Heading into this weekend as a first-time MTV Video Music Awards nominee for best new artist and a performer during the VMA pre-show, Khalid is now adding another accolade to his music résumé. The RCA singer/songwriter is the latest artist to be spotlighted on Pepsi’s digital music platform, The Sound Drop.
Khalid’s episode will be released this Sunday (Aug. 27) just before the MTV VMA telecast. Among The Sound Drop’s previously featured artists are James Arthur, Tinashe, Bebe Rexha, Jidenna, Alessia Cara and Lukas Graham. Launched last year in partnership with iHeartMedia, Shazam and Viacom, The Sound Drop showcases new and original content while simultaneously raising awareness about emerging and promising artists.
In another first, Khalid landed in the top five on the Billboard 200 this week when his debut album American Teen jumped 10-4. Meanwhile, “Young Dumb & Broke” — the singer’s follow-up to his breakout hit single “Location” — moves 64-49 on the Hot 100. He’s also featured on Marshmello’s “Silence.” Bowing this week at No. 42 on the Hot 100, the track broke both artists’ personal Hot 100 records.
Currently traveling across the U.S. on his American Teen tour, Khalid talked with Billboard about The Sound Drop, the VMAs (“Sunday is going to be such a cool day for me,” he says) and his recently announced collaboration with Fifth Harmony’s Normani Kordei.
How does it feel to be Pepsi’s newest Sound Drop artist?
The Sound Drop is an incredibly powerful platform that allows me to connect with some of my biggest fans, who are hugely talented. Kina [a fan/singer selected to appear in his episode] and I got to really vibe in the studio together when we talked about her cover from my debut album, which was a lot of fun to hear her recreate. Some artists that I love have been part of this platform and I’m really honored to have been invited to participate. I hope that people watch and enjoy my episode—and it helps them get to know me a bit more.
How did you decide which songs to spotlight and cover?
My experience making the episode was awesome. With it being my first time in Las Vegas, I could not have asked for a better opportunity to explore what the city has to offer. I enjoy cool creative moments with my band and having a great cover artist join us made it that much better. “Location” and “Young Dumb & Broke” are fan favorites so I thought they would be a perfect feature for the episode.
It’s been reported that you and Fifth Harmony’s Normani are collaborating on a song. How far along is that project?
Normani is a great friend and a super talented artist. She even did a cameo in my “Young Dumb & Broke” video. She and I are discussing some creative ideas and as soon as there is something more to share, we will.
Why do you think your music is resonating so strongly with fans?
I think, and hope, that it’s because I’m being open and honest with them. I love and respect my fans so much and just want to keep this close bond we have been able to develop.
For more information on The Sound Drop and for previous artist episodes, visit www.thesounddrop.com or Youtube.com/Pepsi.