While millions of teenage girls would do anything to get his attention today, the 19-year-old heart-throb hasn't always been as successful with the ladies. TheFIX got the scoop from Zayn on the phone from the UK.
"I remember once when I was about 12, I was in high school and there was a girl who was a lot older than me, she was in her last year of school and I really fancied her," Zayn tells TheFIX.
"So I wrote her a song and recorded it on a little cassette tape and gave it to her at school.
"She thought I was cute but obviously I was still five years younger than her but when you're in school, five years is a big difference. She wasn't really that interested!"
How times have changed. Zayn is now one-fifth of the world's biggest boy band, who together have made an estimated $155 million in two years. He also has a girlfriend, Little Mix singer Perrie Edwards.
With the band's second album Take Me Home coming out in November, the last thing on Zayn's mind is a solo career.
"I'm not really thinking about [going solo] right now. Who knows what the future holds. You never know," he reveals.
"I'm having fun with what I'm doing here, I've been given an amazing opportunity so I'm just trying to concentrate on this."
Smart business move, buddy. The band's new single 'Live While We're Young' has already become the highest-selling pre-order single in history in more than 50 countries, and it's expected to blitz the charts following its release today.
While the reaction to the upbeat track has been overwhelmingly positive, some fans have pointed out that the opening riff is strikingly similar to The Clash's 1981 classic 'Should I Stay or Should I Go'.
"I actually can't hear the similarity," Zayn says.
"It's the same with 'What Makes You Beautiful', they said that the riff sounded a bit like the Grease tune ['Summer Nights'].
"I think it's just that there's so many people that use guitarists in their songs, there's probably a limited amount of them left in the world so, it probably does sound quite similar but I can't hear it."
The music video, which debuted last Friday, has already racked up a dizzying 30 million YouTube streams. It might have something to do with five attractive British-Irish boys romping around in a pool wearing wet t-shirts.
Niall and Harry even take their shirts off ... so why didn't Zayn do the same?
"I don't know. I don't think I'm that confident with my t-shirt off! Joking," he laughs. "I don't know why I didn't take it off, it was just spur of the moment."
'Live While We're Young' gives us a taste of what to expect from Take Me Home, which is "cheekier" than their debut three-million-selling effort Up All Night.
"This album is a little bit cheekier. And it's kinda grown with us, which we wanted to happen," Zayn reveals. "We just wanted it to sound a little bit older in terms of the lyrics and the whole sound of it."
While 1D's biggest hits 'What Makes You Beautiful', 'One Thing' and the 'LWWY' have all been written for them, Zayn and the boys write regularly together, and having a few of their own works on their albums.
"[I write] all the time. Just whenever I get a bit of free time," Zayn told us.
"And when we get together as a group it's always quite cool because you can just bring up ideas and stuff that you came up with yourself, and then you work on it with the lads."
Zayn speaks proudly of the band's vocal maturation since they formed on The X Factor UK in 2010.
"When we all first got put into the band, none of us actually knew what a harmony was," he adds. "That just proves how far we've come with the stuff that we're doing."
'Live While We're Young' is out today. Take Me Home is out November 9.
Watch the clip for 'Live While We're Young' below:
Compare 1D's new song with The Clash here: