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Icarus Falls
Icarus Falls is the second studio album by English singer and songwriter Zayn, released on 14 December 2018 by RCA Records. The album was preceded by the release of six singles: "Let Me", "Entertainer", "Sour Diesel", "Too Much" featuring Timbaland, "Fingers" and "No Candle No Light" featuring Nicki Minaj.
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Zayn Covers Highsnobiety Magazine

By definition, Zayn Malik contains all the trappings of a celebrity, but the perks of fame and fortune weren’t enough to compensate his desire for creative freedom. Now, over a year since his notorious divorce from One Direction, the singer explains that while he’s enjoying his new independence, the repercussions of stardom are still a struggle.

The unremitting desire to achieve notoriety is a human sentiment that stands the test of time. While some are more adamant in their pursuits and others may be striving for it subconsciously, what remains uniform for everyone is wanting to be recognized and lauded for our achievements. Prom Queen. Employee of the Month. Most Valuable Player. Volunteer of the Year. All of these titles were invented to award someone for excelling at a particular trait or action, whether that’s spending your spare time serving up food at a soup kitchen or being the most fashionable person in your high school.

While everyone wants to be personally celebrated for something, it would be ill-advised to hastily suggest that anyone seeks to strive for “celebrity.” On paper, the term strikes nothing but the most lustful layer of the retina – global praise from complete strangers, making a living through a cherished craft and powerful access, both personally and publicly. Trying to negate the allure of this scenario is strenuous, but once the glossy sheen of the wet ink dries, more and more smudges appear the closer you look.

Exchanging personal freedom for such a lifestyle may seem trivial when taken at face value. Not being able to shop for groceries without being accosted or photographed by someone at any given moment, forced interactions with sycophantic enablers looking to leech off your success or being told how to behave and dress under contractual obligation might seem like minor payoffs when your cultural influence, relevance and affluence stand (seemingly) unconquered.

But it was the very paucity of these freedoms that lead to the demise of celebrated figures across various periods in pop culture, from Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland to Kurt Cobain and Britney Spears. The dark side of fame is certainly not a new concept, but it’s one that continues to be revisited and consumed time and again.

“I hate the word celebrity,” says Zayn Malik, a guy who knows a thing or two about living life in the public eye. “I think it’s a dangerous road to go down, thinking of yourself as a celebrity, because then you somehow automatically think that label makes you superior to other people. Some people just want to hang around you because they know your name, so they think that means they know you, and I can see through that bullshit a mile off.” As one of the most recognizable contemporary pop stars in the business, Zayn’s adroit ability to spot bullshit when he sees it could be his greatest talent – aside from his musical capabilities, of course.

The British 23-year-old’s recognition as an individual singer wasn’t always as potent. Before being acknowledged simply as Zayn, he was known as Zayn Malik, a one-fifth singing counterpart of the colossally popular UK boy band, One Direction. For over five years, Malik sang, danced, clothed and even groomed himself in accordance with the group’s brand policies. “We were literally meant to ask permission before we changed our hair or like, grew a beard,” notes Malik. “It was ridiculous.” Yet this chapter in the singer’s life would close on March 25, 2015, when he announced his permanent departure from 1D, marking the dawn of Zayn 2.0 – a move that would promote a distinct evolution in sound, attitude and facial hair for the artist.

“I don’t think you can ever be prepared for something like that,” said Malik. “I knew there would be a big reaction in the press, because there was so much attention on us at that point, but I had no idea how fans would react.” While he may not have known exactly how fans would react, it’s hard to believe that Zayn didn’t have at least an inkling of how monumental the news would be for his followers.

With the force of Leviathan, the internet was violently pummeled by a tidal wave of tweets, Facebook updates and Instagram posts from emotionally-vulnerable adolescents, most of them female, exclaiming that the day of reckoning had finally come. The hashtag #AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik hovered as the number one trending topic for a full 24 hours, while a much darker hashtag, #cut4zayn, trumpeted a disturbing trend of girls carving Malik’s name into their forearms with razorblades as a means to eulogize his departure from the beloved pop group.

It was a day that claimed a fragment of countless teenage girls’ souls; an emotional apocalypse defined by gallons of tears, razed hormones and distressed parents. “I try not to take [my actions] into consideration too much because if I did, I’d never do anything,” Malik proclaims. “It’s a lot of pressure. I never claimed to be a role model, I just make music.”

