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Zayn Malik's Second Album Has a 'More Optimistic Tone'

Zayn Malik broke out of One Direction with his own sound and vision, launching a No. 1 record with Mind of Mine and a smash first single in "Pillowtalk." But for his as-yet-untitled encore, Malik has even bolder plans. In a preview of the album in EW, RCA Records CEO Peter Edge says the second effort has a "more optimistic tone to it after coming through that more challenging time" of breaking out of the boy band that defined his early career.

"It shows a lot of growth," Edge says. That is obvious in the recently released dancehall-like first taste, "Still Got Time," featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR, which Edge says is "talking about how it's great to be young and knowing you've still got time to do everything you want to do in life."

While the album doesn't have a release date yet, Malik will most certainly be vying for shelf space, airtime and potential ticket sales with a flood of efforts from his former bandmates, who've taken very different directions for their solo efforts. From Harry Styles' classic rock bent to current Billboard cover boy Niall Horan's more acoustic sound, Louis Tomlinson's EDM hookup with Steve Aoki, and Liam Payne's hip-hop flavored single, it appears that each is seeking to establish their own unique identity.

Edge isn't sweating the competition, though. “While we’re conscious of what everybody else is doing, I think we’re on the page that we just have to get on with releasing the music,” he tells the magazine. “Everybody is going to coexist. What’s emerging is that there are different musical styles that each member is getting into. Zayn just wants to make his music and do what he does." 

The CEO says Malik's new music will be "more personal" and less producer-driven. "I think he definitely wants a lot of himself in there, and I think that’s what the last record had -- it maybe even gave people more insight than they thought they were going to get," Edge explains.

The album is due out sometime this year.