Khalid is not your average newly graduated high schooler. He has had a successful chart-climbing debut with his American Teen LP, garnering all kinds of accolades from critics and fans, and has a high chance of grabbing a few Grammy nominations in the next couple of months.
In Billboard‘s series, “How It Went Down,” the singer broke down his new single “Shot Down.”
While everyone else he knew was going to Mexico and California for spring break during their senior year, Khalid took a few of his closest friends and headed to Beacon Hill Recording Studio in El Paso, Texas, where he worked on “Shot Down.”
“I wanted it to be a song that you could just snap to, but also I wanted it to be a song that you can cry to,” he explains. When he walked out of the recording booth, he witnessed every single one of his friends in tears. “This might be the one,” he thought.
Later, one of his friends was going through something with his girlfriend, and asked Khalid if he wanted to come with him to Krispy Kreme. “As he’s telling me his story about this girl, in my mind I’m like, ‘This is ‘Shot Down’.” Before they said their goodbyes, Khalid played his friend the track to get his thoughts on it.
“In my sinister little mind, I’m like — ‘I hope this makes him cry’ — but the friend in me is like, ‘I don’t want him to be [crying],'” the singer/songwriter recalls. “But I’m listening to the more sinister side to me.”
His friend cried. “I did it,” Khalid exclaims. “I did what I had to do.”
He then asked his friend’s thoughts on “Shot Down,” to which the friend replied: “Thank you for creating this song.” This was a success in Khalid’s mind. “I recorded a song that made someone feel — that shook someone up — but that made someone feel better,” he says.
Watch the full episode in the video above.