There comes a time in each successful boyband’s lifespan where one member throws a spanner in the works and decide to leaves the band, disappointing fans all over the world.
Only last March the world witnessed a multitude of teenage girls mourn the departure of Zayn Malik from One Direction, creating a similar hysteria to that of Robbie Williams leaving Take That in 1995.
Although these two artists come from boyband backgrounds, they are completely different to each other – or so it would seem. Robbie is a natural entertainer with a catalogue of albums showcasing different music genres, everything from soft rock to swing.
Zayn’s style is a little bit edgier and he has made it clear that he wants to focus solely R’n’B. However, if you dig a little deeper and analyse the personalities and successes of Robbie Williams and Zayn Malik respectively, there are many more likenesses than you think. Will history repeat itself? Is Zayn the new Robbie?
The first notable similarity between Robbie and Zayn is their reason for leaving Take That and One Direction.
Both artists made it no secret that making pop music was not up their street – Robbie said that he would much prefer to make music like indie band Oasis did, and Zayn claimed his freedom of expression as an artist was inhibited by being a member of One Direction.
Robbie’s songs as a solo artist truly set him apart from Take That, due to his undeniable talent as a songwriter and his ability to experiment with different styles of music. Just over a year after quitting One Direction, Zayn has now embarked on an already impressive career as a solo artist with the release of his debut album, Mind of Mine, an R’n’B album with mature lyrics and a far cry from any song ever recorded or released by his old band.
Another thing that people once saw in Robbie and are now seeing in Zayn are the controversial comments each made about their former bandmates and life as a boyband member.
In the late 1990’s Robbie had absolutely no shame in publicly slamming former Take That manager Nigel Martin-Smith, and who could forget the fierce – and indeed very public – feud he shared with Take That’s frontman Gary Barlow over who was a better artist?
Now, in 2016 history is repeating itself with Zayn. He has had no issue in reinforcing the idea of how much he dislikes pop music like One Direction’s in his interviews, and although he has admitted that he will frequently speak with former bandmate Liam Payne, he has stated that he is not too bothered with rest of the band’s members, Niall Horan, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson.
However, the controversial and brazen comments made by both artists has not seem to have impacted on their success at all. Robbie Williams is a multi-award winning household name internationally, having released ten studio albums each consisting of many chart-topping hits.
Will Zayn be able to match the success of the man who he is coincidentally following the footsteps of? He is certainly off to an extremely good start. Zayn’s debut single Pillow Talk went straight to number one in 60 countries, including America’s Billboard Hot 100, something that One Direction never achieved.
It is still early days to say if Zayn will completely follow Robbie’s footsteps or not. Although they both achieved mega success by the same means and continue to do so, Robbie eventually ended his feud with Gary Barlow and reunited with Take That for an album and tour in 2011.
Is this a ray of hope for eagle-eyed “directioners” who have noticed the similarities between the two singers? Will history repeat itself with the currently biggest boyband in the world? Only time will tell.
For now, fans of One Direction have four albums worth of songs to listen to and reminisce over, as well as new music to look forward to from the controversial, but undeniably talented Zayn Malik.