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Nobody Is Listening
Nobody Is Listening is the third studio album by English singer-songwriter Zayn. It was released on 15 January 2021 through RCA Records. It is Malik's third solo album, following the masterpiece Icarus Falls, released in 2018. Nobody Is Listening was preceded by the singles "Better" and "Vibez".
Latest Video: Vibez
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“British GQ” Article

Since leaving One Direction, Zayn Malik, the group’s first émigré, has walked his own path in more ways than one. From heavy metal tuxes to vintage band merch, this year the one-time boy wonder became a man to look up to.

Zayn Malik has come a long way. Not just geographically (our shoot in Los Angeles happened a full 5,282 miles away from his hometown of Bradford), but also since he left One Direction – one of the most successful boy bands of all time. Since March 2015 he’s had a phenomenally successful first album (Mind Of Mine hit No1 on both sides of the Atlantic) and a global smash debut single in the form of “Pillowtalk” (he’s the first British act in chart history to kick-start their career with a No1 single on the American Billboard Hot 100), as well as dating the most famous supermodel in the world, Gigi Hadid. Now he’s repping a tux for his second GQ cover this year and preparing to take home the Hugo Boss Most Stylish Man Of The Year award.

Quick reminder: the man’s only 24 years old. If there was an entry in the dictionary for the phrase “stratospheric rise to fame”, Malik’s picture would be next to it – possibly multiple shots featuring the myriad haircuts and colours he’s tried out since going solo.

And he’s not slowing down. Last night he was in the studio he’s built in his LA pad, working on new material and putting the finishing touches to the tracklist of his second album (due later this year). Turns out, it’s been a very different experience from his first record.

Writing as a solo artist, he says, is “almost like an explosion – everything comes out. Then you have to decipher it and work out what your sound’s going to be, what it is that you want to say.”

So what does he want to say in this as-yet-untitled new record?

“Just that I’m having a good time. I’m enjoying myself. Life’s good. I’m not taking things too seriously and just making music that people can have fun listening to at their parties and get-togethers. I’m not trying to change the world or do anything revolutionary, just normal stuff.”

And yet, as grounded as he seems, many aspects of Malik’s life aren’t “normal”. Perhaps most notably, Hadid – one of the planet’s most photographed women, not just as the face of many of the world’s biggest brands (Missoni, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Tom Ford, Moschino, the list goes on), but also in her regular life, whether by paparazzi or selfies posted for her 35 million Instagram followers. As you can imagine, being the boyfriend of a woman so embedded in the style industry rubs off on a man.

“I steal from Gigi’s wardrobe all the time. Shirts, T-shirts, whatever. I won’t necessarily wear them out publicly, but in the house I will. I don’t care – as long as it looks cool,” he says, laughing. “I rob her sunglasses all the time. She’s not too happy about that. I think I’ve lost a couple of pairs.”

This is, of course, part of the reason Zayn deserves our award: whether he’s mopping his girlfriend’s shades or hitting the red carpet at the Met Gala in metallic robot arms, he’s not afraid to experiment with his style. He’s one of those rare men who looks totally himself whatever he’s wearing – somebody who does streetwear as effortlessly as a leading-man dinner suit. Everything he tries just works.

It would be easy to say that, like songwriting as a solo artist, this is the result of having the freedom to be yourself after being constrained in the tightly image-controlled stylings of a clean-cut boy band (“It’s definitely a nice feeling to wear whatever you want and not have to match with somebody else”), but there appears to be something deeper to Malik’s approach to dressing.

“My dad said you should always wear things that fit you right,” he says, “rather than just caring about the brand. That is something I live by to this day. I’ll wear anything as long as it looks good on me. I don’t really care about where it’s from or the price tag.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t wear designer clothes, but you might just run into him out in LA searching for old band merch in the city’s legendarily good vintage shops (“What Goes Around Comes Around is pretty sick,” he says). So it’s perhaps not surprising that when asked which man’s wardrobe he would have liked to steal, he chooses someone whose face has probably appeared on more merch than any other’s: Tupac Shakur. “He had some really cool Versace stuff back in the day, one-off jumpers and jeans that were just amazing.”

Then again, perhaps it’s a good idea he’ll not be getting his hands on the rapper’s vintage threads any time soon. To be GQ’s Most Stylish Man Of The Year, it goes without saying that you need to have more than just a mild menswear obsession, but that comes with its own problems…

“I think I’ve got too many clothes, to be honest,” laughs Malik. “It’s about time I started giving them away to people.”

We call dibs.

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