Although it's just Zayn these days (since around March 2015), when I knew him growing up from early 1993 until the Spring of 2010, he was one of the Maliks of East Bowling, Bradford, West Yorkshire UK. His name back then was spelt as Zain.
Most of my family are laid to rest in the West Bowling Cemetery, where I still return regularly to this day, although we now live in County Donegal, Ireland (the original home of family on other sides).
We always knew that Zayn's Mother, Tricia, was half Irish, so I suppose that was one of the reasons why my family and me would talk to her? Also she was a School Dinner Lady and one of my Grandads ran Canteens, Cafes & Restaurants throught West Yorkshire (then later in East Yorkshire) meaning that there were many things our 2 families had in common.
Zayn was constantly surrounded by females at home: 3 Sisters and 5 Aunties. Zayn said that made him soft, but later said 'I always felt that made me a stronger man'.
Zayn and his Sisters, Doniya, Waliyha and Safaa, were often asked 'Who's the brown person? Is it your Mum or your Dad? and as everyone knows these days, it was his Dad that was British Pakistani and that Zayn grew up in a mixed race working class family. Safaa was always dressed and looked particularly cute when she was very young.
I did not know Zayn very well, but if he saw me he would always say 'Hello'. He was a shy boy.
There was a school performance of Bugsy Malone, which we all saw him in. His performance was better than many of the others in the show.
Particularly though, I remember asking him one day, how he had got on singing on stage at the school, when the performer Jay Sean had just visited, because everyone was talking about this locally and with myself being a Club DJ during the late 70s, I could never resist personally talking music, whenever the opportunity arose! His response was that it was 'cool' but that he was 'too nervous to enjoy the performance'. I said in reply 'Do you want to be a singer when you grow up?' and he said 'No, I am going to be an English Teacher'.
The whole local community were therefore quite surprised when hearing that Zayn was to attend an XFactor audition in Manchester on Sunday April 11th 2010. As he was in his 1st year of A Levels, we knew he was studying hard and were not surprised to find out a few days later that his Mum Tricia, had great trouble getting him out of bed at 4pm that Sunday morning!
I had wished Zayn well and said 'good luck lad' when I saw him out, on Friday 9th April 2010. Nobody could have imagined the journey of such tremendous and intense success which lay ahead.
This two part mini blog has been written Roger C. (also known as DJ ROGER) Joint Partner of The Token House Partnership.
The first installment is launched today, as part of One Direction's 10 Year Celebrations of 23 July 2020.
The second installment will be published on 23 August 2020.
Part 1 has been named: 'ZAYN ONE DIRECTION - Part One Malik'.
Part 2 has been named: 'ZAYN ONE DIRECTION - Part Two Zarry'.