A few months ago I happened to hear a song called ‘Location’ that was filled with soulful lyrics to a cool beat and became obsessed with a nineteen year old singer from Texas named Khalid (pronounced Kuh-Leed) who has recently blown up on our radio stations and in our charts. On Tuesday night I had the absolute pleasure along with a few other thousand people of attending the first ever show on the Australian leg of his American Teen tour.
Walking in to the Hordern Pavilion you could immediately tell the overall age of the crowd was quite young. Continuing this was the last of the support acts Sydney singer Ruel who is only fourteen years old but already has a much more mature voice and stage presence. The young performer got the audience going with his single “Don’t Tell Me”, along with some covers which worked well with his almost Shawn Mendes sounding voice. Definitely one to watch in the coming years.
Starting his set with his song of the same name as the album American Teen, Khalid didn’t need to warm the crowd up as everyone was already grooving and basking in the glow of his background screen which had the huge number 915 surrounded by the stars of the American flag, a nod to the area code of his home town El Paso which he references in the song.
Khalid played through all of the tracks through his album filled with as much energy and patriotism as his cheerleader uniform clad dancers. His songs have such a mix with lyrics about drunken teenage nights to young love and even having your heart broken. His shy presence when he spoke to the crowd was contrasted through his strong and sultry voice mixed with his moves that could be described as goofy yet somehow it all worked together. Perfect example is his single “Saved” which happens to my personal favourite off his album. He talked about being cheated on and how it really, really sucked but the outcome of that in this song is one positive to come of it. He had a deep moment with the crowd dedicating his song to a friend who has recently passed away before singing a truly raw and emotional “Angels”, where the lyrics “I hope for better days and lightly times are tough, the angels giving me strength and I’m not giving up,” really resonated to the crowd that no matter what pain every young person goes through it does eventually get better. Something that Khalid feels very strongly about as he is an avid campaigner for mental health and suicide even teaming up with rapper Logic and singer Alessia Cara on “1-800273-8255”, which is a prevention anthem.
Ending the show with one of his biggest hits he left the crowd wanting more of his smooth and synthesised sounds. While his last song is titled “Young, Dumb and Broke” it is very clear that youth will be the only thing this insanely talented newcomer will have in common as his success I’m sure is set to continue in the future.
The reviewer attended this show on November 7th.