Everytime you turn on the radio, it seems you are guaranteed to hear the voice of 20-year old R&B pop singer Khalid. The artist’s career started with the release of his debut song, “Location”, in 2016, which he wrote while still in high school. Kylie Jenner would end up using it in a Snapchat story and from there Khalid quite literally went from an unknown teenager to an artist in the spotlight. The song reached five times platinum in the United States, which is a really big deal in the music industry. The next year after “Location”, Khalid released his first studio album titled American Teen which discusses the bittersweetness of being a teen and also the struggles of love.
No one can deny how talented Khalid is. He is both a strong and unique vocalist. Despite most of the music featured on the album being written in high school, Khalid has managed to write relatively mature-toned music. I do think that a major part of Khalid’s appeal to younger generations is the relatableness of high school. His lyric content is relatively mainstream, mostly centered around love and the struggles of the high school/young adult stage of life, but he brings a innocent and new look to it. Another benefit of his album is most songs can be played in a variety of settings. Consisting of simple beats and enjoyable vocals, most songs radiate laid back and pleasant vibes.
Khalid’s inspirations vary from his mom (how cute!) to Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, and Frank Ocean. In fact, he appeared on BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge and covered Frank Ocean’s Lost. The style of those artists can be heard in his music, but he definitely adds his own style to it.
Although Khalid is amazing as a solo artist, features and duets have been a big part of his success. In the past he has been featured on Logic’s “1-800-273-8255”, which hit number three on the Billboards, Marshmello’s “Silence”, and duet, “Love Lies” with Fifth Harmony member Normani. Recently he and Billie Eilish collabed on “lovely”, “Rollin” by Calvin Harris, and “Eastside” by Benny Blanco, currently at number twenty-eight on the Billboards. All of theses collabs have had great success and they certainly have given him exposure to a bigger fan basis.
Khalid’s most recent release was a song called “Better” in mid September, and if the single is any indication to how the next album is going to sound, the artist will continue to dominate the charts. There have been rumors that new music from Khalid would come later this fall. As the leading face of modern R&B, I am excited to see what this 20-year old does next.