My last book purchase was Zayn Malik’s autobiography. It promised to deliver an insight into the young star’s departure from world famous band One Direction, and explain his reasons for embarking on a solo career – one which has also proven to be very successful.
It was a quick read, but was enough to give me a real idea of what the singer is about. While part of a five-piece band, Zayn was always the quiet the one, the one you didn’t hear from very much in interviews or on social media. But this book gave him a chance to speak for himself and explain what he wants to do, what he believes in and why he left One Direction when he did. He even admits to being the quite one, especially online where he doesn’t tweet or post often because it will most likely be taken out of context and twisted. “Getting your voice across online in an authentic way is difficult. There are always so many different ways people can interpret, or misinterpret, what you say. If something gets twisted or taken out of context, you can find that your own words have been turned into something you didn’t mean. That’s part of the reason I wanted to write this book.” It gave him time to think about what he wanted to say and craft it into something which couldn’t be misinterpreted.
He explained his journey from being part of the World’s biggest boyband, to a solo artist that everyone knows the name of. In between he also covers topics such as his religion, his family and even a brief mention of his relationship and break up with his Little Mix fiancee, Perrie.
One of the main things I was hoping to read about was his departure from the band, including the way he told the other boys and what their reactions were like. Unfortunately, Zayn didn’t reveal these specific details but he mention the band a lot in comparison to his new solo career. He writes “there was never any plan to get into any rivalry with the boys” – he’s talking about their album releases and the way people had set against them up as competition, but I wonder if there is some underlying meaning. Perhaps he is referring to the tension that appeared between his old band mates and himself after he left the band. This is one topic he doesn’t discuss.
One thing Zayn does clarify, is that he holds no bitterness towards the band. He didn’t leave because he hated it, he left because he didn’t believe in the music anymore. But the past 5 years weren’t a complete waste of his time, and he does show gratitude towards the career that made him who he is today. “I can honestly say I’m proud of a lot of stuff from the One Direction days. I’m not sure people realise that, but I am. One Direction was an incredible experience in its own right, and it’s part of me, an integral part of my history, and I’m never going to deny that aspect of my life.
“Those five years with the band were essential for me as a young kid learning about the industry. I witnessed prolific songwriters at work and got first-hand experience as a recording artist, all with the boys by my side. I’ll always be grateful for that.”
He also spoke about women, and the role they play in his life – which is huge, even more so since joining his new label, which is run completely by women. The passage, which I happened to read just after the new President of the USA was elected, was full of incredible sentiment and showed Zayn to have great respect. “I’ve been accused of misogyny in the past, for relationship stuff that’s been twisted in the press and for bullshit that gets said, and that gets to me because I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for women, and I think that all the women who I’ve surrounded myself with in both a professional and personal capacity would agree with that. I was always brought up to respect women, both my parents instilled that in me, and in my experience women have been the most intelligent, peaceful and positive influences in my life.”
The book was successful in portraying Zayn as the person he really is. I got a real sense of him and his emotions and thoughts – which, even through the last 5 years of One Direction, I never really got before (and I’ve been a 1D fan since their X Factor debut in 2010). It’s nice to know he hasn’t regretted the past 5 years, but it’s also satisfying to understand why he left the band and that he feels much better being his own artist.
To read more of what Zayn says about his fans, his album and the problems he’s had with anxiety, get a copy of his autobiography.