Zayn Malik Smolders On ‘Billboard;’ Talks New Album & Anxiety
Zayn Malik is shaping up to be one of music’s most photographed stars. The fashionable crooner covered several magazines this summer. He delivered a couture spread for VMAN, a gender-bending shoot for Vogue and a grungy set within the pages of Clash. Today (November 2), he is continuing his streak with a smoldering new cover on Billboard.
The “Dusk Till Dawn” hitmaker is all sorts of chic as he broods on the front of the magazine’s latest issue. Dressed in a long plaid jacket he reclines on a luxurious sofa. The remaining photos follow a similarly relaxed aesthetic as he poses alongside some jewel-toned balloons, builds a card castle and sits in an empty cafe.
In an accompanying interview, the 24-year-old discussed his forthcoming sophomore LP. Although it was originally expected in September, Zayn has extended deadlines and is anticipating to drop the project in the first quarter of 2018. “I think I’m like 90 percent of the way there,” he had promised in September; however, since then he and his label are remaining tight lipped on any big reveals.
He said that the project would explore two distinct directions. Similar to 2016’s Mind of Mine, rhythmic pop and a more downtempo sound will define the project. He has continued to work with Frank Ocean’s frequent collaborator Malay and has teamed up with industry experts including Timbaland and Rob Cavallo. He is also working with a mysterious “unknown” that hails from Brazil.
The “Pillowtalk” crooner’s parents have been weighing in on the release as well. Zayn explained he has played the music for them, and they have very differing opinions. His dad prefers “the more meaningful ones,” while his mom is more of a dance commander. She “likes anything that’s clubby and upbeat,” he said, adding that she prefers his “proper ratchet songs.”
Although in the past anxiety has stopped the former One Direction bandmate from touring, he said he has been working to provide more balance to his life. “I’m taking things at my own pace, eating well, not going too crazy,” he explained. Although he had cancelled plans to hit the road with his debut album last year, he revealed he does intend to tour after his latest drops.
Intense anxiety played a part in the cancelled plans, but he was also struggling to translate his aesthetic to the stage. A session with Cavallo helped offer some guidance. The producer showed Zayn how a band could bring one of their songs to the next level, and it proved to be groundbreaking. “It definitely helped identify in my own mind where I want to be as an entertainer.”
The interview also touched on Zayn’s basically non-existent relationship with his former bandmates. “Our relationships have definitely changed since we were in a band together, but I think that’s just life,” he said. On the other hand, his comments about working with Taylor Swift on “I Don’t Want To Live Forever” were a bit more revealing. “I worked with her because I felt she was the right artist for the song.”
The interview ended with the promise of a sample of new music, but Zayn disappeared after going to get the tracks from his management. Guess he wants us all to wait until the project drops. Check out the rest of the feature here.