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What I Am

Zaym Malik's New Single

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Article by: C.C. Art by: follow.the.sun.sisters

On March 5, 2024, ZAYN once again shocked the fandom when he started teasing his newest single, a song that would come to be known as ‘What I Am’. It all started when ZAYN went live on Instagram for under a minute. In this brief video, viewers could hear a tease of an unheard song being sung by ZAYN. Thus, the promo for ‘What I Am’ had begun. The promo occurred primarily through social media, from both ZAYN himself as well as his team’s account INZAYN was revived and began posting on Twitter (X) for the first time in almost 3 years, as well as on Instagram. After the brief Instagram live, INZAYN tweeted ‘zoon’ in response to a tweet from an Update Account (UA) asking if INZAYN knew anything regarding the short Instagram live. 

Later that same day, ZAYN posted a reel to his Instagram about his highly anticipated 4th album. The reel ZAYN posted features scenes of him at his farm, discussing his thoughts on his newest album. He talks about how he hopes the listener will get to know him more through this album, as well as mentioning how raw the sound is. The sound is all ZAYN, and he intended it to be that way, so listeners could connect with the music and the lyrics directly, with nothing in the way.  The end of the video also included a small sound clip previewing a song from the album, the same sound as viewers had heard on Instagram live. At the time, there was still no mention of a song name.

Two days later, on March 7th, ZAYN posted another reel to his Instagram with another sound clip from the mystery song, along with the caption to his post reading ‘If I told you I loved you, would you say that it’s fucked up?’ and a date, 15.03.2024. With this news everyone was now ecstatic in anticipation that ZAYN would be releasing a new song on March 15th, with a brand-new sound. The fandom had been patiently waiting since the release of ZAYN’s last single ‘Love Like This’ in July 2023 for news on the 4th album or on any singles from the album. His Instagram reel included more idyllic clips of him walking around his farm, very aligned with the relaxed yet real sound and feel of what had been teased so far from his newest single. In parallel, INZAYN also posted an image of the cover art and officially revealed the name of the new single as ‘What I Am’. The cover art features a hazel-brown eye, which appears to be ZAYN’s eye due to colour and the fact the eye was complete with an eye freckle which we are all well aware that ZAYN has.

On March 8th, INZAYN posted a contest for fans to enter to go to a listening party for ZAYN’s new music on March 15, 2024, in London, United Kingdom. ZAYN has not done a listening party since the release of his second album Icarus Falls back in 2018. INZAYN also posted another reel of ZAYN with a sound clip from ‘What I Am’ where ZAYN is pictured just chilling, as ZAYN does. Additional promo reels were posted on March 9th and 11th by INZAYN and ZAYN of the same sound clip from ‘What I Am’ all with very similar vibes in these subsequent reels. Once again, all of the promo shows ZAYN, relaxed and just hanging out at various locations around his farm, which appears very much in line with the feeling ZAYN mentioned in his first promo reel about how the music is real, raw and personal to himself. The March 11th promo also included a post from Hot Ones stating that ZAYN had been on the show and his interview would be released on Thursday March 14th. Hot Ones is a popular interview show where the interviewees undergo their interview while eating different hot sauces with escalating amounts of heat. The fact that ZAYN would be on Hot Ones was very quickly picked up by the fandom. 

Then on March 13th, ZAYN in a very unexpected move dropped the name of his 4th album along with a release date and with an option for fans to pre-save the album that coming Friday, March 15th. His newest album is called ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’ and will be released on May 17, 2024. The same day INZAYN and ZAYN posted to Instagram and Twitter pictures of ZAYN at Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show. A video was posted around the same time by The Tonight Show of ZAYN. In the clip ZAYN suddenly walks onto the stage of the Tonight Show, presses play on a laptop where ‘What I Am’ starts playing, hands Jimmy a note and walks off stage all without a word, while Jimmy appears to be very confused. The clip goes on to show Jimmy reading the note ZAYN handed him aloud, and Jimmy pulls out a copy of what appears to be a vinyl of the new album ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’ while mentioning the release of both the single ‘What I Am’ on March 15th and the album ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’ on May 17th. Honestly, all very on brand for ZAYN, but a shock, nonetheless. With the limited exposure ZAYN has had in the past few years, all this promo was an unexpected but welcome surprise for the fans. 

On March 14th, ZAYN’s Hot Ones interview was posted onto YouTube. In summary of the interview ZAYN opens up about life at home on his farm, talks about his gardening skills, his samurai sword collection, recalls some fond One Direction memories, and of course speaks about the release of his new single ‘What I Am’ and the new album. The memories ZAYN shared about One Direction were a nice surprise for the Directioners, as typically ZAYN has shied away from talking too much about that time in his life. When talking about his new single and album, he reiterated that the music is very raw, personal, and real about the last 6 years of his life and he hopes that the listeners will connect to that. He also revealed the inspiration for his album name ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’, as the album was primarily recorded in a small room in his house.

Finally, March 15th the day of release for ‘What I Am’ has arrived! The release was rolled out at local time for the listener, with the final official release occurring at 12:00AM EST (Eastern Standard Time). At the time of the final official release INZAYN and ZAYN posted notifying that ‘What I Am’ has officially been released, and also shared a link to ZAYN’s new storefront https://shop.inzayn.com/  for fans to purchase merchandise and music from the store for both ‘What I Am’ and ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’. The items available varied depending on the purchaser’s location but include two different vinyl variants of ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’ with signed inserts, a CD with a signed insert, a digital music download, a couple different sweatshirt options, a tote bag, and a keychain.

That same day the listening party took place in London and ZAYN himself showed up to surprise the attendees. Footage from the event was later shared to social media by INZAYN showing ZAYN chatting with the fans and signing items for them.

All in all, the promo for ZAYN’s latest single ‘What I Am’ (and by extension the start of the promo for the album ‘ROOM UNDER THE STAIRS’) was very unexpected in a good way and was also pulled off incredibly fast from the first tease of the song to the release happening in just over a week. In comparison to the release of ZAYN’s third album ‘Nobody is Listening’ back in 2021 where there was very little promo, it was nice to see ZAYN get the promo he so deserves. It was also refreshing to see the promo done in a way that more aligns with how we know ZAYN to be as a person, as someone who wants to stay away from the spotlight. From appearing on the Tonight Show but not saying a word, to having all of the promo reels shot at his very own residence, the promo definitely lent a unique but effective marketing strategy specific to ZAYN. Lastly, the promo definitely gave us insight to and content of Farmer ZAYN which is something we all love to see. 

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