Zayn Malik is officially back. The former One Direction star finally released his first single in two years and his first with Mercury Records, on July 21 after weeks of teasing fans with video clips and snippets. The summer track, titled “Love Like This,” sees Malik riding around New York City on a motorbike, wearing black and red leathers, to entice his love interest. The video, directed by Ivanna and Frank Borin, leads to Malik passionately kissing actress Grace Dumdaw before the pair are lifted into the sky together.
Moments after the track premiered on YouTube, Malik took to Instagram to post a behind-the-scenes video with the caption: “Thanks for all the love!! without you, none of this is possible, can’t tell you all how happy and grateful i am. peace and love.” Naturally, thousands of followers were quick to comment on the song, although at the time of publishing, there were no public comments from his former One Direction bandmates.
The 30-year-old previously sent fans into overdrive on June 27 after he wiped his Instagram of all photos, and posted a single 8-second teaser video. The mysterious post had no caption and simply showed Malik revving a motorbike, wearing leathers and a helmet. He also posted a black and white shot of him in the studio, tagging the president of Mercury Records.
Days later, Malik added more teaser posts. The first on July 1 with a clip of him standing on a rooftop with a laidback dance beat playing. As more comments flooded his social media, there was one particularly interesting comment from his former One Direction bandmate, Liam Payne. “This sounds big already ,” he wrote, and the comment alone received over 122,000 replies at the time of writing. Malik replied, writing: “Appreciate it bro, thanks for the love.”
On July 3, Malik treated fans to the first proper sounds of his new music, before the full track and video were revealed on July 21.
It has been two years since Malik last released music under RCA Records, and he has now signed a new deal with Mercury Records. Sources close to the singer told Billboard that his new music will be a “major departure” from the sound of his previous hits like “Pillowtalk” and “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever.” Mercury Records president Tyler Arnold told Billboard, “As soon as Zayn and I met, I knew we had to work together. I was blown away by the new music, but just as impressed by his vision, drive and spirit.”
Malik’s music comes after rumours have been swirling around a One Direction reunion. Payne recently revealed that a new What’s App group with all five members, including Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Niall Horan, has been set up. Styles also responded with “never say never” when asked about a reunion on the last ever “The Late Late Show With James Corden” in April.
Malik also addressed the decision to quit the band while speaking on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast in July. “There was a lot of politics going on, certain people were doing certain things. Certain people didn’t want to sign contracts so I knew something was happening so I just got ahead of the curve,” Malik recounted. “I was like, ‘I’m going to jump the gun here for the first time.’ I’m passive but when it comes to my music and my business, I’m serious about it and I’m competitive. I wanted to be the first to go and do my own thing.” But now he is able to look back at those times in a fonder light. “There were great experiences. I had great times with them but we just ran our course.”
While Malik is entering his new music era, his rumored romance with Selena Gomez appears to officially be off the cards. Gomez went on an unfollowing spree on social media, and Malik didn’t make the cut. As such, he also no longer follows the “Only Murders in the Building” star. Malik previously dated Gigi Hadid, with whom he shares daughter Khai Hadid Malik. The pair split in the fall of 2021 amid headlines about Malik getting into a dispute with Hadid’s mother, Yolanda Hadid.