Zayn Malik
Zayn Malik is believed to be working on his debut solo album with the hopes of launching an R&B career Getty Images

Former One Direction star Zayn Malik is making big waves in the music industry with the singer reportedly working with John Legend's producer on his solo recordings.

After cutting ties with former best friend Naughty Boy, the 22 year old has now teamed up with music producer Malay, who has worked with the likes of Legend, Frank Ocean and Alicia Keys, in the hopes of pushing his sound in an R&B direction.

Malay, 36, is credited with contributing heavily on Ocean's Grammy-winning 2012 debut album Channel Orange, as well as producing Keys' critically-acclaimed single Girl On Fire. He also worked on the soundtrack for 50 Cent's 2005 movie Get Rich Or Die Tryin'.

The producer confirmed his collaboration with the 1D alum star by sharing a photo of his young daughter posing with the singer alongside the caption: "Benefits of the job.. my daughter gets to meet my co-workers, one who happens to be one of her favorites @niazkilam what an amazing soul #zaynmalik." Earlier in July, Malay also posted a blurry photo of the singer behind the mic in a recording studio.

Malik has also found a new management team ,with reports that his career will be led by Sarah Stenett, who is currently plugging Australian rapper Iggy Azalea. According to Billboard, Stenett's London-based company also works with an array of other pop singers, including Rita Ora and Ellie Goulding.

The move comes just weeks after it was alleged the What Makes You Beautiful singer had been dropped by Simon Cowell's Syco record label in the wake of his departure from One Direction. Although a rep said that Malik was still a part of the Syco family, Cowell reportedly revealed that the solo singer had joined another imprint under the Sony label.

The X Factor boss told The Sun: "Well, because it was his decision to leave the group and we hadn't asked him to do it, I felt my main responsibility was to the band. They didn't ask for it to happen either and I did sign One Direction as a group. But luckily within Sony there are a lot of labels who are really good."

He added: "I had a feeling there was one particular label who would love to have him and they did. It enables them to treat him as a priority and us to carry on with what we're doing with the boys."

Malik dramatically quit the boy band in March 2015 in the midst of their On The Road Again world tour, stating he wanted to take time out of the spotlight to be "normal".