Khalid (singer)

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Khalid-MTV smiling.jpg
Khalid in October 2017
Background information
Birth nameKhalid Donnel Robinson
Born (1998-02-11) February 11, 1998 (age 21)
Fort Stewart, Georgia, U.S.
OriginEl Paso, Texas, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2016–present
Associated acts

Khalid Donnel Robinson (born February 11, 1998) is an American singer and songwriter. He is signed to Right Hand Music Group and RCA Records. His debut single, "Location", was released in July 2016 and peaked at number 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was later certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His debut studio album, American Teen, was released on March 3, 2017. Since then he has achieved several top 10 hits, a top-ten charting EP, a number one album and five Grammy nominations.

Early life[edit]

Khalid Robinson was born on February 11, 1998, in Fort Stewart, Georgia.[1] He spent his childhood in various locations due to his mother, Linda Wolfe, and father's military careers, including Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Fort Drum in Watertown, New York where he attended Carthage Senior High School, and six years in Heidelberg, Germany.[2] . Wolfe worked as a supply technician and became a member of the Army chorus. In high school, Khalid studied singing and musical theater. During his junior year of high school, the family moved to El Paso, Texas and attended Americas High School.[3]


2016–2017: American Teen and Silence[edit]

Khalid began writing and creating music in high school; he posted his early works to SoundCloud. In July 2016, he reached number two on the Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart. His single "Location" began charting, which led to his being featured in many publications, including Billboard,[4] Yahoo,[5] Buzzfeed,[6] and Rolling Stone.[7] With production from Syk Sense, Tunji Ige, and Smash David, "Location" finished the year 2016 at number 20 on the US Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart[4] and reached the Top 10 on the US Hot R&B Songs chart on January 21, 2017.[8] The music video for "Location" premiered on The Fader's website.[9] The album's second single "Young, Dumb & Broke" became a sleeper hit, becoming a hit at rhythmic formats and crossing over to pop radio into early 2018.

In January 2017, Alina Baraz's single "Electric", featuring Khalid, was released.[10] His collaboration with Brasstracks, called "Whirlwind", was part of the Yours Truly & Adidas Originals Songs from Scratch series, and received over 700,000 SoundCloud plays.[11] Khalid contributed uncredited vocals to Kendrick Lamar's song "The Heart Part 4", released on March 24, 2017.[12][13] On April 28, 2017, Logic released the single "1-800-273-8255", which featured Khalid and Alessia Cara; the single peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, making it Khalid's highest charting single.[14]

Khalid sold out every venue on his 21-city January–February 2017 Location Tour, including the 1,500-capacity Tricky Falls in El Paso.[15] Following the completion of the tour, his debut studio album American Teen was released on March 3, 2017.[16] The album received critical acclaim and Grammy Award nominations for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best R&B Song (for "Location"), at the 2018 ceremony.[17] On October 24, 2017, the album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for selling over 1,000,000 in combined pure sales and album-equivalent units.[18]

In 2017, Khalid won a VMA Award for Best New Artist.[19] Khalid made his television debut performing "Location" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon March 15, 2017, backed by The Roots.[20] His song "Angels" was featured on the ABC drama series Grey's Anatomy in the episode entitled "Don't Stop Me Now", which aired April 27, 2017.[21] September 2018, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo Friday presented Khalid with the key to the City of El Paso.[22]

Khalid’s next single was a collaboration with American DJ Marshmello titled “Silence", which was released on August 11, 2017 via RCA Records.[23] The song appeared on the Top 200 in over 28 countries.[24] It topped the Dance charts in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and charted in the Top 10 of more than fifteen countries such as Germany, Sweden and Norway. It also appeared on the year-end charts of Hungary, Denmark, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Additionally, it was certified multi-platinum in many countries. Among them were platinum by BPI (United Kingdom) and BM (Germany), double platinum by BEA (Belgium), RMNZ (New Zealand) and RIAA (United States), triple platinum by MC(Canada), a quadruple platinum by SRIA(Sweden) and a quintuple platinum by ARIA(Australia).[25]

2018–present: Suncity and Free Spirit[edit]

Khalid's song "The Ways" with rapper Swae Lee was featured in the Marvel film Black Panther. As of February 23, 2018, the song peaked at number 63 on the Billboard Hot 100.[26] In 2017, he collaborated with Lorde, SZA, and Post Malone on Lorde's "Homemade Dynamite" remix. He released a duet with singer Normani, called "Love Lies", recorded for the Love, Simon film soundtrack, which reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018.[27] "Love Lies" was each artist's first number one on the US Pop Songs chart, and finished in the top 20 of the 2018 Billboard Hot 100 Year-End chart.

