Zayn Malik has "learned about himself" this year.
The former One Direction star’s girlfriend Gigi Hadid believes his solo album has helped him discover who he is.
She told People magazine: "I think that he really deserves recognition for the music that he made this year. It’s been amazing to kind of see him learn about himself and the music that makes him really happy to sing."
And the 21-year-old model previously revealed she is a big fan of Zayn’s solo offerings.
She shared: "I grew up in a household where my stepdad was a classical musical producer – Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban – that was the music I was into. I think we can all name a One Direction song that we like. Or maybe not. I love Zayn Malik solo a lot more!"
Meanwhile, the 23-year-old singer recently opened up about his time in the chart-topping group, claiming there was no room for him to "experiment creatively" whilst in the band.
He explained: "There was never any room for me to experiment creatively in the band. If I would sing a hook or a verse slightly R&B, or slightly myself, it would always be recorded 50 times until there was a straight version that was pop, generic as f**k, so they could use that version.
"Whenever I would suggest something, it was like it didn’t fit us. There was just a general conception that the management already had of what they want for the band, and I just wasn’t convinced with what we were selling."
Zayn departed One Direction in March 2015 and the rest of the band – which includes Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Niall Horan and Louis Tomlinson – decided to take a hiatus soon after.