Keely Chisholm ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
To find the nearest One Direction fan this week, follow the sound of tears and hearts breaking.
It was announced on March 25 that Zayn Malik has left the boy band after nearly five years. An official statement on the band’s Facebook page states that the remaining four members will continue to tour and record a fifth album.
News of the departure comes a week after Malik’s decision to take what was assumed to be a temporary hiatus from the band’s current tour, with “stress” cited as the primary reason.
In the statement, Malik said: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart.”
The other members added that they “totally respect his decision” and “will always be friends.”
In the wake of this news, the number one question on the minds of most fans is: What will One Direction be without Zayn? The band has performed without him on several occasions—a 2012 show in Connecticut and last fall’s performance on the Today show, to name a few—but with this permanent leave of absence, fans know the band just won’t be the same.
Zayn Malik’s departure doesn’t just mean the loss of one member of a boyband. He wore many hats even within the band. Here are just a few.
The king of high notes
Turn on any One Direction song and listen for the high harmonies. That’s Zayn. With those notes gone, future tracks may lack some of the dimension that his high octave range added.
One Direction might have been down a member long ago if it weren’t for Zayn swooping in to save Harry Styles from walking into the pyrotechnic equipment. Thanks, Zayn!
The sexy secretary
Once upon a time, Zayn Malik dressed up as a woman for the “Best Song Ever” music video, and fans never forgot it. Enough said.
Zayn’s love for art goes beyond just music—he loves visual art, too. The walls of his house are covered in spray paint, and the boys and crew are bound to miss his backstage doodles and paint on the walls.
Zayn’s a self-proclaimed geek, and he hasn’t been shy about showing off the things he loves. “I’ve always had a bit of fascination with cartoons and comics,” he told Teen Vogue in 2013. If the comic book-inspired “Zap!” tattoo on his right arm isn’t proof, check out the van he had redone with bandmate and fellow fanatic Louis Tomlinson.
The family man
When he was a kid, Zayn told his mother that he’d buy her a house one day. Two years ago, he did. And when this scene from 2013’s documentary This Is Us played, fans and parents alike may have had a bit of a cry.
There is one final role yet to be mentioned that may just be his most important. Zayn Malik is half-Pakistani and a practicing Muslim. In the Islamophobic world we live in, to have his level of visibility, fame, and reach is unprecedented. Despite dealing with death threats to him and his family and accusations of being a terrorist, he never tried to hide or downplay his religion.
Perhaps he said it best himself:
life is funny ,things change, people change,but you will always be you, so stay true to yourself and never sacrifice who you are for anyone
— zayn (@zaynmalik) December 27, 2010
Though people called him “the shy one” or “the introvert” or even “the mysterious bad boy,” Zayn Malik was never one for fronts. The fans (and the author) hope that, with his departure, he will be able to continue staying true to himself as he always wanted.