It’s astounding to fathom just how grave an impact such a decision could have on literally millions of people in nearly every crevice of the world. You might’ve lost a few friends when you quit the football team to join the drama club, or had a nasty rumor spread about you after you broke up with a girlfriend to start dating her best friend, but in Zayn’s case, a personal choice holds such clout that it can puppeteer the mental stability of legions at the drop of a hat. Throw social media into the mix, and the repercussions are inescapable.

“Everyone has an opinion on social media, even though they don’t know you, and it gets exhausting.”

“It was great seeing the support I was getting from a lot of people, but there was also a lot of negativity and criticism and people talking shit about situations they knew nothing about,” said Malik. “Everyone has an opinion on social media, even though they don’t know you, and it gets exhausting. You get misquoted in the press or a bullshit rumor gets printed and it’s frustrating to watch people believe those things and form opinions on you based on what they read. I’ve learnt to ignore it for the most part, but it still pisses me off occasionally.”

Though he cited privacy as the principal reason for leaving the band, the singer’s life today couldn’t be positioned closer to the pounding rays of the media limelight. In March 2016, the one-year anniversary of his notorious divorce from One Direction, Malik released his debut album, Mind of Mine, via his new label affiliate RCA.

Following the success of the LP’s first single, “PILLOWTALK,” which broke records back in February for having the most global first-day and weekly streams for a debut artist track (and knocking fellow pop deity Justin Bieber from his glorious Billboard reign in the process), Mind of Mine bulldozed its way to number one on both the U.S. and UK charts, becoming the first solo album from a British male singer to do so.

In addition to his musical feats, post-1D Zayn would also gain acceptance from the fashion community; from sitting tête-à-tête with the industry’s front row elite at Louis Vuitton and Valentino’s SS16 shows last summer to turning heads in a metallic-sleeved Versace suit at this year’s Met Gala, and, most recently, landing a collaboration with Italian shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti. “I like to express creativity in as many different ways as possible and I’m always exploring new things. Designing shoes was an interesting form of art for me because I was having to create something that has aesthetic value, like music or painting, but is functional at the same time.”

“You have to not give a shit what people think about you. You have to guide your own career and not follow other people’s expectations of what kind of artist they want you to be.”

Creative projects notwithstanding, the hype fueling Zayn’s popularity can perhaps only be trumped by his widely publicized love life: his girlfriend just so happens to be social media queen and ubiquitous “It Girl” Gigi Hadid, and together they form one of the most mooned-over millennial couples in Hollywood. So much for a guy who wanted a bit of privacy.

But while the ex-boy band member has all of the accoutrements of an A-lister, there’s still something very authentic about him. “It’s cynical to say, but I think to really ‘make it’ in a commercial sense, you have to be a bit of a faker. If you’re not going to be fake, then you need a really thick skin,” says the pop star. “You have to not give a shit what people think about you. You have to guide your own career and not follow other people’s expectations of what kind of artist they want you to be.”

Zayn’s dauntlessness is a clear attribute to his prosperity, but his career in entertainment thus far has served as a training period, forcing him to build up an armor thick enough to dodge the countless adversities thrown his way. It comes with the territory for every pop icon, but Malik’s cases of objectification cut a bit deeper.

Born and raised in the working class neighborhood of Bradford, West Yorkshire to a half Irish, half English mother and Pakistani father, Malik’s ethnic background has been put under fire throughout the entirety of his career. As the (former) only person of color in One Direction and quite possibly the West’s single most prominent Muslim celebrity, Zayn has faced a bevy of abuse in the form of anti-Muslim slurs and even death threats.

In June 2012, rightwing American blogger Debbie Schlussel accused him of “boy band jihad” and “pimping Islam,” while earlier this year, rapper Azealia Banks, after accusing the artist of lifting her image in the video for “Like I Would,” took shots at Malik’s race on Twitter, spitting out terms like “sand nigger,” “faggot” and “curry-scented bitch,” and even referred to Malik’s mother as a “dirty refugee.”

“Generally, I try not to comment on politics or controversial issues in public because I don’t think that it’s my place,” says Malik. “I struggle with the invasion of privacy that comes with this job. I also think one of the most negative aspects of being in the public eye is that you have no control over people’s perception of you.”

But despite the crunches, Malik has never shied away from being proud of his ethnic background, discernibly demonstrated in one of Mind of Mine’s more distinct ballads, “INTERMISSION: fLoWer,” where Malik incorporates Qawwali vocal techniques with lyrics written in Urdu. Given the record-shattering success of Malik’s career sans 1D, it seems the singer has more than conquered the odds faced against him.

