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Zayn Malik

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Zayn Malik
Zayn Wiki.jpg
Malik in 2015
Born Zain Javadd Malik
(1993-01-12) 12 January 1993 (age 23)
Bradford, England, UK
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active 2010–present
Net worth $49 million
Religion Sunni Muslim[1]
Partner(s) Perrie Edwards (2012–2015)
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Associated acts

Zain Javadd "Zayn" Malik (/ˈmælɪk/; born 12 January 1993) is an English singer and songwriter. In 2010, Malik auditioned as a solo artist for the British reality television music competition The X Factor. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Malik was brought back into the competition, along with Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson, to form the boy band One Direction. During his time in the group, Malik and his bandmates released the albums Up All Night (2011), Take Me Home (2012), Midnight Memories (2013), and Four (2014). In March 2015, Malik's representative announced the singer's departure from the band.

Malik signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records in 2015, with his debut studio album Mind of Mine released on 25 March 2016. The album and its lead single, "Pillowtalk", reached number one in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, with Malik becoming the first British male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with his debut single and debut album.

Early life

Zain Javadd Malik[5][6] was born on 12 January 1993[7] in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England.[2][8] His father, Yaser Malik, is British Pakistani, and his mother, Tricia Brannan Malik, is English, and of part Irish descent; she converted to Islam upon marriage.[2][3][4] He has one older sister, Doniya, and two younger sisters, Waliyha and Safaa.[9][10] He was raised in a working class family,[2] and grew up in a working-class neighbourhood.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13] He grew up listening to his father's urban music records, primarily R&B, hip hop, and reggae, as well as Bollywood music.[11] He starting writing raps when he was at school,[14] and sang on stage for the first time when singer Jay Sean visited his school.[15] Malik also did boxing when he was 15 to 17 years old.[16] Prior to his music career, he was originally planning to pursue an English degree at university.[17]


2010–2015: The X Factor and One Direction

Main article: One Direction
Malik with One Direction on The X Factor Live tour in 2011

In 2010, 17-year-old Malik auditioned in Manchester for the seventh series of reality-television competition The X Factor. He sang "Let Me Love You" by Mario as his audition song and was accepted into the next round.[18] Upon auditioning for The X Factor, Malik stated that he was "looking for an experience".[19] He was eliminated before the final round of the competition,[20] 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.[21] 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.[22] They subsequently signed in North America with Columbia Records.[23]

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.[24][25] The same month, the boy band performed for 500,000 people throughout the UK as part of the X Factor Live Tour.[26] 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.[27] The record sold 540,000 copies in its first week in the US and went to number one in 35 countries.[28][29] 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.[30]

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.[31] The group has sold more than 50 million records globally.[32] 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.[33][34][35] 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–present: Mind of Mine

See also: Mind of Mine

In March 2015, Malik was seen at a London recording studio with producer Naughty Boy, leading to speculation of the pair working on music together.[36] 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.[37][38] On 31 March 2015, Naughty Boy released on SoundCloud an early demo of Malik's song "I Won't Mind".[39] 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.[40] With Naughty Boy as his producer, Malik also worked with grime rappers Krept & Konan during this time, recording a song together with an unfinished music video, but the material was never released after Malik parted ways with Naughty Boy.[41] Though unreleased, his work with Naughty Boy and Krept & Konan helped Malik gain a new urban audience in the UK.[42]

On 29 July 2015, Malik announced he had signed a recording deal with RCA Records.[43] 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". He said musically the record leans towards R&B, with some tracks influenced by R&B-rock and reggae.[11] 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."[44] 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.[45] The album includes 18 songs written by Malik, whittled down from 46 tracks he wrote;[46] one of the songs on the album features American R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani.[47]

The album's lead single "Pillowtalk" was released along with its accompanying music video on 29 January 2016,[48] described by music critics as a downtempo electronic[49] R&B slow jam,[50] leaning towards PBR&B,[51][52] or alternative R&B.[53][54] The song debuted at number one in a number of countries, including the UK Singles Chart[55] and the US Billboard Hot 100;[56] 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.[56] The single's performance propelled Zayn to number six on the Billboard Artist 100 chart.[57] Worldwide, he had the highest first-day and weekly streams for a debut artist.[58] The album's second official single "Like I Would" was released on 10 March 2016, and is an electro-R&B dance track.[59][60]

