streams for a debut artist.[48] The album's second official single, "Like I Would", reached number one on Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart.[49] The end of February 2016 also saw the releases of the "Pillowtalk (Lil Wayne Remix)", which features American rapper Lil Wayne, and Chris Brown's R&B song "Back to Sleep (Remix)", featuring Usher and Malik.[50]

The album was released in March 2016 and includes songs co-written by Malik and a team of professional songwriters, whittled down from 46 tracks he reportedly considered for the album;[51] one of the songs on the album features American R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani.[52][53] Primarily R&B and alternative R&B, the album blends elements from a number of genres.[54] Despite the variations in the sounds and genres, Mind of Mine is structured in an "album-as-complete-work" form, maintaining a tightly knit cohesion throughout the record, with an almost seamless transition between and across songs,[41][55][56] while maintaining a recognisable, mostly downbeat, "hazy" tone throughout.[57][58][59][60] This gives the album a continuous flow,[57] and gives the impression that it all came from one person's "mind."[56] The album has received generally positive reviews from music critics, with praise directed towards Malik's new musical direction, his vocals, and the album's music production.[61][62][63]

Mind of Mine debuted at number one in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and United States, where he became the first British male solo artist to debut at number one with his first album. Zayn debuted atop the US Billboard 200 earning 157,000 equivalent album units in its first week, with 112,000 coming from pure album sales.[64] Zayn is also the first UK male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US,[65] and the third artist to debut at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 with debut entries on each chart (along with Lauryn Hill and Clay Aiken).[66] Zayn also topped the Billboard Artist 100 chart, replacing Justin Bieber at the summit,[67] and surpassing One Direction's number-two peak on the chart.[68]

The promotional tour for Mind of Mind included his second solo appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, performances on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater and at the 3rd iHeartRadio Music Awards.[69][70][71] In July 2016, "Cruel", which features Malik, was released by British production team Snakehips.[72] By the end of 2016, Taylor Swift and Malik released a single together called "I Don't Wanna Live Forever", for the soundtrack of the film Fifty Shades Darker (2017),[73] which reached number one in Sweden.[74] Malik also filmed a cameo for the film Ocean's 8 which is scheduled for release on 8 June 2018.[75] Malik has reportedly written an autobiography titled Zayn. He found the writing "therapeutic."[76]

2017: Second studio album

On 24 March 2017, Malik released the single "Still Got Time" in collaboration with PartyNextDoor.[77] Malik announced the second single from the album "Dusk Till Dawn" featuring Sia through his social media. The single was released on 7 September 2017. The accompanying music video featured American actress Jemima Kirke and was directed by Marc Webb.[78]

Fashion career

In 2016 Malik made his debut on The Business of Fashion's annual BoF500 index, which profiles the most influential people in fashion.[79] In January 2017, he released a shoe line with Italian footwear designer Giuseppe Zanotti.[80] The Giuseppe for Zayn capsule collection featured four shoe styles- two boots and two sneakers. In February 2017 the Versus (Versace) Spring Summer 2017 campaign featuring Malik and model Adwoah Aboah was released.[81] In the same month he co-hosted the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund’s Americans in Paris annual cocktail during Paris Fashion Week.[82] Donatella Versace, the chief designer of Versace, appointed Malik as the creative director for a men and women's capsule collection entitled Zayn x Versus, set to be available in May 2017.[83]


Malik cites urban music as his main musical influence, having grown up predominantly with R&B, hip hop, and reggae,[43][84] as well as bop[10] and Bollywood music.[85] He was influenced by his father's urban records, including Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, R. Kelly, Usher, Donell Jones, Prince, 2Pac, Biggie, Gregory Isaacs, Yellowman and Chris Brown.[86][10][87] Malik originally auditioned to be a solo R&B singer, before becoming part of One Direction. His R&B singing style stood out compared to the band's pop rock style; he later cited creative differences as a reason for leaving the band.[10] His solo work leans towards R&B[10] and alternative R&B,[88][89] and occasionally other genres, such as electro-R&B dance music ("Like I Would"),[90][91] hip hop ("Pillowtalk" remix where Malik is rapping and rap-singing with Lil Wayne),[92][93] neo-soul ("Truth"),[94] reggae ("Do Something Good"),[95] and Qawwali ghazal ("Flower"[96][97] where he uses Qawwali vocal techniques such as vocal elisions[98] and warbling).[60]


Malik possesses a wide tenor vocal range, and is known for his belting and falsetto singing techniques and hitting high notes with his vocals.[99][100] He was regarded by Jamieson Cox in Time as the band's strongest singer.[101] Brad Nelson of The Guardian wrote "He was one of the more accomplished vocalists of the group, exhibiting the widest range. He mostly inhabited a silvery, full-bodied tenor, similar to but more sharp and precise than Harry Styles’ smoky warble", asserting that his departure would leave "a void of vocal agility".[102]

Public image

Malik performing during the Where We Are Tour in 2014

Malik was known as the "Bradford Bad Boy" of One Direction, due to his mischievous behaviour, scandals, many tattoos, graffiti art, and rock star hairstyles.[103][104][105] Since prior to X-Factor, Malik has been a fan of tattoos, saying that he likes "getting tattoos and that he loves the whole culture behind them."[12] His first tattoo was revealed on his Twitter account. Malik got his maternal grandfather's name inked in Arabic: والتر (Walter). Since then, Malik has had several more tattoos.[106] Discussing Malik's possible solo career after leaving the boyband, Billboard editor Joe Lynch described him as "the quiet one in the group [...] never the one to grab the spotlight during interviews. He typically saved his words for the songs, not for media soundbytes."[107]