So what’s next for Zayn? “I’m in the studio right now,” says the singer. “That’s all I’m saying.” For his sophomore album, it’s been confirmed that Malik will record with Malay, the LA-based beat master responsible for Mind of Mine’s lush electro-R&B production, and whose additional credits include mastering Frank Ocean’s 2012 pièce de résistance, channel ORANGE. But as far as a release date goes, well, that still remains in the shadows.

“One of the defining things about this whole experience is that there have been a lot of emotions, sometimes conflicting emotions, that I’m having to figure out,” notes Malik. “I’m curious to see where it all goes from here. The not knowing is what makes it exciting, but daunting, too. And I’m appreciative of the fact that I have this opportunity. I don’t ever let myself take this for granted.”

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Zayn for GQ

When Zayn broke off from One Direction, he immediately started dating supermodels and making hit records of his own. Here he tells us what’s next on his rise to the top.

There is no electricity in the tiny sea shanty where Zayn Malik would like to have a conversation about Zayn Malik. No heat and no real floor. Just darkness—and the underfoot lick of London’s dead-black Thames.
And yet, near midnight, when our pirate hero (singer/musician/T-shirt maker) Zayn bursts through the rusty-hinged door, home from sea to his shanty (an unfurnished, pitch-dark toolshed his people thought would be maximally “chilled,” as Zayn suffers severe anxiety), he’s in a good mood.
“Romantic!” He sparks a joint to illuminate a stubbled boomerang jaw, plus a brown suede shearling jacket that swells him to the rough scope of a weedsidaisical Saint Bernard. He doesn’t seem too anxious, moving with the loose-hipped swagger of someone used to walking in fake wind. He looks, as he would say, sick.

“It’s about being happy to look a bit scruffy,” he says of his style, which comprises thousands of dollars of designer merchandise. “I just got into the whole rock sort of feel to clothes—big boots, skinny jeans, and dark T-shirt, and rings. Just the grungy feel.”

Grunge, to be clear, as opposed to the pip-squeak gleam of his boy-band start. If you don’t know Zayn, 23, as ex-One (of the) Direction(s), he is now a hugely famous solo act, a recipient of Gigi Hadid’s giddy PDA, and an ongoing case study in mononymous rebranding. And as Zayn, he’s a true style renegade. He’s worn robot arms (Versace). He’s worn a doorman duster (Valentino). He’s worn one Yeezy and one dress boot at the same time. His metaled-up ears, full sleeves, and daily-shifting hair are pure Beckhamian (“He’s sick,” says Zayn, flicking his lighter for emphasis), his own hair having been man-bunned, skunk-striped, and buzzed under some fake scalp tats.
Zayn now has two lines of his own. The first is his contribution to the Great Upscale Merch Revival—a 26-piece capsule linked to his album, Mind of Mine, with shirts featuring Urdu script for his Pakistani roots (like the word for mind, pronounced zehn) and graphic work by Iron Maiden’s guy. It’s Hood by Air crossbred with Supreme’s ’99 Arabic collection, says The Guardian, a review Zayn endorses. (Specifically, he says: “Sick!”)

His other, newer, and more ambitious fashion project is footwear. He loves biker boots so much he made a pair with Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti, a similarly edgy dude he fell into natural partnership with at Paris Fashion Week last year. “Style is not being afraid to be bold about some things, or to say what it is you have to say,” Zayn says. “I feel like Giuseppe does that with his collection—and I try to do that with my music. So it kind of works.”
Meanwhile, if you want to know what’s next, as we did, you’ll get the kind of answer where the platitude machine-gun fire of an ex-boy-bandee merges with press ramble and weed haze into maybe-sort-of-possibly-deep profundity:
“I’m being very, like, blessed at the minute by God or whoever it is [lighter flick], fate or whatever, so um, there’s a lot of offers come our way at the minute with different things to do with fashion. And hopefully I get to get involved in all of them. I’d love to just continually have a presence, because I feel like it’s very heavily tied into music and the image and the fashion, and it’s all kind of one thing. So you kinda gotta be in there, I guess.”
Honestly, you do gotta be in there. And by our lights—even in the dark—he is.

