Biography of Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik
Photo by Karwai Tang / WireImage

Zayn Malik ( born January 12, 1993 ) joined the boy band One Direction while competing on the singing competition show X Factor. They became one of the most successful boy bands of all time. After leaving the group, he released a #1 hit solo single and album in 2016.

Early Years

Zain Javadd Malik grew up in Bradford, England. His father is of Pakistani descent and his mother is English. She converted to Islam when married. He has an older sister and two younger sisters. As a teenager, Zayn Malik began appearing on stage in school productions. He sang on stage for the first time during a visit to his school by singer Jay Sean

Personal Life

Zayn Malik is Muslim and has been a target of anti-Muslim attacks. After receiving death threats for his support of Palestine, he ceased expressing his political views in public. 

He began dating Perrie Edwards of the girl group Little Mix in 2012. They were engaged to be married in 2013. However, by late summer 2015, Zayn Malik's management confirmed that the engagement had ended.


Zayn Malik auditioned for X Factor in 2010 at age 17. He sang Mario's "Let Me Love You" for his audition and advanced to boot camp. However, he failed to advance past boot camp. Instead, the judges decided to place him, Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne, and Louis Tomlinson into a new group named One Direction. The group was coached by Simon Cowell. They advanced past the judges' houses stage and participated in the live finals. One Direction finished the competition in third place behind Rebecca Ferguson and winner Matt Cardle.

One Direction

One Direction became worldwide sensations. Their first studio album Up All Night reached #1 on the album chart in both the US and the UK. One Direction became the first British act to debut at #1 on the US album chart with their first album. Soon the group was acknowledged as one of the most successful boy bands of all time. Four consecutive albums by One Direction hit #1 on the US album chart and they sold more than 50 million records worldwide.

On March 25, 2015, Zayn Malik announced that he was leaving One Direction. He cited the need to lead a normal life and retreat from the celebrity spotlight. Despite rumors to the contrary, Zayn Malik stated that his fellow group members were fully supportive of his decision.

As a member of One Direction, Zayn Malik was particularly noted for reaching moving high notes in their songs. Perhaps the best example is a high note held near the end of their smash hit single "Best Song Ever."


  • 2016 - Mind of Mine - Zayn Malik's first solo album Mind of Mine was released under the single name Zayn. Although primarily oriented toward R&B, the album includes influences from pop, hip hop, and reggae music among others. In interviews, he explained that he was returning to the R&B music he embraced when first auditioning for X Factor. A primary collaborator on the album was producer and songwriter Malay, known for his work with Frank Ocean on the album Channel Orange. Mind of Mine hit #1 on both the UK and US album charts. Zayn received critical acclaim for striking out in his own R&B influenced direction. He also sang one song "Flower" in his father's native Urdu using vocal styles associated with the Sufi devotional music known as Qawwali. 


  • 2016 - "Pillowtalk" - In January 2016, ten months after announcing his departure from One Direction, Zayn Malik released his first solo single under the mononym Zayn. The song was inspired by his relationship with Perrie Edwards and written shortly before they broke up. In the chorus, he referred to the relationship by singing, "It's our paradise and it's our war zone." "Pillowtalk" debuted at #1 on the pop singles chart in both the US and the UK. Zayn was only the third UK artist to accomplish the feat in the US. "Pillowtalk" also climbed higher in the US chart than any One Direction song. Their peak was #2 with "Best Song Ever." The accompanying music video featured model Gigi Hadid
  • 2016 - "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" with Taylor Swift - Zayn collaborated with Taylor Swift for a single from the soundtrack to the film Fifty Shades Darker. Jack Antonoff, formerly of the group fun, co-wrote and produced the recording. The lyrics of the song are based on the plot of the movie. "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and found success across adult contemporary, dance, adult pop, and mainstream pop radio.


Zayn Malik brought a strong background in urban music to the One Direction pop mix. He looks to artists such as R. Kelly, Prince, and Chris Brown as significant influences along with Bollywood music. He received press acclaim as possessing one of the best voices among the five boy band members. After leaving One Direction, Zayn proved that former members of the group could stand on their own as successful solo artists.