Zayn Malik has had a music career most can only dream of. We look at the journey of the singer from being a pop hopeful in “X Factor” to the global superstar that he is today.
Malik was born Zain Javadd Malik on Jan. 12, 1993, in Bradford, West Yorkshire, U.K. While his father Yaser Malik is British-Pakistani his mother, Patricia (known as Tricia Malik), is Irish-British who converted to Islam upon marriage. Malik joined his school choir “at the age of eight or nine” where he discovered his love for music and also performed in several school productions.
In 2010, aged 17, he auditioned for the seventh season of the U.K. reality-television music competition “X Factor,” where he sang “Let Me Love You” by American R&B singer-songwriter Mario.
After qualifying for the next round, Malik was eliminated before the final. However “X Factor” judges Nicole Scherzinger and Simon Cowell (3rd R) decided to group him with four other contestants — (L-R) Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, Harry Styles and Niall Horan.
The newly formed boy band made it to the live shows of the competition. During the
bootcamp phase of “X Factor,” Styles came up with the band’s name, One Direction. Their first song together was an acoustic version of “Torn” by American alt rock band Ednaswap. The group finished third on the show.
The band was soon after signed by music mogul Cowell’s label, Syco Records. In 2011, the band released their debut album “Up All Night,” which peaked at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200. Their lead single “What Makes You Beautiful” charted at the top in several countries and peaked at No. 1 on the U.K. Singles Chart and No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
He’s also been involved with various charities, including being an ambassador
of the British Asian Trust charity group. In 2013, along with his then-band One Direction, Malik had raised over $2.4 million (£2 million) for Red Nose Day by donating the sales from their single “One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks)” to the British telethon charity Comic Relief.
After gaining worldwide popularity, Malik along with other members of the band went on to tour extensively. They released subsequent albums: “Take Me Home” (2012), “Midnight Memories” (2013) and “Four” (2014). With “Four” debuting at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, One Direction became the only band whose first four albums debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200.
He dated Perrie Edwards (R) of Little Mix and they got engaged in 2013. However, the two separated in 2015. According to One Direction’s Liam Payne, Edwards was behind Malik’s decision to leave the boy band. He told a radio station that his friend “wanted to spend some time with his family and missus.”
On March 25, 2015, Malik quit the band stating that he wanted to be a “normal 22-year-old living out of the spotlight.” The news left many fans heartbroken.
On July 29, 2015, Malik signed a solo record deal with RCA Records. He then went on to give several interviews where he discussed his debut solo studio album and also revealed part of the tracklist: “She,” “It’s You,” “Wrong,” “I Got Mine,” and “My Ways.”
After Malik signed his deal, One Direction released “Drag Me Down” on July 31, 2015, their first single since Malik’s departure. The song had been recorded as part of their fifth studio album “Made in the A.M.,” which was released on Nov. 13, 2015. On Dec. 13, 2015, the act performed on the “X Factor” finale in London, U.K., with the group sharing a few emotional moments onstage. Their last televised performance as a group was on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rocking’ Eve” on Dec. 31, 2015. They then decided to go on hiatus to focus on individual projects.
On Jan. 29, 2016, Malik released his first solo single “Pillowtalk” featuring model Gigi Hadid. The song was part of his first solo studio album “Mind of Mine,” which was released on March 25. The song debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. Singles Chart and the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, making Malik the first British male artist to debut at the top of the charts in both countries.
His first solo television performance was in “The Tonight Show” on Feb. 17, 2016, where he performed the song “It’s You” from his first solo studio album “Mind of Mine.” He was back on March 24, 2016, to perform “Like I Would,” another single from the album.
His album “Mind of Mine” was released under the mononym ‘Zayn’ on the first anniversary of his decision to quit the band. In an interview with FADER magazine the singer said that he just wanted to make his own type of music, different from One Direction’s pop-rock sound. “Once they hear it [the album], I feel like they will understand me a little bit more. For 10 years, this album has been in my brain, and it’s just been there, sat with me, needing to be out,” he said.
The album debuted at No. 1 in several countries, with the singer replacing Justin Bieber on the top of the U.S. Billboard Artist 100 chart and garnering positive reviews for his new musical style.
In May 2016, Malik and Gigi Hadid (R) made their red carpet debut as an official couple at the Met Gala in New York City, New York, U.S. The pair reportedly broke up in June 2016 but were back together within a few weeks. They have made several public appearances as a couple since then, including London Fashion Week in September 2016.
In May 2016, he also performed “Like I Would” from “Mind of Mine” at the season 10 finale of the American TV series “The Voice.”
He won his first solo award at the American Music Awards (AMAs) on Nov. 20, 2016, when he took home the ‘New Artist of the Year Un-leashed by
T-Mobile’ honor. During his acceptance speech he took a shot at his ex-band saying: “Wow. This just has my name on it, right?”
Malik was also known as the “Bradford Bad Boy” of One Direction because of his mischievous behavior, his tattoos and piercings, and also for his ever-changing hairstyles. He released his autobiography “Zayn” in November 2016 and spoke about his love for Canadian singer-songwriter Shania Twain and an eating disorder that he had developed near the end of his time with One Direction.
In December 2016, he released “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” in collaboration with Taylor Swift for the movie “Fifty Shades Darker” (2017) which peaked at No. 6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
He spoke on “The Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” in the same month, saying he was enjoying his solo career immensely and found penning his autobiography “Zayn” very therapeutic.
Malik has often been noted for his good looks which have earned him many accolades. He was ranked 27 on Glamour magazine’s “World’s Sexiest Man” 2012 list and in 2014, he topped GQ magazine’s “50 Best-Dressed Men in Britain.” In 2017, he won GQ magazine’s first-ever Reader Play-Offs.
Malik released the first single “Still Got Time” in collaboration with rapper PartyNextDoor from his second solo album on March 24, 2017.
On Sept. 7, 2017, he released the lead single “Dusk Till Dawn” featuring Australian singer-songwriter Sia from his second studio album. The song featured in the official trailer of Idris Elba and Kate Winslet’s film “The Mountain Between Us” and peaked at No. 5 on UK Singles Chart and US Billboard Hot 100.
Zayn Malik’s baby niece has been targeted with death threats by a troll on social media.
The former One Direction star’s sister Safaa, 17, gave birth to daughter Zaneyah in January, and regularly shares snaps of her pride and joy on her Instagram page.
However, one image of Zaneyah shared by Safaa’s friend on Instagram prompted a tirade from one angry user who, thinking they were messaging the baby’s mother, wrote: “Your baby’s ugly… Got married to cover that fact that you was pregnant.”
When the friend replied saying that she wasn’t Safaa, the troll responded: “When her kid dies you’ll listen lol (laugh out loud)… Hope her kid dies it’s ugly anyway.”
© Provided by Cover Media
Safaa shared the exchange on her own Instagram page, writing alongside it: “What a disgusting world!!”
Just a few days before, Safaa had revealed her joy at becoming a teenage mother, by writing: “Being a young mom means that we met a little early but it also means I get to love you a little longer.
“Some people said that my life ended when I had a baby but my life had just began. You didn’t take away from my future, you gave me a new one. Repost if you are a proud mother.”
Safaa and her boyfriend Martin Tiser, 18, wed last September.