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Zayn Covers ELLE UK

World renowned signer Zayn Malik is one of ELLE‘s five cover stars of the September 2016 issue. In the issue he talks about moving to Hollywood, dating fashion’s most in-demand supermodel Gigi Hadid, and his debut solo album Mind Of Mine, which has already topped the charts on both sides of the Atlantic and garnered critical acclaim.

On his solo career and love of music:‘My entire life has changed in the last year. I’m still taking it all in. I’ve found so much out about myself. Mostly how in love with music I still was. The album is a build up of six years and never being able to express what I wanted to say. I had something to get off my chest.’

On his relationship with his mum and sisters: ‘I enjoyed the womanly influence. I have a lot of respect for women because of them. They are so strong, powerful and do everything themselves…’

On developing a personal style: ‘Since leaving One Direction I’ve been given the freedom to be able to wear whatever I want and that’s made it more interesting. More creative. I can say I want to wear metal arms and it’ll happen.’

On his decision to leave One Direction: ‘At that time in my life I felt I had done everything I could do there and I just needed to change it up. It didn’t feel brave. I just don’t have it in me to feel fully secure in anything I do. I always strive towards something better. It’s why I think sometimes I come across the wrong way, a bit distant. I’m just stressed out trying to control how I’m perceived. I think about things a lot.’

On his interest in acting: ‘I started acting when I was in school with theatre studies and then music came after. It completely stopped when I joined the band but I’d definitely be interested if I was given the right role.’

On his relationship with model Gigi Hadid: ‘She’s super intelligent, I think that’s why it works so well. And we do the same type of job so we get that with each other.’

On the negatives of social media: ‘As much as social networking is a big thing now, there’s something to be said about having something real, if I had a choice I would take the camera off everyone’s iPhone and make sure we didn’t have Twitter or Facebook. It affects art form. There’s something to be said about living in the moment. I try to keep my phone for calls.’

The September issue will be available on newsstands from 3 August.

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Zayn Covers ELLE UK

This September’s ELLE is braver, bolder, and SMARTER than ever before. A new design, to mark a new era in fashion.

To celebrate the re-design, ELLE has created FIVE special collectors’ covers. One of them is with Zayn.

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Zayn Covers “Paper” Magazine

Zayn Malik is smoldering and surrounded by smoke on the brand new #Sexy summer issue #Sexy of Paper magazine, on newsstands June 21.

Here’s what the 23-year-old “Pillowtalk” performer had to share with the mag:

On not being allowed to have a beard in One Direction: “Facial hair was a weird thing. I think it’s ’cause I just looked old. And they didn’t like that. [And] I always wanted a beard! I think every dude does when they’re young. Seeing Al Pacino in Carlito’s Way — I needed the goatee after that. I was like, ‘I wanna be Al Pacino.’ I’ve always been obsessed with that, and I had to shave it off. I used to get a bit sad.”

On Gigi Hadid:
“I’ve always said it and I still stand by it: I find intelligence attractive. When I learn something from somebody and they teach me something, that’s an attractive thing for me. Obviously, I find physical appearance attractive as well, but it’s definitely squared more towards a personality as I’ve gotten older, because you can’t have a long-term relationship unless you get on with the person. It doesn’t matter really about the exterior.”

On his social life:
“I don’t really enjoy going out too much and partying. I like to have my own time and be at home, and I kind of need a partner with me to do that. I just like the security of that. It feels good to me. It feels right. We’ll see each other tonight and probably watch a film. Netflix and chill. Yeah, we do that a lot.”

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Zayn Covers Dazed Magazine

Zayn takes the cover of Dazed magazine’s Summer 2016 issue, which hits newsstands on Thursday (June 16).

Here’s what the 23-year-old “Pillowtalk” singer had to share with the mag:

On getting Taylor Swift’s approval on his album Mind of Mine: “At Gigi [Hadid]’s house we briefly spoke and she told me she really enjoyed the album. It was nice to get some feedback. She said she thought I was cool and I kind of blushed a bit and didn’t know how to take it.”

On leaving One Direction: “I know that musicians are seen as one-sided people a lot of the time, but we do have other elements to us as well. I didn’t feel good. Do you know what I mean?… You need to be able to express what it is that you are. I’m free at last.”

On his love of writing: “I have always liked language and the way you can say a certain thing in a certain way and it can be perceived so differently by whoever is listening, because of whatever time they are at in their life.”

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The Voice – May 24

Zayn makes a special appearance on the season ten finale of The Voice on Tuesday (May 24) in Los Angeles.

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