NEW YORK • Former One Direction star Zayn Malik is finding success in his own right, with his solo debut album opening at No. 1 in both the United States and Britain.
The 23-year-old, who now simply calls himself Zayn, has gone racier as a solo artist with a sexual image that would have been out of the question for his former boyband.
His album Mind Of Mine sold 157,000 copies or the equivalent in downloads or streaming in its first week in the US, Nielsen Music said on Sunday.
He becomes the first British male solo artist to debut at No. 1 on the benchmark US Billboard chart with his first album.
George Michael went to No. 1 in 1988 with Faith, his blockbuster solo debut after disbanding the pop duo Wham!, but he did not do so in his first week.
Mind Of Mine also debuted at No. 1 in Britain, where Zayn edged out fellow home-grown star Adele on the Official Albums Chart released last Friday.
Zayn released Mind Of Mine on March 25, the anniversary of his abrupt and acrimonious departure from One Direction amid a global tour. The boyband later released an album without Zayn before declaring they were going on an indefinite hiatus.
Zayn goes for a more R&B sound on Mind Of Mine and offers plenty of sexuality, with an alternative cover of the album depicting him topless and showing off his muscular, tattooed body.
The first track, Pillowtalk, is an ode to passionate love-making.
He has said he was unhappy with the artistic constraints of One Direction, one of the world's top- selling acts, packing arenas full of young girls with their squeaky clean pop songs.