In May 2018, he wrote "Youth" in collaboration with Canadian artist Shawn Mendes. The song was featured on Mendes' self titled album and contains references to the social and political climate at that time. Mendes and Khalid performed "Youth" at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on May 20, 2018, as a tribute to the victims of gun violence. The performance featured the show choir from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.[28]

He collaborated with Billie Eilish on the song "Lovely", which was sampled multiple times in the debut album of rapper Juice WRLD. In July 2018, he was featured alongside Halsey on Benny Blanco's debut single "Eastside".[29] The song charted in the Billboard Hot 100's top ten and reached number one on the US Pop Songs chart, after a record 30-week climb. He also released a song called "Better" on September 14, the first day of two hometown shows.[30] The song topped the Rhythmic Songs airplay ranking and charted in the top five at pop radio.

In October 2018, Khalid released an EP, Suncity, on October 19, 2018 through RCA Records.[31][32] The EP debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200.[33] The album also spawned the song "Saturday Nights", later remixed to feature country artist Kane Brown.

In February 2019, Khalid released the single "Talk", and he made his debut on Saturday Night Live on March 9, 2019, performing "Talk" and "Better".[34] His second studio album Free Spirit was released on April 5, 2019, along with an accompanying short film. It debuted atop the US Billboard 200 with 202,000 album-equivalent units (including 85,000 pure album sales) in its first week, becoming Khalid's first US number-one album.[35]

On April 20, 2019, Khalid made history by becoming the first and only artist to occupy the entire top 5 of the Billboard R&B Songs chart.[36][37]

On April 25, 2019, Billboard magazine reported that since March 2018, Khalid had landed a 59-week straight streak of hits (and counting) on the Hot 100 since his Normani-collab "Love Lies" debuted on the chart. He charted 12 tracks (both solo hits and features) on the Hot 100 throughout the last year.[38]

In order to promote the album, Khalid embarked on his fourth concert tour titled the "Free Spirit World Tour" which will visit North America, Europe and Oceania on May 18, 2019, which is set to conclude on December 5, 2019.[39][40][41]

Following the release of Free Spirit, Khalid was reported to have become the biggest global artist on Spotify, hitting 50.4 million monthly listeners on the streaming platform, and subsequently surpassing Ariana Grande.[42][43]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Khalid's music is primarily R&B, but has also been labeled as pop,[44] hip hop[45] and pop-soul.[46] He sings in both the baritone and tenor ranges, effectively rendering him a baritenor. Khalid possesses a two octave vocal range, ranging from the low G2 to the middle B♭4.[47] Khalid cites his mother as his leading musical inspiration[3] and has cited Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Father John Misty, Frank Ocean, Grizzly Bear, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, India.Arie, and James Blake as other influences.[48][49]





Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2017 Woodie Awards Woodie To Watch Himself Won
BET Awards[50] Best New Artist Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song "Location" Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards[51] Best New Artist Himself Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated
Best Push Artist
American Music Awards Favorite Soul/R&B Song "Location" Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards[52] Best New Artist Himself Nominated
Best R&B Soul Male Artist
Song of the Year "Location"
The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award
2018 Grammy Awards[17] Best New Artist Himself Nominated
Best Urban Contemporary Album American Teen
Best R&B Song "Location"
Song of the Year "1-800-273-8255"
(Logic featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid)
Best Music Video
Denmark GAFFA Awards[53] Best Foreign New Act Himself Won
iHeartRadio Music Awards[54] R&B Song of the Year "Location" Nominated
R&B Artist of the Year Himself
Best New R&B Artist Won
Best New Artist Nominated
Best Cover Song "Lost" by Frank Ocean
Best Remix "Homemade Dynamite"
(Lorde featuring Khalid, SZA and Post Malone)
R&B Album of the Year American Teen Won
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Breakout Artist Himself Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top New Artist Won
Top R&B Artist Nominated
Top R&B Male Artist Nominated
Top R&B Song "Young, Dumb & Broke" Nominated
Top R&B Album American Teen Nominated
BMI Pop Awards[55] Award Winning Songs "1-800-273-8255" Won
BET Awards[56] Best Male R&B/Pop Artist Himself Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Artist: R&B/Hip-Hop Himself Won
MTV Video Music Awards Push Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
Video with a Message "1-800-273-8255" Nominated
2019 Billboard Music Awards Top R&B Artist Himself Nominated
Top R&B Male Artist Nominated
Top R&B Album American Teen Nominated
Top R&B Song "Better" Nominated
Top Collaboration "Love Lies" (with Normani) Nominated
Top Radio Song Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Pop "Talk" Nominated
Song of the Summer Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi Favorite International Star Himself Nominated [57]


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  11. ^ Black, Adrienne. "Listen to Khalid and Brasstracks Team Up for "Whirlwind"". PigeonsandPlanes. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
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  17. ^ a b "See The Full List Of 60th Grammy Nominees". Grammy Award. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
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  29. ^ Blistein, Jon (2018-07-12). "Hear Benny Blanco, Halsey, Khalid Team for Bittersweet 'Eastside'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  30. ^ @thegreatkhalid (September 11, 2018). "With love, to the 915. On 9/14 a song for y'all" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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External links[edit]