Khalid made his NPR Tiny Desk debut Monday (June 18), performing three tracks from his debut album, American Teen, which peaked No. 4 on the Billboard 200. With five Grammy nominations already under the 20-year-old’s belt, the singer captivated the Tiny Desk stage in front of a small audience for an intimate, acoustic session.
Accompanied solely by acoustic guitarist Jef Villaluna, the set opened with a heartfelt performance of “Young, Dumb & Broke,” a relatable piece that speaks to the problems youths face today.
The next song that followed was “Location,” Khalid’s first single, which is now four-times platinum. He told the audience about how he wrote the song back in 2016, when he was just a senior in high school. “’Location’ is a really personal song for me and it was only like the sixth song that I had ever wrote, so for that song to do what it did in 2016, and it’s like still doing things two years later, is crazy,” he recalled.
Before singing the last track, “Saved,” the artist opened up about an encounter with one rude commenter on SoundCloud when he was first starting out, who tried to undermine his music and talent. But he didn’t let the negativity affect him or his progress.
“There was just this one guy who was just so negative about it, who didn’t like the fact that I was chasing after something that he probably couldn’t attain himself,” he said. “I could approach the situation and confront this guy, but I was like, ‘No, he doesn’t deserve my energy. I’m going to write another song, and write another song, and write another song’… and here I am.”
Khalid’s recent endeavors include a string of collaborations, most recently appearing on Martin Garrix’s “Ocean” and Billie Eilish‘s “Lovely,” and working with Ty Dolla $ign and 6LACK for “OTW” and Normani on “Love Lies.”
Watch the full performance below: