Source: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global

Khalid's Transformation: Teen to Music Phenomenon

Discover Khalid's journey from a hopeful teen with a love for music to becoming an R&B phenomenon with hits like "Location." Dive into his inspiring career path.


Nov. 1 2023, Published 8:39 p.m. ET

Khalid Donnel Robinson, known simply as Khalid, went from an ordinary teen looking to enjoy life after high school graduation to a global R&B sensation taking the music world by storm. In his Tracy Chapman-esque musical style, as some musical critics say, Khalid went from being moved by teenage motivations to moving people with his music.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Khalid said the release of his breakout song “Location” was moved forward to make it easier for him to win Prom King.

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“My management team wanted to be very strategic with its release, and they had originally wanted to wait on it a bit longer before putting it out,” Khalid revealed. “But it was prom season, and I felt like everyone in school was thinking I’d fallen off or something, and I wanted to win Prom King. So I was like, ‘We need to release this right now!’ So they released it just for my sake, and I did end up winning Prom King!”

But his meteoric rise in the world of music is a testament to his talent.

He has always been singing with his mom, who was a singer in the Army. However, he only took singing seriously when he joined his high school’s choir and took voice lessons. Even then, he only planned to do musical theatre or be a musical teacher.

After moving to El Paso, Texas, he started writing and recording music to vent the heartbreak of leaving his friends in New York. He wrote and recorded songs, including, “Saved” on SoundCloud, building a loyal fan base in El Paso.

“American Teen” Album – 2017

His first song from the “American Teen” album, “Location” experienced immense success as his first single. It peaked at No. 20 on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. His second album’s single also enjoyed success. After a successful tour, he released the “American Teen” album on March 3, 2017.

The album performed well and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) after selling over 1 million albums. He received a Grammy Awards nomination for R&B song for “Location” and Best Album.

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“Suncity” EP – 2018

In 2018, Khalid released his first EP, “Suncity” which debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200.

He’s also released numerous singles and featured on many other music industry titans’ songs such as Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, Mariah Carey, Future, Lil Wayne, and many others.

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“Free Spirit” Album – 2019

He released his second album “Free Spirit” on April 5, 2019. It debuted No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold 202,000 album-equivalent units in the first week. He made history two later by becoming the first and only artist to occupy the top five of the Billboard R&B Songs chart.

Following the release of the “Free Spirit” album, he embarked on the Free Spirit World tour with stops in North America, Oceania, and Europe from May to December.

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“Scenic Drive” (The Tape) Mixtape – 2021

In December 2021 he released his first mix tape.

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‘Barbie’ Soundtrack — 2023

His song, “Silver Platter” was featured on the soundtrack for the 2023 Barbie movie, which also featured artists such as Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and Nicki Minaj.

We can’t wait to see what new music Khalid drops in 2024!

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