Zayn Malik, better known by his stage as ZAYN, has returned to music after a two-year hiatus.
The 30-year-old singer has a new label, a new sound, and a new lease on life, as seen in his new single “Love Like This.” And in the new video, which was released alongside the song on July 21 at midnight, he romanced a beautiful blonde model who resembled none other than his ex Gigi Hadid.
“How you hit ’em with the clothes and the stare / And the hips and the hair like that /Got me all up in the zone, in the zone/ In the zone, in the zone like,” he rapped on the seductive club-ready track.
The irresistibly frenetic beat was accompanied by surprisingly beautiful words. “I don’t wanna waste no time / You are the cr—, you are the crown/ Everything is on the line/ but I would rather be dead /If it’s gonna mean a life that is lived without you, baby.”
Zayn kept teasing the song ahead of its release. On June 29, he posted a video of himself looking pensive while on top of an apartment complex, with a clip of music playing in the background.
A week later, he disclosed the song’s title by releasing a video of himself graffiti-tagging a wall. He also shared a photo of himself cuddling a woman who some mistook for Selena Gomez. Despite what some fans hoped, other advertisements indicated that it wasn’t Selena.
The sparse production in the snippets was reminiscent of the 1990s drum and bass/UK garage/jungle vibe.
According to sources close to the artist, this song represents a departure from the sound of his earlier eras (including his hits “Pillowtalk” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.”
The new track follows Zayn’s decision to change his career path by signing with Mercury Records. His first three albums, Mind of Mine in 2016, Icarus Falls in 2018, and Nobody Is Listening in 2021, were all released by RCA (Mercury Records is controlled by Universal Music Group, while RCA is owned by Sony Music Entertainment).
Mercury Records President Tyler Arnold was overjoyed to welcome Zayn to the label’s illustrious roster.
“As soon as ZAYN and I met, I knew we had to work together,” he said in a statement while announcing the signing.
“I was blown away by the new music but just as impressed by his vision, drive, and spirit. We’re honored he and his team have joined us at Mercury Records. We’ve got an incredible opportunity to tell the next chapter of his story together.”
The new label could be the boost Zayn’s career requires.
Mind of Mine made Zayn the first One Direction member to release a solo album, and it appeared that his career was on track when “Pillowtalk” reached No. 1 in many countries, achieving 5x Platinum in the United States and double-Platinum in his native England. “Like I Would,” the second song, peaked at No. 55 on the Billboard Hot 100.
He’d been as close to the top of the charts as he could in 2016 when he collaborated with Taylor Swift on “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack.
Nobody Is Listening was a bold record title because it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. The two singles, “Better” and “Vibez,” failed to chart, and the album has yet to be certified Gold.
Zayn uploaded three songs – “Believe Me,” “Grimez,” and “41 11” – to Dropbox in late 2021, and attributed the recordings to a new project called Yellow Tape. Zayn rapped for the first time on the project, and he mentioned Simon Cowell, Kanye West, and Gigi Hadid. The songs were taken down immediately after they were shared.
In recent years, Zayn has become renowned for his personal life rather than his music. He pled “No Contest” to various counts of harassment against Yolanda Hadid, mother of Gigi Hadid (his on-again/off-again ex and mother of his daughter, Khai), in October 2021.
Zayn and Yolanda allegedly had an incident, and the singer pled “no contest,” which does not imply guilt.
“In an effort to protect [my daughter], I agreed to not contest claims arising from an argument I had with a family member of my partner’s who entered our home while my partner was away several weeks ago,” Zayn tweeted after the plea.
“This was and should be a private matter, but it seems, for now, there is divisiveness, and despite my efforts to restore us to a peaceful family environment for me to co-parent my daughter in a manner she deserves, this has been ‘leaked’ to the press.”
Zayn was sentenced to a year of probation, an anger management class, and completion of a domestic abuse program. Gigi and Zayne split soon after.
In March 2023, Zayn was been linked to Selena Gomez when she was sighted walking with his assistant.