Music Column

Khalid is still an ‘American Teen’ despite going platinum

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Khalid's debut album “American Teen,” released in March, offers a nostalgic and melancholy feeling. Despite his young age Khalid has already gone platinum with the single, "Location."

UPDATED: Aug. 7 at 2:00 p.m.

If you haven’t heard of him by now, your music taste is seriously slacking. Up-and-coming artist Khalid quickly created a name for himself while holding true to his teen spirit.

Khalid released the music video for his second single, “Young Dumb & Broke,” last week and fans have gone wild. He was announced as MTV’s artist to watch for the month of July — a performance I personally attended. In the past few months he’s also landed performance spots on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and the BET awards.

A “pop prodigy,” Rolling Stone calls him, with success after success. His debut album, “American Teen,” came out in March, and he’s been living the dream ever since. The album is filled with nostalgic feels mixed with lonely melancholy.

The “Young Dumb & Broke” music video shows him in high school with cameos from celebrities, like Kel Mitchell, from “Kenan & Kel,” and Normani Kordei from Fifth Harmony. It trended on YouTube and continues to grow with over 2.7 million views.

Nostalgia is a constant theme in several of Khalid’s songs. The video shows the joyous part of the high school experience with Khalid’s suave moves, genuine smile and bonds formed over eating pizza and messing around with friends. The video features superlatives like “Teacher’s Pet” and “Prom King and Queen.”

It’s pretty crazy how one video could totally not seem like a video. It really feels like watching Khalid in his actual high school setting — and that takes skill to do.

The thing that makes Khalid special as an artist, and something that is so prominent in this video, is that he really doesn’t take his fame or luck for granted. Even during his MTV performance in person, he thanked everyone various times for being there, and was so down to earth for someone of his immense fame.

He responds to fans on Twitter and thanks them constantly. He is so young — 19 years old. He tweets like a teenager, saying things like, “People are really going back to school right now oh shit I feel ur pain,” and “Someone got American Teen tattooed on their chest bro what is my life!!!!!”

Khalid grew up in El Paso, Texas, and has come a long way since he signed to RCA Records. His album is called “American Teen,” and that really is what he is. He represents it as an artist and as a person. Although he’s had great success, such as his single “Location” going platinum or being nominated for an MTV Video Music Award, and being in the middle of a sold-out national tour, he continuously acknowledges his fans and those who got him where he is today.

His fame at such a young age will open doors for aspiring artists all around the world, no matter what small town they’re from and how little they start off. I remember listening to Khalid in 2016 when nobody knew his name or who he was. Now his talent shines, and his career will continue to grow.


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