One Direction & Zayn Malik: Going in Two Directions

One Direction & Zayn Malik: Going in Two Directions

After his split from One Direction, is Zayn Malik heading in the direction of Justin Timberlake or Geri Halliwell?

In 1995 there was a band that would ultimately become one of the most well-known boy bands of all time. Throughout the course of the mid-late 1990s, their music was featured in films, played endlessly on the radio, and their faces were found on magazine covers around the world. The name of that band was N’Sync.  

Unofficially splitting up in 2002, one of the band’s members broke from the group to go onto a solo career. That artist, as we all know, was Justin Timberlake.

While N’Sync was popular in its day, Justin Timberlake has since then skyrocketed to a level of stardom that the band itself could only have dreamed of ever reaching. With television appearances, movie roles, award nominations and wins, and having attractive and equally famous women by his side over the years – including, but not limited to Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz and now wife Jessica Biel – Justin Timberlake has become not only a household name, but a legend in the entertainment industry.

Fast forward to 2010. Western society is at its height of reality television, and one of the biggest shows on that platform is known as X-Factor – which is basically the rest of the world’s equivalent to American Idol. Five young English and Irish boys ranging in age between 16 and 19 years old, audition for solo spots on the hit television series in their respective countries. While none of them were selected to move forward individually, they were however put together as a quintet and advanced to the end of the competition as a male singing group. Though they finished in 3rd place in the competition, their final song was leaked to the internet, and the rest, as they say, is history. The now world famous singing group One Direction was born, and so was its fandom.

Subsequent to their finishing on X-Factor they signed a record deal with the show’s top judge, Simon Cowell (Syco Record)s in January of 2011. Soon after, albums were being released and needless to say, fans were eating them up. Over the course of the following four years, the band became one of the biggest sensations in music around the world, headlining concerts, appearing in films which were about the band itself, releasing albums galore, and by 2012 (only a year after competing in X-Factor), the band had earned an estimated $145 million. Not too shabby for some schoolboys – some of whom were literally still in school.

Then, to the dismay of many faithful One Directioners, in March of 2015 the band had a little hiccup; member Zayn Malik up and left the band. To do what? That’s right, pursue a solo career. Before the band was even an inkling in Simon Cowell’s mind (or as Nicole Scherzinger maintains, her mind) back in 2010, when Zayn was auditioning to be on the show, he had originally intended to be a one man act. That was what most of the members had imagined, we imagine, considering that they had all auditioned initially in a solo capacity. So the question on our mind is: Is Zayn the next Justin Timberlake, or is he the doomed to be the next Geri Halliwell?

There is little doubt that followers of Malik are still around, but is his fandom as strong as One Direction’s? while Zayn may have paparazzi following him everywhere he goes, and has fans lining up around corners snapping uninvited selfies with the star, – is the mob as big as it is with One Direction? We know that some fans just can’t handle Zayn’s captivating allure, as is evident in this video off YouTube, in which a fan fainted while holding his hand at an autograph signing.

But now that Malik is on his own road, touring by his little ‘ole lonesome, we have to wonder if One Direction isn’t a little miffed at his decision to leave the group. Last year, only four months after splitting waves with the band, he announced on Twitter that he had left his four bandmates not just to sing solo, but to “make real music”. Ouch. That’s gotta sting a little, right? I’m sure Simon Cowell wasn’t overly pleased with the dig, and from this clip of the Ellen show with the rest of the band members, it doesn’t look like there’s any love lost between Zayn and Harry either.

Ironically enough, exactly one year ago to the day that Zayn left One Direction, RCA Records will be releasing his debut album. It’s set to be released on March 25, and needless to say there’s quite the buzz swarming around this new piece of work, that the 23-year-old Bradford-born chap is ready at long last deliver to his adoring fans. It’s said that the new album will cover a lot of R&B territory, and hang on to your hats: he’ll be singing about sex…a lot. No longer is Zayn the little 14-year-old we came to grow to love.

Since the release of Malik’s first single “Pillow Talk”, we might just see what direction his career is heading in.  “Pillow Talk”, it is to date, the fastest selling single of 2016, has sold over 112,000 copies in its first week, and has more than 50 million views on YouTube. So will Zayn become the next Justin Timberlake? Will his debut album be number one on the charts, or has he dug himself into an unearthed grave, having left his meal ticket too soon? Time will tell. In the meantime, we can listen to some of his stuff to tide us over until the album is released, on his official website:

So what do you think? Fans of both One Direction and Zayn are creating their 1-D and Zayn fanpages right now on, expressing their fandom and competing to become the biggest fan. Where does your loyalty lie? Can’t decide?  No worries – you can create a fanpage for both.  

Are you a fan?