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Khalid Donnel Robinson
February 11, 1998
Fort Stewart, Georgia
Background with Lorde
Khalid Robinson was born on February 11, 1998, in Georgia. He spent his childhood in various locations including Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Fort Drum in Watertown, New York, and six years in Heidelberg, Germany because of his mother Linda Wolfe's career in the military. Wolfe worked as a supply technician for over 10 years and eventually earned an opportunity to sing in the US Army Band. His mother sacrificed opportunities to pursue her own artistic dreams in order to raise him. In high school he studied singing and musical theater. During his senior year of high school, the family moved to El Paso, Texas, and Khalid graduated from Americas High School in 2016.
Khalid reached number 2 on the Billboard Twitter Emerging Artists chart in July 2016. His single "Location" began charting, while Khalid began appearing on many publications' "Artists you need to know" lists, including Billboard, Yahoo, Buzzfeed, and Rolling Stone. With production from Syk Sense, Tunji Ige, and Smash David, "Location" finished the year 2016 at No. 20 on the Billboard's Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart and reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart on January 21, 2017. After premiering on The Fader, the video netted over six million views in its first four months on YouTube, while the song was streamed 35 million times on Spotify. "Location" has since received over 17 million plays on Soundcloud since its initial release.
In January 2017, Alina Baraz's single "Electric" featuring Khalid was released. His collaboration with Brasstracks, "Whirlwind," was part of the Yours Truly & Adidas Originals Songs from Scratch series, and received over 700,000 Soundcloud plays. In the first week of February 2017, Apple Music named Khalid its New Artist of the Week.
Khalid sold out every venue on his 21-city January–February 2017 US "Location Tour", including the 1,500-capacity Tricky Falls in El Paso, and the tour continued in Europe. His debut studio album American Teen was released on March 3, 2017.
Khalid has said his mother is his biggest musical inspiration, and has also cited Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, Father John Misty, Frank Ocean, Grizzly Bear, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, India.Arie, and James Blake as influences. Khalid contributed uncredited vocals to Kendrick Lamar's song The Heart Part 4, released on March 24, 2017.
Khalid made his television debut performing "Location" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon March 15, 2017 backed by The Roots. He performed at the annual Roots Picnic in Philadelphia on June 3, 2017.