Hangout Fest profile: Khalid

Hangout Fest profile: Khalid
Khalid has gone from high school to an award-winning, chart-topping recording artist in the past three years, not to mention a slot on Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People list. Next up is a set at Hangout Fest in Gulf Shores. (Grace Pickering)

Performer: Khalid

Hangout Fest: Playing on the Hangout Stage on Saturday, May 18, from 9:45 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Type of music: Rhythm and blues, pop.

About: At only 21 years old, Khalid has already rocketed to the top of the charts, becoming a world-renowned singing sensation.

A five-time Grammy nominee, the El Paso, Texas, singer/songwriter was recently included on Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People 2019 list, and is a multi-platinum-selling global artist.

Time Magazine praised Khalid’s unusual style and down-to-earth lyrics.

Khalid is riding high on the success of his No. 1 sophomore album, “Free Spirit.” (Ro Lexx)

“His thoughtful, relatable reflections on modern youth culture and the limitations of love are just as pitch-perfect as his soulful, measured delivery,” wrote the magazine.

Khalid released his sophomore album, “Free Spirit,” last month, and it quickly shot to No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

Not surprisingly, the album focuses on Khalid’s struggles to come to terms with wealth, a rapid rise to fame, broader horizons and “lingering insecurities,” reported the New York Times. Throughout the 17-track album, Khalid’s full-sounding voice, cushioned by synthesizers and “tickling” guitars and layered with his own vocal harmonies, is reminiscent of music from the 1980s and 1990s.

Khalid burst onto the recording scene with the release of his first single, “Location,” just before high school graduation. After the worldwide success of that song, he signed on with a major label, Right Hand Music Group/RCA Records, and debuted his first album, “American Teen.”

The album received five Grammy nominations, including “Best Artist,” and was certified as a double-platinum phenomenon. It also won a Billboard Music Award, American Music Award, Teen Choice Award and many other honors. “American Teen” ranked in the Top 200 for 51 weeks – 48 of those in the Top 20.

Khalid has collaborated with some of the music industry’s top artists. He has teamed on hits like Calvin Harris’ “Rollin,” Marshmello’s “Lovely,” Billie Eilish’s “Youth” and Alessia Cara’s “Silence,” just to name a few.

Khalid was born in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Because his mother served in the military, he moved several times over the years, finally settling in El Paso for his senior year in high school.

While his music has been influenced by artists like Kendrick Lamar, Father John Misty and Frank Ocean, Khalid said his mom has been his greatest inspiration.

Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys wrote about Khalid in response to his selection for Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list.

“I’m excited that he is so clear about who he is right now, and I hope he continues to trust that instinct,” Keys wrote. “He has a beautiful journey ahead of him, and I hope he accomplishes things he can’t even imagine yet.”

Discography: “American Teen” (2017), “Free Spirit” (2019).

You might have heard: “Location,” “Better,” “Talk,” “Young, Dumb and Broke” and “My Bad.”

For fans of: Sampha, Blood Orange, Daniel Caesar, Brent Faiyaz and Billie Eilish.

Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.

Sources: The New York Times, the El Paso Times, Time Magazine, AllMusic and the Daily Orange.

Related Stories