In Pakistan, Malik is often named in the list of notable Pakistanis who live abroad.[108] In 2011, he was ranked number 27 on Glamour's "World's Sexiest Men" list.[109] In 2014, Malik was voted British GQ's best dressed male.[110] In 2015, he was voted the "Sexiest Male In Pop" in a poll by British radio network Capital,[111] voted as the "World's Sexiest Asian Man" based on a worldwide poll by the British newspaper Eastern Eye,[112] voted second place in a poll of the "World’s top ten bachelors" by Manchester's Crown Clinic,[113] and ranked number six on MTV's "50 sexiest men alive" list.[114] In 2016, he was ranked number five on Glamour magazine's "100 Sexiest Men" list.[115] As of April 2016, Forbes estimates his online social media following (across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pandora) to be over 50 million users.[116] Malik's fandom is known as Zquad.[117] In 2016, Malik was voted again as the "World's Sexiest Asian Man" in a worldwide poll by the British newspaper Eastern Eye.[118]

Personal life

Malik began dating singer Perrie Edwards of Little Mix in early 2012;[119] they got engaged in 2013.[120] On 4 August 2015, Malik's representative confirmed that the couple had ended their engagement.[121]

Malik has been in a relationship with American model Gigi Hadid since 2015.[122] Hadid appeared in Zayn's music video for "Pillowtalk". They appeared together on the August 2017 cover of Vogue [123] Malik and Hadid are only the third couple to appear together on the Vogue cover. Malik and Hadid also did a Versus (Versace) campaign as a couple, with Hadid as the photographer.[124][125]

Malik is a Muslim;[10][108] he identifies with the religion, but is generally non-practicing and does not "want to be defined by my religion or my cultural background."[126] He speaks English, Urdu and can read Arabic.[127] He has been the target of anti-Muslim slurs,[10][128] which led to him deleting his Twitter account in 2012.[129] During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Malik posted the message "#FreePalestine" on Twitter, resulting in him receiving angry responses and death threats.[130] He has since avoided publicly expressing political views.[13] He said that, after the release of his debut album, he plans to pursue an academic degree in English or literature (which he originally intended to study before his music career), while at the same time writing his next album.[131]

He is an official ambassador of the British Asian Trust charity group, contributing to improving the lives of disadvantaged people living in South Asia.[132] With his former group One Direction, he contributed to African fundraising events with Comic Relief.[133] In March 2016, he bought a box at Bradford City for underprivileged children to watch football, named after his maternal grandfather Walter Brannan.[134]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 The X Factor Himself Contestant (Series 7)
2012 iCarly Himself Guest role (S6E2)
Saturday Night Live Himself Musical guest (S37E18)
2013 One Direction: This Is Us Himself
Saturday Night Live Himself Musical guest (S39E8)
2014 Where We Are – The Concert Film Himself
Saturday Night Live Himself Musical guest (S40E10)
One Direction: The TV Special Himself
2016 The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Himself Musical guest (Episode 419)
Musical guest (Episode 440)
The Voice Himself Musical guest (Season 10, Finals)
2018 Ocean's 8 Himself Cameo

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominee/work Result Ref.
2015 The Asian Awards Outstanding Contribution to Music Zayn Won [135]
Teen Choice Awards Fashion Choice Male Hottie Nominated [136]
2016 MTV Italian Music Awards Best International Male Nominated [137]
MTV Millennial Awards International Hit of the Year "Pillowtalk" Nominated [138]
Much Music Video Awards iHeartRadio International Artist of the Year Zayn Nominated [139]
Most Buzzworthy International Artist or Group Nominated [140]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Artist Nominated [141]
Choice Song: Male Artist Nominated
Choice Music: Breakout Artist Won
Choice Summer Song "Like I Would" Nominated
Choice Summer Male Star Zayn Won
Choice Style: Male Nominated
Social Media King Nominated
Choice Male Hottie Nominated [142]
MTV Video Music Awards Best Visual Effects "Like I Would" Nominated [143]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best UK Act Zayn Nominated [144]
BMI London Awards Pop Award Songs "Night Changes" Won [145]
American Music Awards New Artist of the Year Zayn Won [146]
Music Choice Best New Solo Artist Won [147]
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Breakout Artist Nominated [148]
Favorite Song "Pillowtalk" Nominated
Brit Awards British Single of the Year Nominated
British Video Nominated
Billboard Power 100 Power Artists Zayn Won [149]
iHeartRadio Music Awards Best Music Video "Pillowtalk" Nominated [150]
Best New Pop Artist Zayn Nominated
Best Solo Breakout Won
NME Awards Best British Male Nominated [151]
Best Book Nominated
Radio Disney Music Awards Best Collaboration "I Don't Wanna Live Forever"
(with Taylor Swift)
Nominated [152]
Billboard Music Awards Top New Artist Zayn Won [153]
Teen Choice Awards Choice Collaboration "I Don't Wanna Live Forever"
(with Taylor Swift)
MTV Video Music Awards Best Collaboration Won [154]
BMI London Awards Song of the Year "Pillowtalk" Nominated [155]
Pop Award Songs Won [156]
MTV Europe Music Awards Best Look Zayn Won [157]
2018 2018 Brit Awards British Video of the Year I Don't Wanna Live Forever (with Taylor Swift) Pending


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External links

  • Official website
  • Zayn Malik on IMDb
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