The album Mind of Mine was made available for pre-order on 25 February 2016, along with the digital release of the promotional single "iT's YoU" and its music video, the latter as an Apple Music exclusive.[61][62] The second promotional single, "Befour", was released on 17 March 2016,[63] and has been described as smooth R&B.[64] The music video for "Befour" was released on 25 March 2016,[65] and was shot in Manchester's Miles Platting district, dramatising what Malik's working class teenage life was like in Northern England.[66]

On 25 February 2016, "Pillowtalk (Lil Wayne Remix)" was released, featuring American rapper Lil Wayne; it is a hip hop remix that features rapping by Lil Wayne along with rapping and rap-singing by Zayn.[67][68] The following day saw the release of Chris Brown's R&B song "Back to Sleep (Remix)" featuring Usher and Zayn.[69]

The album Mind of Mine was released on 25 March 2016.[70] Primarily R&B and alternative R&B, the album blends elements from a number of genres.[71] 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,[42][72][73] while maintaining a recognizable, mostly downbeat, "hazy" tone throughout.[74][75][76][77] This gives the album a continuous flow,[74] and gives the impression that it all came from one person's "mind."[73] 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.[78][79][80]

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.[81] Zayn is also the first UK male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US,[82] 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).[83] Zayn also topped the Billboard Artist 100 chart, replacing Justin Bieber at the summit,[84] and surpassing One Direction's number-two peak on the chart.[85]

On 24 March 2016, Malik made his second solo appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. On 25 March 2016, he performed on the Honda Stage at the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City.[86][87] Zayn performed at the 3rd iHeartRadio Music Awards on 3 April 2016.[88] In July 2016 he featured on the single "Cruel" released by the British production team Snakehips.[89]


Musical style and influences

Malik cites urban music as his main musical influence, having grown up predominantly with R&B, hip hop, and reggae,[44][90] as well as bop[11] and Bollywood music.[91] He was influenced by his father's urban records, including R. Kelly, Usher, Donell Jones, Prince, 2Pac, Biggie, Gregory Isaacs, and Yellowman,[11] as well as Chris Brown.[92] 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.[11] His solo work leans towards R&B[11] and alternative R&B,[53][54] and occasionally other genres, such as electro-R&B dance music ("Like I Would"),[59][60] hip hop ("Pillowtalk" remix where Malik is rapping and rap-singing with Lil Wayne),[67][68] neo-soul ("Truth"),[93] reggae ("Do Something Good"),[94] and Qawwali ghazal ("Flower"[95][96] where he uses Qawwali vocal techniques such as vocal elisions[97] and warbling).[77]


Malik possesses a wide tenor vocal range, and is known for his belting and falsetto singing techniques and hitting high notes with his vocals.[98][99] He was regarded as the band's strongest singer,[100] as Brad Nelson of The Guardian writes "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".[101]

Public image

Malik performing at 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.[102][103][104] 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."[13] 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.[105] 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."[106]

In 2011, he was ranked number 27 on Glamour's "World's Sexiest Men" list.[107] In 2014, Malik was voted British GQ's best dressed male.[108] In 2015, he was voted the "Sexiest Male In Pop" in a poll by British radio network Capital,[109] voted the "World's Sexiest Asian Man" in a worldwide poll by British newspaper Eastern Eye,[110] voted second place in a poll of the "World’s top ten bachelors" by Manchester's Crown Clinic,[111] and ranked number six on MTV's "50 sexiest men alive" list.[112] In 2016, he was ranked number five on Glamour magazine's "100 Sexiest Men" list.[113] As of April 2016, Forbes estimates his online social media following (across Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pandora) to be 47 million users.[114]

Personal life

Malik began dating Perrie Edwards of Little Mix in early 2012;[115] they got engaged in 2013.[116] On 4 August 2015, Malik's representative confirmed that the couple had ended their engagement.[117] In 2016, he has been dating model Gigi Hadid.[14] Hadid and Malik were featured together in a fashion spread for the May 2016 edition of Vogue.[118]

Malik is Muslim.[11][1] He speaks English and Urdu, and can read Arabic.[119] He has been the target of anti-Muslim slurs,[11][120] which led to him deleting his Twitter account in 2012.[121] During the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, Malik posted the message "#FreePalestine" on Twitter, resulting in him receiving angry responses and death threats.[122] He has since avoided publicly expressing political views.[14] 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.[123]

