Khalid Donnel Robinson (born February 11, 1998) is an American singer and songwriter. He is signed to Right Hand Music Group and RCA Records. In March 2017, Khalid released his debut studio album, American Teen, the album spawned the US top-twenty singles, "Location" and “Young Dumb & Broke”, and was later certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Later that year he was featured on Logic’s US top-ten single, “1-800-273-8255”, with Alessia Cara, which earned him a Grammy Award for Song of the Year nomination. The following year Khalid released the number one pop songs, “Love Lies” with Normani and “Eastside” with Benny Blanco and Halsey, both of which tied the record for longest charting songs on the Mainstream Top 40 chart and reached the top-ten on the Billboard Hot 100. In September 2018, Khalid released the number one rhythmic song, “Better”, as the lead single from his top-ten EP, Suncity. In April 2019, he released his second studio album, Free Spirit, whiched debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart. The lead single “Talk”, peaked at number 3 in the US, and earned him a Grammy Award for Record of the Year nomination.
Khalid has received multiple accolades including six Grammy Award nominations, three American Music Awards and a MTV Video Music Award.
Khalid Donnel Robinson was born on February 11, 1998, in Fort Stewart, Georgia. 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, and six years in Heidelberg, Germany. Wolfe worked as a supply technician and became a member of the Army chorus. In high school, Khalid 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 family moved to El Paso, Texas, where he attended Americas High School for his senior year.
2016–2017: American Teen and "Silence"
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, Yahoo, BuzzFeed, and Rolling Stone. 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 and reached the Top 10 on the US Hot R&B Songs chart on January 21, 2017. The music video for "Location" premiered on The Fader's website. 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. 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. Khalid contributed uncredited vocals to Kendrick Lamar's song "The Heart Part 4", released on March 24, 2017. 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.
Khalid sold out every venue on his 21-city January–February 2017 Location Tour, including the 1,500-capacity Tricky Falls in El Paso. Following the completion of the tour, his debut studio album American Teen was released on March 3, 2017. 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. 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.
In 2017, Khalid won a VMA Award for Best New Artist. Khalid made his television debut performing "Location" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon March 15, 2017, backed by The Roots. 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. September 2018, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo Friday presented Khalid with the key to the City of El Paso.
Khalid's next single was a collaboration with American DJ Marshmello titled "Silence", which was released on August 11, 2017 via RCA Records. 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 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).
2018–present: Suncity and Free Spirit
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. 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. "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.
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. In July 2018, he was featured alongside Halsey on Benny Blanco's debut single "Eastside". 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. 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. The EP debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200. 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". 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. In October 2019, Khalid and Major Lazer released a single titled "Trigger" which was also featured on Death Stranding's soundtrack.
Musical style and influences
Khalid's music is primarily R&B, hip hop, pop and pop-soul. 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. Khalid cites his mother as his leading musical inspiration 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.
- American Teen (2017)
- Free Spirit (2019)
- The Location Tour (2017)
- American Teen Tour (2017–2018)
- Roxy Tour (2018)
- Free Spirit World Tour (2019)
- Lorde – Melodrama World Tour (2017)
Awards and nominations
|2017||Woodie Awards||Woodie To Watch||Himself||Won|
|BET Awards||Best New Artist||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice R&B/Hip-Hop Song||"Location"||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||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||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||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)||Best Foreign New Act||Himself||Won|
|iHeartRadio Music Awards||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|
|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||Award Winning Songs||"1-800-273-8255"||Won|
|BET Awards||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 Radio Song||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Pop||"Talk"||Nominated|
|Song of Summer||Nominated|
|Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi||Favorite International Star||Himself||Nominated|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Male Artist-Pop/Rock||Himself||Won|
|Favorite Album-Soul/R&B||Free Spirit||Won|
|2020||Grammy Awards||Record of the Year||"Talk"||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Collaboration||"Beautiful People"