Zayn Malik leaves 1D ‘to live normal life’
LOS ANGELES—For One Direction fans, Zayn Malik’s departure from the band would be the equivalent of one of the Beatles leaving the group at the height of its success, according to senior writer Brian Hiatt of Rolling Stone magazine.
In an announcement that broke teenage hearts and sent social media into a tizzy, Malik’s bandmates said they were sad to see him go “but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Malik said his time with One Direction “has been more than I could ever have imagined.”
But, after five years, he added, “I feel it is now the right time for me to leave the band … I’d like to apologize to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart. I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22-year-old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight.”
Malik’s name immediately became a top trending topic online—#AlwaysInOurHeartsZaynMalik—as the band announced it would continue its world tour, “On the Road Again,” without Malik. Plans also remained in place for the now-foursome to record an album later this year.
Last week, Malik flew home to the United Kingdom and did not join the band’s concert tour in the Philippines and Jakarta, citing stress.
His departure from the tour came after he hit back at rumors of trouble in his relationship with fiancée Perrie Edwards of the band Little Mix, over pictures on social media showing him getting close to another woman in Bangkok.
Fans have lashed out at Edwards for Malik’s departure from the band, with some going as far as comparing her to Yoko Ono, widow of the late John Lennon, who was widely blamed for breaking up the Beatles.
One middle school teacher said the day was among the toughest in her career as tween girls ran out of class in tears.
Fans shocked, unhappy
Although rumors had swirled that Malik was unhappy in the band, fans expressed surprise at the news.
“I’m a bit shocked as to why he’s leaving,” said 19-year-old student Sophia Staite. “It seems strange. It seems they could have gone on for much, much longer … It’s quite sad because they have always been quite a close band.”
But while it may be sad news for Malik’s fans, his departure isn’t necessarily bad for the band—at least not immediately. The remaining four members have concert dates scheduled through October and they promise a future for the group.
Malik’s split from One Direction followed similar band histories, like that of David Lee Roth and Van Halen, as well as Noel Gallagher and Oasis.
But unlike Van Halen, which started over when it replaced Roth with a new lead singer (Sammy Hagar), or Oasis, which essentially disbanded when Gallagher left, One Direction is all vocalists, making it easier to absorb a loss.
The band’s only choice now is to continue with four, Hiatt said: “I can’t imagine, under any circumstances, them replacing him.”
One Direction formed in 2010 after five teenagers—Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Malik—auditioned individually for the British TV talent show “The X Factor.” Simon Cowell, a judge in the show, had the idea of putting them together as a boy band.
The boys didn’t win the competition, but they went on to score hits and win young hearts around the world with their perky pop and cheeky personalities. Each member has his own following, with Styles and Malik arguably the most popular.
Cowell said he had grown “very, very fond—and immensely proud” of Malik over the years, but added in a statement on Wednesday that ID fans “can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band.”
It’s too soon to say which way One Direction, or Malik, might go, but making a clean split was a good first step, writes Jason Lipshutz, an associate editor at Billboard.
“Zayn’s exit from One Direction is painful because it means something has ended, but it would have been vastly more painful to approach the next few months with a sense of unsteadiness,” he says. “Now, Zayn is gone, and One Direction can move on.”
But music industry watchers, and fans, expressed uncertainty about whether the band could continue without Malik.
“It’s just changing everything in their dynamics,” said student Alia Alhaddad, who had been glad to see a handsome performer with Pakistani heritage in a successful band. “His voice is different from the rest of them, he makes a difference to the group. In terms of their separate careers, it’s hit or miss.”
Originally posted: 1:06 AM | Thursday, March 26th, 2015
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