Khalid is a prolific collaborator. He's worked with numerous other artists to create hit songs that define the sound of his generation. From working with R&B legends like Alicia Keys to working with pop icons like Ed Sheeran and Calvin Harris, Khalid has numerous features with musical geniuses.
His discography includes features and collaborations that we love and cherish. However, that is not to say that he takes up every collaboration opportunity that comes his way. And that's because Khalid is deliberate with his collaborative projects.
In an interview with NPR, A&R recording label executive Tunji Balogun confirmed that he has been careful and deliberate when collaborating with other artists. "It's our job as his team to make sure that it's all paced perfectly and that we're not, like, overdoing it," Balogun explained.
He continued, saying, "It's about galvanizing the people that are already in love with him [Khalid] and then slowly trying to reel in other people through these collaborations with other artists that he respects."
Artists typically use cross-genre collaborations to introduce themselves to different audiences. Khalid's genre-bending collaborations have introduced him to a wider audience through the years.
So, what's different about Khalid's approach to music and collaborations?
Let's examine his unique approach to musical collaboration.
Unique Music Without Genre Boundaries
Khalid is one of the most streamed artists, especially on Spotify, thanks partly to his genre-bending collaborations and ability to appeal to a variety of audiences. In 2020, he became the youngest artist to reach over 15 billion streams on Spotify. The following year, he cemented his superstardom when he became the youngest artist to surpass 20 billion streams on Spotify.
His style of music, whether in singles or across his albums, consistently draws from multiple genres. He combines the musical style and delivery of pop, R&B, hip-hop, and soul.
Right from the formative stages of his career, he deliberately worked on diversifying his audience by refusing to be caged into just one genre, as is traditionally the case with many artists. His music, especially when you listen to his albums, straddles between R&B and pop.
Speaking with NPR in 2019, Khalid's manager, Courtney Stewart, said, "The first thing he said [was that] he didn't want to be boxed in" when describing their first meeting with his label.
In the same vein, Balogun notes that Khalid "kind of very carefully keeps a foot in both of those worlds [R&B and pop]," says Balogun. "So when it comes to playlisting, we attempt to reach either with his music.
The Impact of Khalid's Genre-Bending Collaborative Ventures
The positive impact of his cross-genre music has been evident in the performance of his music on streaming platforms, especially Spotify. Working with other superstars such as Ed Sheeran, Halsey, Shawn Mendes, and Billie Eilish with his music style not feeling out of place introduced him to new audiences.
Additionally, some of his songs would appear on R&B playlists, while others would appear on pop charts, with neither song feeling out of place or inauthentic.