Chicago - GRAMMY U SoundChecks With Khalid

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  • Photo: Saloni Jaisingh

By: Randall Harris II / GRAMMY U Chicago Student 

On Thursday, we gathered at the historic House of Blues for another exciting GRAMMY U SoundCheck. This time around, we got the opportunity to check-in with Khalid before his second sold-out night in Chicago on his "American Teen” tour.

As we walked into the venue, the melodic sounds of Khalid’s band warming up washed over us. We filed in and within minutes Khalid walked on stage. He greeted us with a friendly wave and began the soundcheck. He proceeded through his soundcheck quickly -- effortlessly singing and dancing through an array of his songs including “Let’s Go,” “Coldblooded,” and “Young Dumb & Broke.” As the last song faded out, he paused for a brief moment and nonchalantly stated, “I think I’m good.” It was time for Q&A.

During the twenty-minute session, Khalid opened up to us about the past year and a half of his life and how it’s lead to where he is today, starting with the decision to not apply to college. Following his high school graduation, Khalid drove from Texas to L.A., on his own, to pursue his swiftly rising career. He admitted that despite his incredible songwriting talent, he had little songwriting experience at the time. “It was the fifth song I ever wrote,” he recalled about his major hit, “Location.” “It (“Location”) probably means the most to me, because it changed my life,” he continued. “The day I graduated (high school) was the day Kylie Jenner put it on her snap.” The discussion continued with conversation about how he has developed his songwriting skills and what it was like writing his debut album, American Teen, by himself. He told the story of a time in his career when he lost a singing competition because the judges thought his song was “too emotional.” He decided that day that he’s “just gonna keep writing sad love songs.” It’s a good thing that he did. We wrapped up the Q&A with his future plans. Khalid spoke on his hopes to one day start a music foundation in El Paso, TX, specifically helping out military students, and his hopes to get nominated for a few GRAMMYs next year. He would love to get the nod for “Best New Artist.” And if you were wondering the special thing he would do if (when) he wins: “I would just give it to my mom.”

Overall, it was a great time. Khalid is an amazing artist, and an even better person. Go check out his show if you get the chance!

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