Of all the former One Direction members, Zayn has definitely forged the most unpredictable path. After becoming the first 1Der to leave the group, Zayn bounced from his debut R&B-leaning Hot 100 No. 1 “Pillowtalk” to a sultry Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack collab with Taylor Swift (“I Don’t Wanna to Live Forever”), as well as songs with Sia, Nicki Minaj and Zhavia Ward — the latter a cover version of “A Whole New World” from the 2019 Aladdin reboot.
He’s hopscotched from R&B to pop, old school hip-hop and even uptempo electropop, while recently signing on to be a part of the voice cast for the animated kid flick 10 Lives. But on Tuesday morning (Nov. 22), the singer posted what might be his most head-scratching left turn to date in the form of a cryptic 15-second video that appears to tease a collaboration with one of rock’s most iconic guitar heroes.
The video opens with Zayn’s name in a bold red font floating across the screen in shadow and shrouded in smoke followed by Jimi Hendrix‘s name in pale yellow as a spare guitar figure bubbles up in the background before the two artists’ names come into focus center screen. Zayn’s quietly urgent voice then trickles in singing the opening line (“Angel came down from heaven yesterday”) of the lesser-known Hendrix song “Angel,” which appeared on his 1971 posthumous studio album, The Cry of Love.
And then, just as things are getting interesting, the video begins to fade, with a final image of a white feather drifting down from the top of the screen to the sound of a distant audience cheering. The official Hendrix account also shared the post.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Experience Hendrix, L.L.C. told Billboard, “We are pleased that Zayn has been inspired to use original music from Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Angel’ in his recording of the song. We’re hopeful that this version of a Hendrix classic will enlighten a new generation of listeners about Jimi’s genius and further propel his continuing legacy.” Zayn was invited by Experience Hendrix to create a new version of the song using the original music in celebration of what would have been the guitarist’s 80th birthday on Sunday (Nov. 27).
The post teased a Friday (Nov. 25) release date for the song. Considered by many to be the greatest rock guitarist of all time, Hendrix died in Sept. 1970 at age 27.
Check out the tweet below.