To open his pre-headlining set on the third and final day of Coachella (April 14), Khalid warmed up the main stage for headliner Ariana Grande with “American Teen,” the title track off his 2017 debut album. The toss back to his humble beginnings didn’t go unnoticed; since dropping the album, Khalid has become a household name in the pop music landscape. And today, he added a new accolade to his list of many: scoring a Billboard 200 No. 1 album for his latest release, Free Spirit.
It wasn’t the singers only first worth celebrating. “This is my first Coachella,” he said, before welcoming his friend and collaborator Billie Eilish to the stage (who the day before also made her Coachella debut) for their ballad “Lovely.” Khalid then effortlessly moved into his early hit “Saved,” which he said was not only one of his favorite songs but the first one he wrote. He kept the pace of his slower tempo songs going, moving into the touching “Angels,” which he performed with a choir and dedicated to Nipsey Hussle and Mac Miller — photos of each artist were shown on the large screens that bookended the stage.
Elsewhere, Khalid ran through newer hits off his second album, accompanied by a live band and crew of dancers, including “On The Way” and “Talk.” Soon enough, it was time for more guests: he brought out Benny Blanco and Halsey to sing the No. 9 Hot 100 hit, “Eastside”; he and Normani performed a steamy “Love Lies”; and he rounded out the lineup with Marshmello, who was ironically holding a mic that went unused, for “Silence.” The run proved the power that collaboration has had on Khalid’s skyrocketing career. With friends by his side, both on stage and on the charts (and in the crowd, as Finneas, Billie Eilish’s brother, and Ty Dolla $ign were in attendance), he’s guaranteed to keep reaching new heights.