Zayn Malik has officially made his debut as a solo artist.
The former One Direction singer released the single and video for “Pillowtalk” — stylized “PILLOWTALK” — late on Thursday night. The video stars his rumored girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid, and sees the pair all over each other as kaleidoscopic effects take them in and out of “paradise” and “the war zone.” The song is reminiscent of the echoing, pop-R&B production found on Justin Bieber’s Purpose, and is certainly different from Malik’s output during his 1D days.
Though the song’s official premiere was slated for midnight on Beats 1 following Malik’s wide-ranging interview with Zane Lowe, eagle-eyed fans noted that it suddenly appeared on iTunes slightly earlier than planned, bringing the song to No. 12 on the iTunes charts before the video even premiered.
“Pillowtalk” hails from Mind of Mine, which is set for a March release. Malik told Lowe earlier on Thursday that he had initially written a staggering “46, 47” songs following his departure from 1D, leading to a robust 16- or 17-song tracklist for Mind of Mine. The record is mostly complete, said Malik, though there are still a few “bits and bats” to get sorted in advance of its highly anticipated debut.
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Putting the album together was “liberating,” Malik told Lowe. “It just feels great to just be able to do whatever and kind of take responsibility myself and be like, ‘Yeah, I did that, and if you don’t like it, that’s cool, ’cause I like it, so I don’t really give a s—.’ “
However, a positive audience reception is necessary for Malik to consider touring the record. “We’ll see how well the music does first,” Malik said. “If people like it, then yeah — if there’s a demand for it, I’ll tour.”
Malik views “Pillowtalk,” and the album to come, as being totally separate from his former life in One Direction, though he does admit he “had some of the best times ever” while in the band. However, “They’re just two completely separate things, and this is now more fun for me, which is the main thing for me in my life — to have happiness, and to do something that makes me feel like I’ve got a sense of achievement from what I’m doing.”
See the full video below.