NEW YORK • No longer part of squeaky clean One Direction, Zayn Malik yesterday reintroduced himself as a solo artist - sexy with an urban vibe.
Malik, who now calls himself Zayn, announced his first solo album, Mind Of Mine, which will come out on March 25, and released its first single, Pillowtalk.
A far cry from the innocent tracks of One Direction, Pillowtalk features sex, profanity and a racy video in which Zayn dances intimately with model Gigi Hadid in states of undress. He promises in the song to "be in bed all day", taking a lover to "a place that is so pure, so dirty and raw". "It's our paradise and it's our war zone," he sings.
In a striking lyrical touch for one of the most prominent Muslims in Western entertainment, Zayn, 23, uses religious imagery to further the song's theme. "Pillowtalk - my enemy, my Allah," he sings.
The Briton recorded the album largely in Los Angeles with the producer Malay, who is best known for his work with Frank Ocean.
In a likely sign of Malay's influence, the music on Pillowtalk is noticeably inspired by urban American R&B, moving away from the bubble-gum pop of One Direction.
The album will come out exactly one year after Malik left One Direction. Despite packing arenas full of screaming teenagers while he was with the band, Zayn said in an interview ahead of Pillowtalk's release that he had long been unhappy in One Direction.
"I never really wanted to be there in the band," he said on Apple's Beats 1 radio. "I just gave it a go because it was there at the time and then when I realised the direction we were going in - pardon the pun - with the music, I instantly realised it wasn't for me," he said.
"I couldn't put my input in, I couldn't give my opinion on this or that because it didn't fit," he said.
Last November, One Direction released a first album without him, Made In The A.M., and went on an indefinite hiatus, with member Louis Tomlinson last week becoming a father.