Khalid (singer)

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Khalid in 2018
Khalid in 2018
Background information
Birth nameKhalid Donnel Robinson
Born (1998-02-11) February 11, 1998 (age 26)
Fort Stewart, Georgia, U.S.
OriginEl Paso, Texas, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active2016–present

Khalid Donnel Robinson (kə-LID) (born February 11, 1998)[1] is an American singer and songwriter from El Paso, Texas. He signed with Courtney Stewart's Right Hand Music Group, an imprint of RCA Records to release his 2016 debut single, "Location" and its 2017 follow-up, "Young Dumb & Broke." Both songs peaked within the top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, received diamond certifications by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and preceded the release of his debut studio album, American Teen (2017). Met with critical and commercial success, it received quadruple platinum certification by the RIAA and was nominated for Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.

In April 2017, he guest performed alongside Alessia Cara on Logic's hit single "1-800-273-8255," which earned him a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year. In 2018, Robinson released the hit singles "Love Lies" (with Normani) and "Eastside" (with Benny Blanco and Halsey), both of which achieved the record for longest-charting songs within the Mainstream Top 40 chart and reached the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. Later that year, he released his third top-ten single "Better," which preceded his debut extended play (EP) Suncity. In April 2019, he released his second studio album Free Spirit, which debuted atop the Billboard 200. Its lead single, "Talk" peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100—remaining his highest-charting song to date—and earned him a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year.

Robinson has received numerous accolades, including six Grammy Award nominations, six Billboard Music Awards, three American Music Awards and a MTV Video Music Award. In 2019, Robinson was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People.[2]

Early life[edit]

Robinson was born in Fort Stewart, Georgia.[3] He spent his childhood in various locations due to his mother, Linda Wolfe, and her father's military careers, including Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Fort Drum in Watertown, New York, and six years in Heidelberg, Germany.[4] Wolfe worked as a supply technician and became a member of the Army corps. In high school, Robinson studied singing and musical theater. He attended Carthage Central High School in Carthage, New York for his first three years of high school before he and his mother moved to El Paso, Texas, where he attended Americas High School for his senior year.[5]


2016–2017: American Teen[edit]

Khalid began writing and creating music in high school; he posted his early works to SoundCloud. Shortly after graduating from Americas High School, Khalid reached number two on the Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart in July 2016. His single "Location" began charting, which led to his being featured in many publications, including Billboard,[6] Yahoo!,[7] BuzzFeed,[8] and Rolling Stone.[9] 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[6] and reached the Top 10 on the US Hot R&B Songs chart on January 21, 2017.[10] The music video for "Location" premiered on The Fader's website.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] Khalid contributed uncredited vocals to Kendrick Lamar's song "The Heart Part 4", released on March 24, 2017.[14][15] 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.[16]

He sold out every venue on his 21-city January–February 2017 Location Tour, including the 1,500-capacity Tricky Falls in El Paso.[17] Following the completion of the tour, his debut studio album American Teen was released on March 3, 2017.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20]

In 2017, Khalid won a VMA Award for Best New Artist.[21] Khalid made his television debut performing "Location" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on March 15, 2017, backed by the Roots.[22] 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.[23] In September 2018, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo Friday presented Khalid with the key to the City of El Paso.[24]

Khalid's next single was a collaboration with American DJ Marshmello titled "Silence", which was released on August 11, 2017, via RCA Records.[25] The song appeared on the Top 200 in over 28 countries. 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 5× Platinum by the RIAA and platinum or multiplatinum in many countries including the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Australia, and others.

2018–2019: 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]

Khalid wrote and provided vocals for DJ/producer Martin Garrix's song "Ocean", released through Stmpd Rcrds on June 15, 2018. It peaked at number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 5 on the Dance/Electronic Songs chart, and finished at number 16 on its 2018-year end chart, then number 81 the next year.

He collaborated with Billie Eilish on the song "Lovely", which was sampled multiple times on Goodbye & Good Riddance, the debut album of rapper Juice Wrld. It was also played on the popular Netflix series 13 Reasons Why in Season 2 Episode 13. 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 8 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 collaboration "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] In October 2019, Khalid and Major Lazer released a single titled "Trigger" which was also featured on Death Stranding's soundtrack.

