Wow, that was quick: a paltry five days after Zayn Malik announced that he had officially left One Direction, his first solo demo has surfaced online.
Posted by British DJ Naughty Boy, the song, "I Won't Mind," is apparently a collaboration between Naughty and Malik. "We are who we are when no one's watching," Malik sings. (Or kind of mumbles, right?) "And right from the start, you know I got you." There are also some serious Bon Iver vibes thrown in there.
Video: What Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction means for him
The song comes mere hours after the news surfaced that One Direction, who are back on tour sans Malik, had already scrubbed their erstwhile fifth member from the video intro that kicks off their show. Such a quick release has naturally attracted some drama (even if Naughty leaked it without Malik's permission): Louis Tomlinson didn't mention Malik by name, but he did have some choice words for the producer:
"Wow @NaughtyBoyMusic you're so inconsiderate pal , seriously how ... old are you ? Grow up ! #masterofallwisdom," he tweeted after the song went live.
A good many fans on Twitter and in the comments of the Soundcloud track have, as Directioners do, followed suit. While some are, of course, excited about the song – it's a pretty song! – an avalanche of outrage and hurt has also poured out beneath the player, many crushed that Malik has already been recording with non-One Direction artists.
Though he shared plans to record a solo record with Naughty in an interview with the Sun last week, the statement he gave immediately after his departure – "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" – had many of them confused.
"This may make me look as a bad directioner but Zayn i [sic] thought you left the band for good and that you wanted to be a normal boy but now you work with Naughty Boy??" one fan comment read. "I honestly love this but I'm just so hurt because you could've been honest. Instead you left one direction [sic] to go solo? I'm crushed," read another.
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Regardless of their written comments, however, the proof is in the plays: The demo is doing berserk numbers already, racking up north of 700,000 plays in just two hours. Listen to the cut below while you ponder what "#zaughty" might have in store in 2016. (He did mention that he was thinking about trying his hand at rapping...)