Everything We Know About Zayn’s Sophomore Album
It's been two years since Zayn Malik—formerly of British boy band One Direction—released his sex-charged, R&B-steeped debut album, the dark and brooding Mind of Mine, on March 25, 2016... and a tumultuous two years it's been.
Between a high-profile, very public breakup with supermodel Gigi Hadid and a (similarly very public) struggle with severe anxiety, Zayn found time to spirit away to the studio to work on his highly anticipated, yet-untitled sophomore album.
In April, he made his grand return with "Let Me," a slinky, smooth, sexy R&B jam accompanied by a dramatic organized crime-romance-themed video. The slightly brighter release marked a sonic departure for Zayn, who experimented with darker sounds on his debut album. It also marked the first glimpse at the sound of his sophomore album, due out some time soon.
Below, discover everything we know so far about Zayn Malik's new album.
Speaking to Billboard last year, the singer shared that his upcoming album was mostly recorded in places like New York, Los Angeles and London. He also revealed that he had recorded songs for the record at a private studio in rural Pennsylvania, where he spent last summer and fall living on a working farm.
"I take the horses out and feed the cows and that kind of stuff. It’s cool. I’ve always been interested in animals," he shared about his time in the country, adding that it reminded him of the countryside around where he grew up in Bradford, England.
While Zayn's debut album, Mind of Mine, "veered into a much more nighttime kind of [mood]," the artist told Billboard that his sophomore release will offer more of a mix of rhythmic pop and downtempo songs.
Speaking to The FADER, he said he "tried to do more mainstream songs" for the new album. "Obviously my fans want to listen to something that’s a bit more upbeat and feel-good and not necessarily always as thought-provoking or deep as my s---. I have to do something that’s a bit more mainstream because they want to listen to some fun stuff, rather than listen to depressing songs all the time ... I’m trying to do some more fun stuff for them. I’ve got a few tricks on there."
Zayn collaborated with producers Timbaland, Rob Cavallo and Malay, who worked on Mind of Mine, for his sophomore record, Billboard reports.
In an interview with Beats 1, he also shared that he worked with a handful of his "PILLOWTALK" producers, as well as newer collaborators like production duo MakeYouKnowLove.
"It does have a name, and I’m really excited about it. It’s kind of going to be something weird with it," Zayn told Billboard about the upcoming album's title. And speaking to Beats 1 in April 2018, he confirmed that the record is "100%" complete and will be out soon.
"I'm trying to keep it as mysterious as possible but there's a plan with the roll out. It's going to be different [than what] anything anyone has done before," he continued. "It's going to be interesting to see how the audience reacts to this kind of release, but I wanted to try something different."
Billboard reports that Zayn, whose sophomore album was originally slated for a late September 2017 release, blew past "deadline after deadline" while perfecting the record.
Speaking to The FADER, the artist shared that his upcoming album will see him "dabbling" in production and playing instruments.
"I played a few chords of guitar, a couple keys, piano, some synth, some basic computer-pressing s---, when we try to pretend we’re musicians and press buttons on keyboards," he said.
Zayn's struggle with severe anxiety was one of the reasons behind his string of cancelled performance dates in 2016. However, the artist hopes to tour for his sophomore album, as he believes his forthcoming body of work will lend itself more to live performances — especially if backed by a live band.
“For a long time I’ve struggled with, ‘Where is Zayn as a performer?’ I don’t want [my show] to be too eccentric or out there, because I’m not that kind of personality. I’m quite a reserved person, and I feel like [the vibe of an organic band] sort of fits me and what I want to do onstage," he shared.