He is an official ambassador of the British Asian Trust charity group, contributing to improving the lives of disadvantaged people living in South Asia.[124] With his former group One Direction, he contributed to African fundraising events with Comic Relief.[125] In March 2016, he bought a box at Bradford City for underprivileged children to watch football, named after his maternal grandfather Walter Brannan.[126] As of April 2015, shortly after he left One Direction, the BBC speculated that Malik's net worth was £25 million ($38 million).[127] As of April 2016, Gigwise speculated that his net worth was £30 million ($46 million).[128]



Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
Mind of Mine 1 1 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 1

Extended plays

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions, sales figures and certifications
Title Extended play details
Like I Would (The Remixes)
  • Released: 27 May 2016
  • Label: RCA
  • Formats: CD, digital download


As lead artist

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Pillowtalk" 2016 1 1 3 1 1 3 2 1 1 1 Mind of Mine
"Like I Would" 30 31 47 23 32 57 38 39 55
(featuring Kehlani)
118 96 [A]

As featured artist

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album
"Back to Sleep" (Remix)
(Chris Brown featuring Usher and Zayn)[69]
2016 Non-album single
(Snakehips featuring Zayn)[156]
33 34 145 55 32 89
(M.I.A. featuring Zayn)
"—" denotes a single that did not chart or was not released.

Promotional singles

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"It's You" 2016 48 9 38 71 65 74 50 97 59 Mind of Mine
"Befour" 85 16 86 61 98 [B]

Other charted songs

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
"She" 2016 84 15 92 80 [C] Mind of Mine
"Drunk" 124 27
"Rear View" 165 37
"Fool for You" 149 31 31
"TIO" 160 33
"Who" 144 Ghostbusters

Other appearances

Title Year Other Artists Album
"Who"[165] 2016 Ghostbusters (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
"You Can’t Hide / You Can’t Hide From Yourself (Touch of Class GMF Remix)"[166] Teddy Pendergrass, Grandmaster Flash The Get Down: Original Soundtrack From the Netflix Original Series

Music videos

Title Artist Year Director(s) YouTube Ref.
View count Upload date
"Pillowtalk" Zayn 2016 Bouha Kazmi 645,582,914 28 January 2016 [48]
"It's You" Ryan Hope 19,676,357 28 March 2016 [61]
"Befour" 33,749,545 24 March 2016 [167]
"Like I Would" Director X 28,232,257 9 May 2016 [168]
(featuring Zayn)
Snakehips Alex Southam 12,560,769 9 August 2016 [169]

Songwriting credits

The following list shows Malik's songwriting credits before and after his solo career. He is also the lead songwriter for all of the songs on his debut studio album Mind of Mine.[46][170]

Year Title Artist Album Notes
2011 "Taken" One Direction Up All Night Co-writer
"Everything About You"
"Same Mistakes"
2012 "Last First Kiss" Take Me Home
"Summer Love"
"Live While We're Young" (Dave Audé remix)
2013 "Story of My Life" Midnight Memories
2014 "Fool's Gold" Four
"Night Changes"
"Change Your Ticket"
2016 "Cruel" Snakehips TBA
"Freedun" M.I.A. AIM


Year Title Role Notes
2010 The X Factor Himself Contestant (Series 7)
2012 iCarly Himself Guest role (Season 6, Episode 2)
Saturday Night Live Himself Musical guest (Season 37, Episode 18)
2013 One Direction: This Is Us Himself
Saturday Night Live Himself Musical guest (Season 39, Episode 8)
2014 Where We Are – The Concert Film Himself
Saturday Night Live Himself Musical guest (Season 40, Episode 10)
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)

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result
2015 The Asian Awards Outstanding Contribution to Music[171] Won
Teen Choice Awards Fashion Choice Male Hottie[172] Nominated
2016 MTV Italian Music Awards Best International Male[173] Nominated
MTV Millennial Awards International Hit of the Year[174] Nominated
Much Music Video Awards iHeartRadio International Artist of the Year[175] Nominated
Most Buzzworthy International Artist or Group[176] Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Male Artist[177] Nominated
Choice Song: Male Artist[177] Nominated
Choice Music: Breakout Artist[177] Won
Choice Summer Song: Like I Would [177] Nominated
Choice Summer Male Star: [177] Won
Choice Style: Male [177] Nominated
Social Media King: [177] Nominated
Choice Male Hottie[178] Nominated
MTV Europe Music Awards Best UK Act[179] Nominated
American Music Awards New Artist of the Year[180] Won


  1. ^ "Wrong" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 13 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[150]
  2. ^ "Befour" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 4 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[142]
  3. ^ "She" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 8 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[150]


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