2020–present: Scenic Drive and Everything Is Changing[edit]

On July 11, 2021, Khalid premiered his single "New Normal" during Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic Unity 22 spaceflight at Spaceport America, New Mexico.[44][45] The song will appear on his upcoming third studio album Everything Is Changing.[46]

Prior to the album's release, Khalid released his first mixtape Scenic Drive on December 3, 2021.[47] On November 20, 2021, Khalid previewed a new song titled "Backseat", which serves as the third track on the mixtape.[48][47] His next song, tiled "Silver Platter", was featured on the soundtrack album for the 2023 film Barbie.[49]

In April 2024, He released a single titled "Please Don't Fall In Love With Me"

Musical style and influences[edit]

Khalid's music is primarily R&B,[50][51] hip hop,[52] pop[50] and pop-soul.[53] He sings in both the baritone and tenor ranges, effectively rendering him a baritenor. Khalid possesses a two and a half octave vocal range, ranging from the low F2 to the middle B♭4.[54] Khalid cites his mother as his leading musical inspiration[5] 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.[55][56]





Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2017 Woodie Awards Woodie To Watch Himself Won
BET Awards[57] Best New Artist Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song "Location" Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards[58] Best New Artist Himself Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated
Best Push Artist
American Music Awards Favorite Song – Soul/R&B "Location" Nominated
Soul Train Music Awards[59] 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[19] Best New Artist Himself Nominated
Best Urban Contemporary Album American Teen
Best R&B Song "Location"
Song of the Year
Best Music Video
GAFFA Awards (Denmark)[60] Best Foreign New Act Himself Won
iHeartRadio Music Awards[61] 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
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[62] Award Winning Songs "1-800-273-8255" Won
BET Awards[63] Best Male R&B/Pop Artist Himself Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Artist: R&B/Hip-Hop Won
MTV Video Music Awards Push Artist of the Year Nominated
Video with a Message "1-800-273-8255" Nominated
iHeartRadio Titanium Awards 1 Billion Total Audience Spins on iHeartRadio Stations "Love Lies" (with Normani) Won
Soul Train Music Awards Best R&B/Soul Male Artist Himself Nominated
Best Collaboration Performance "OTW" (with Ty Dolla Sign and 6lack) Nominated
2019 BET Awards Best Male R&B/Pop Artist Himself Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top R&B Artist Nominated
Top R&B Male Artist Nominated
Top R&B Album American Teen Nominated
Top R&B Song "Better" Nominated
Top Collaboration Nominated
Top Radio Song Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards Best Pop "Talk" Nominated
Song of Summer Nominated
Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Abu Dhabi[64] Favorite International Star Himself Nominated
American Music Awards Favorite Male Artist – Pop/Rock Won
Favorite Male Artist – Soul/R&B Nominated
Favorite Album – Soul/R&B Free Spirit Won
Favorite Song – Soul/R&B "Talk" Won
iHeartRadio Titanium Awards 1 Billion Total Audience Spins on iHeartRadio Stations "Eastside" (Halsey & Benny Blanco) Won
Soul Train Music Awards[65] Best R&B/Soul Male Artist Himself Won
Song of the Year "Talk" Nominated
The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award Nominated
Video of the Year Better Nominated
Album/Mixtape of the Year Free Spirit Nominated
2020 Grammy Awards Record of the Year "Talk" Nominated
BET Awards Best Male R&B/Pop Artist Himself Nominated
MTV Video Music Awards[66] Best Collaboration "Beautiful People"
(with Ed Sheeran)
Best R&B "Eleven"
(featuring Summer Walker)
iHeartRadio Music Awards Male Artist of the Year Himself Nominated
R&B Artist of the Year Nominated
Best Collaboration "Eastside"
(featuring Benny Blanco and Halsey)
Best Lyric "Beautiful People"
(with Ed Sheeran)
R&B Song of the Year "Talk" Nominated
R&B Album of the Year Free Spirit Won
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Male Artist Himself Nominated
Outstanding Song, Contemporary "Talk" Nominated
Outstanding Music Video Nominated
Billboard Music Awards Top Artist Himself Nominated
Top Male Artist Nominated
Top Billboard 200 Artist Nominated
Top Hot 100 Artist Nominated
Top Radio Songs Artist Nominated
Top R&B Tour Artist Won
Top R&B Artist Won
Top R&B Male Artist Won
Top Radio Song "Talk" Nominated
Top R&B Song Won
Top Billboard 200 Album Free Spirit Nominated
Top R&B Album Won
iHeartRadio Titanium Awards 1 Billion Total Audience Spins on iHeartRadio Stations "Talk" Won[67]
"Better" Won[67]
Juno Awards International Album of the Year Free Spirit Nominated
2021 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Contemporary) "So Done"
(with Alicia Keys)
2022 MTV Video Music Awards Song of Summer "Numb"
(with Marshmello)


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External links[edit]