Khalid is an American Teen with the world at his feet. Equipped with one of the most incredible, heart-soothing voices to enter the fray in current popular music, the talented Texan possesses both a voice and song-writing ability that has underpinned his rapid ascension as an artist during the past 12 months.
The 19 year old strikes a delicate balance with his disarmingly honest lyrics and wholesomely soulful voice, which has led him to receive support from the likes of Lil Wayne, Kehlani and Travis Scott — who he’s recently supported on his Birds Eye View tour. He’s also just jumped on one of the songs of the summer, in the form of Calvin Harris’ “Rollin,” alongside Future.
But this hasn’t changed Khalid one bit. He remains completely humble, showcased by his interconnectivity with his fans on social media, charming charisma and infectious positivity. These attributes make Khalid the perfect poster boy for Forever 21’s latest campaign, #F21XMUSIC. To coincide with the launch of #F21XMUSIC, we talked with Khalid about how he feels about his new-found fame, his musical influences and why traveling the world underpinned his rise as an artist.
Talk us through why you collaborated with Forever 21?
Forever 21 is such a cool brand that's fashion forward and has a presence all around the world. It's an honor to collaborate with them — even though they wouldn't change their name to Forever 19 for me ;)
How did growing up in different places around the world influence your sound?
By growing up as a military kid, I had the opportunity to live in so many different places. I got to experience different cultures and make friends and even lose close friendships because of constantly moving. Those stories, friendships, and experiences play a big part in how I create my music.
Who is an artist you listen to that people wouldn’t expect you to?
I'm a huge Father John Misty fan. He's an amazing song writer and I actually got a chance to see him perform live recently in LA.
What’s your biggest musical inspiration?
Hands down my biggest musical influence is my mom. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be where I am today. She had dreams to pursue a singing career when she was younger but instead, she made a sacrifice and joined the military to make sure I had a pleasant childhood. Growing up she would always sing to me and play so much music around the house.
How do you feel about being famous now?
I don't really think about being famous. I love that I get to meet so many amazing people around the world. It's always a joy when someone tells me how my music has inspired them or helped them get through a tough situation. It's just a bonding experience to share music with my fans and friends. Fame doesn't really cross my mind that much.
What’s the best and worst thing about your job?
I think the best thing is being able to connect with people through music. The worst ... waking up early!
You’ve had a crazy rise as an artist since this time last year. What’s been your favourite moment so far?
Every time I perform it's a amazing experience. It still blows me away to see so many people singing every lyric to my songs. Seeing people cry, dance, and rock out with me and my band are priceless moments.
If your house was on fire and you could only save one thing, what would it be?
It would have to be two. My dogs Lance and CoCo.
Are you excited to be touring with Travis Scott? Have you guys met? Would you make music together?
Travis is super cool. His live show is so incredible! The energy in the atmosphere is electric. We're good friends — and at some point I'm sure we will put on for Texas!!
What’s in store for the rest of the year?
So much ... going to go back on tour soon!
Khalid has just dropped an acoustic version of his contribution to Calvin Harris' "Rollin" and announced his North American "American Teenager Tour." Find out more here.
The Forever 21 Men’s Summer collection ranges in price from $14-$37 and launches on Forever21.com on Monday, May 15, 2017.
For more of our Q+As read about how JMSN finds creative nirvana in malcontent right here.