Artist Profile: Khalid


(Image Credit: Ed and Deanna Templeton/Vogue)

Jelani Dupon, Writer

Over the last three years, Khalid Donnel Robinson, better known as just Khalid, has been topping the charts with his music and making himself a household name. He’s a Georgia born singer and songwriter with only two studio albums and one EP, and yet he’s one of, if not the most popular contemporary R&B singers right now. How did he do this? The answers lie in his one-of-a-kind start from his astronomical first album, followed by his hit-filled EP, and capped off with his eagerly awaited third album, and I’m going to deconstruct each one of them. 

American Teen (2017) is Khalid’s first studio album, with 14 songs and a playtime of just over 54 minutes. This album has three songs that reached insane popularity, “American Teen,” “Young Dumb & Broke,” and “Location.” All three of these songs have happy tones even if the lyrics aren’t the most joyful, which to an extent can explain why this album got so big in the first place. The album was released on March 3rd, just a couple of months before summer, and that was when the album got popular. What’s very interesting about the album is that people don’t really have the lyrics memorized, not even the hit songs, because when the album gets played it’s usually while people are enjoying the moments of life, not just sitting at home with headphones in. Not all of the album is like this, and songs like “Angels” and “Hopeless” give off a different type of vibe than the others, adding diversity along with another reason why the album is so popular. 

Khalid’s next album, 2018’s Suncity, only has seven songs that equal to just over 21 minutes of playtime, making it an EP. Although the EP doesn’t have as many hits as his first album, it had enough to keep his name relevant and also keep fans wanting more. The most popular song from the album, “Better,” and other well-known songs like “Saturday Nights” and the title track “Suncity,” make the album very good. 

Khalid’s latest album, Free Spirit (2019) mirrors his first album. There are so many popular songs on this album that everyone has heard, like “Talk,” “Right Back,” “Bad Luck,” and “My Bad.” There are many similarities between this album and his first, they were both released right before summer, they both have a really popular chart-topping song, and they both have won many awards. This shows signs of Khalid’s greatness when it comes to album production, in just three years he was able to make a name for himself and has become one of the biggest faces in music today. Khalid’s ability to have so many different songs with so many different moods to them, while still somehow making them all work together on an album, is something that few artists have ever been able to do as successfully. He knows what emotions his album provokes, and he times his release dates on them. He also knows how long to make an album and what singles to put out to make fans want more, but still putting out good songs from the upcoming album. To keep it short, if Khalid were to stop making music right now his career would be considered a major success, and guessing that his retirement is not in his upcoming plans, we all can expect much more from the generational talent that is Khalid.