Not long after Zayn Malik signed with RCA and inked a management deal with Turn First Artists (the same company that reps Iggy Azalea and Ellie Goulding), we learned another fascinating bit about the former One Direction member’s future: He’s working with Grammy-winning producer Malay.
Malay, who has worked with everyone from John Legend to Alicia Keys to Tori Kelly, is perhaps most celebrated for his extensive work on Frank Ocean‘s instant classic Channel Orange. Malay produced and co-wrote nearly every song on that album — in other words, the guy is legit.
So those worried Zayn’s solo stuff might not hold up to his 1D work should heave a huge sigh of relief: Malay has nothing but superlative praise for Malik. “Zayn is pure genius. An artists’ artist. A shining star with a genuine heart,” Malay wrote on Twitter.
Cat’s out the bag, it’s no secret we’ve been working. @zaynmalik is pure genius. An artists’ artist. A shining star with a genuine ??
— Malay (@MalayHo) September 14, 2015
And yes, this is coming from Frank Ocean’s creative partner. It’s starting to look like solo Zayn will help ease the pain of One Direction’s impending hiatus — and maybe even gain him an audience past the boy band demographic.