Longitude Special: Khalid's Whirlwind Success

One of a new generation of artists who first gained recognition through their Soundcloud uploads, Khalid’s distinctive soulful voice and brilliant debut album, American Teen, have led to him being talked about as the best RB artist since The Weeknd.

Perhaps appropriately for someone who spent his childhood living in various cities, moving from school to school, never building a solid foundation and sharing most of his music onto a website rather than to a live audience, the single that brought Khalid into the musical mainstream was one which focused on meeting someone face-to-face. “Send me your location/let’s focus on communicatin’” he sings on 2016’s breakthrough hit ‘Location’. It was a song about relationships in the digital world, written by a 17-year-old high school kid for whom this was the new norm.

Naturally, it went quadruple platinum in the US.

A few months after its release, Khalid was embarking on a 21-date American tour, signing with RCA Records, and getting set to release his debut album. When he did put out American Teen in July 2017, he was hailed as an exceptional alternative-R&B artist, ready to follow in the footsteps of The Weeknd, Frank Ocean and fellow Longitude performers, The Internet.

But while the comparisons were appropriate, Khalid seemed to speak to, and for, a slightly younger generation. ‘Young Dumb & Broke’ was a perfect anthem for, well, anyone who has those attributes, while ‘Lovely’ saw Khalid team up with fellow young musical prodigy Billie Eilish, for a song that was used in the influential teen drama 13 Reasons Why.

On top of this, the sheer volume of singles that Khalid has released and the high-profile tracks that he’s featured on (his name has appeared beside the likes of SZA, Kendrick and Calvin Harris in the past 12 months), are cause for huge excitement. All of his songs have charted, all of them have been verified bangers, and all of this is likely to go down very, very well with Longitude audiences.


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