Although many see Harry Styles as the leader of the band, Zayn Malik is the first One Direction member to go solo. Rapper Naughty Boy recently confirmed that Malik will be featured on his upcoming album, and it's sure to be a big deviation from the pop music Malik is known for. Already the career move is getting a lot of buzz.
When one member of a band goes solo it always sparks a lot of interest. Is Zayn Malik quitting One Direction for good? How do the rest of the members feel? And so on. But so far it seems like everyone is taking Malik's move in stride, including their fans (the Directioners), who are being uncharacteristically supportive.
I logged onto Twitter after the big news and expected fans to be angry. I expected them to accuse Malik of betraying his bandmates by striking out on his own. I expected worried teen girls who feared Malik would leave their beloved band. But I should have given them more credit. It turns out that the Directioners really want the best for the musicians, even ahead of the interests of the band. They seem genuinely excited for Malik and eager to hear the product of his new collaboration.
Naughty Boy didn't give a timeline for when we can expect to hear Malik's contribution to his album, but he did clarify that Malik's contribution didn't mean anything sinister for One Direction's future.
"We're making music and having fun. This is just like a side gig and I don't think there's anything wrong with it," Naughty Boy told The Sun. "It's a good time for Zayn to showcase what he can really do. I don't think that is being fully exploited with the band because there are five people and it needs to be balanced out."
And fortunately it seems like the Directioners agree.
It's encouraging to see them rooting Malik on in his future endeavors. Those are the kind of fans every musician wants to have.