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Zayn shares emotional new single ‘What I Am’

The song teases his forthcoming album, Room Under the Stairs

By Emily Zemler


Zayn has unveiled a new single, ‘What I Am.’ The powerful song heralds the musician’s fourth studio album, Room Under the Stairs, out May 17 via Mercury Records. Zayn teased the single on social media and during a short appearance on The Tonight Show earlier this week.

“Don’t take me for what I’m sayin’/ Just take me for what I am,” Zayn croons on the lovelorn singel. “‘Cause this is where I’m stayin’/ My two feet are in the sand.”

Room Under the Stairs was co-produced by Dave Cobb and was written over the course of several years at Malik’s home in rural Pennsylvania. It marks Malik’s first album with his new label Mercury Records.

“This is my favorite album that I’ve made to date, mainly because it comes from a place of sheer honesty and vulnerability,” Zayn said in a statement. “I wanted each song to feel as if it was just me sitting beside you telling you how I feel, singing directly to you. It’s raw and stripped back and the type of music I always hoped to make. Working with Dave Cobb has been an amazing experience. The way he’s elevated the music is second to none, and he has done an incredible job helping me create this record. I hope we can take listeners on some whimsical, magical journey, and that they enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it.”

The musician added, “I think just being where I was at that time, staying away from things and living with my own thoughts inspired me to want to write something from that place. I’ve got to put this out as a whole body of work, it’s something for myself, not even just for the world.”

Malik’s last album, Nobody Is Listening, was released in 2021. Since then, he’s shared a couple of scattered singles, including “To Begin Again” with Ingrid Michaelson, a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Angel,’ and last year’s ‘Love Like This.’ In January, he collaborated with the up-and-coming Pakistani group Aur on a reimagining of their hit single, “Tu Hai Kahan.” 

Room Under the Stairs is available for pre-order now. Fans can purchase two special vinyl editions, a signed “Studio Edition” with exclusive cover art, a limited-edition color vinyl, and two CDs with special booklets including lyrics.