KHALID: THE AMERICAN TEEN
Hailing from El Paso, 19-year-old Khalid Robinson (known as ‘Khalid’) is causing a storm within the music industry, and has undoubtedly made the biggest singer/songwriter debut of 2017.
With his stunning album ‘The American Teen’ having only been released in March, he is certainly making a name for himself by racking up a staggering 26 million listeners a month on Spotify, as well as being the 20th most listened to artist in the world! The album has had widespread success in a matter of months, reaching number 1 on Billboard’s Top R&B albums list and has already gone gold in the U.S. and in neighbouring country Canada, selling a total of over 540,000 units. To top this off, he has already headlined two tours – ‘The Location Tour’ in January last year managed to sell out numerous shows and his 2017 summer tour ‘The American Teen’ completely sold out.
Let’s take his most popular one ‘Location’. Not only has it gone platinum an astonishing 5 times with over 2 million sales and streams in the U.S. alone, it sends a very reflective message about today’s relationships. Centred around a relatable theme of young love and the digital age we live in, Khalid pleads with a girl to let him know when and where to come through.
“Send me your location, let’s focus on communicating” – “I don’t wanna fall in love off of subtweets, so let’s get personal”. A message involving Twitter and preaching the idea that many of us could do with breaking down this barrier that we have when it comes to the person we’re with; instead of sub-tweeting your feelings, tell the person how you feel, go out and see them and vibe with them, there’s nothing better and I couldn’t agree more! Add in his textured tone that sits on top of the soulful backdrop, it makes for a very catchy track full of emotion and one of my personal favourites.
He’s not only smashing records on his own singles either, pulling in platinum and gold certifications for several songs. Featuring on Calvin Harris’ hit summer track ‘Rollin’ and Logic’s heart-wrenching ‘1-800-273-8255’, he’s already making friends in high places who can inspire him as a new artist in the industry. Taking from Logic’s song, (which is dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention), Khalid’s made it clear that he would like to tell other people’s stories through his music as well as his own in the hope that he can help them the same way Logic has done. To an extent, he has already achieved this; His album is a compilation of his youth and he uses his experiences in order to take his listeners on a personal journey of self-discovery, while at the same time being an artist who speaks for an entire generation, of which there are few.
Another favourite of mine is his song ‘Saved’. Much like the rest of his album, the timeless concept of love surfaces, with Khalid refusing to delete his past relationship. The soft tone of the electric guitar is the backbone to this song and with the gentle harmonies that Khalid so effortlessly provides, the warmth of the song is strangely comforting considering the song encourages us to reminisce of our own love loss.
These are some incredible achievements for someone his age, and people are taking notice. Backed by his millions of fans, Khalid joined the likes of One Direction, DNCE, and Lady Gaga in winning MTV’s VMA award for ‘Best New Artist’, announcing that “this is the start of something great”. Most recently, the Texas teen went back to his roots and released a stripped back acoustic track titled ‘Perfect’, describing it on Twitter as a ‘Song from the Soul’, and I couldn’t have put it better myself. You can feel his emotion and passion as he sings, and the same can be said for ‘Shot Down’ and ‘Angels’, two tracks which seem to lack his youthful innocence yet reflect his surprising maturity.
He’s already demonstrating his strength as an artist – writing, singing, producing – he seems to have it all, which is impressive considering he only started producing music at the end of 2015. I can’t wait to see what he puts out next!
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Posted by Conor Lusher