Monday, May 27, 2024

Pop Review: Khalid, 19, Debuts NY Show to Standing Room Only, Heir to Babyface, Usher, Even The Weeknd


Khalid Robinson– well, just Khalid. Get ready. He’s the brightest light to take the 2018 Grammy Best New Artist. At least he’ll be nominated.

Last night Khalid fans were literally hanging from the rafters at Terminal 5. His fans– a mixed group of black and white, teens and young twenties– knew all the words to all his songs, even “Silence,” which was released on Friday. It was the 21st stop on his first real national tour.

Did I tell you Khalid, from El Paso, Texas, just turned 19?

The middle child of military parents, Khalid put a few of his songs on SoundCloud from Texas. A manager in New York, Courtney Stewart, heard them. Next stop: RCA Records. Forget “American Idol.” Khalid, whose album, “American Teen,” was released on March 3rd, is off like a rocket.

The songs are all so catchy they’re hits once you hear them. RCA has spent the last six months breaking him on radio. Why “8 Teen” isn’t the song of the summer I don’t know. The title track, plus “Young, Dumb & Broke,” “Saved,” “Coaster” — recall The Weeknd, Usher, Babyface, and a half dozen other R&B crooners. Khalid, just hatched, is their natural successor.

You can catch him tonight again at Terminal 5 (they had to add a second show). He’ll be in Los Angeles soon– don’t miss him there or anywhere in between. Clean cut (as yet, we cross our fingers for the future) Khalid is so ready for the Grammys and success I just hope none of it will spoil him. His show consists of all 15 songs from the album plus two new ones. He’s pretty much on stage by himself, with two dancing cheerleaders (love the pom poms) and a crack band that propels him.

On a weekend when things looked pretty bleak in the world, Khalid was very reassuring. There’s nothing like pop songs to save the summer.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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