Khalid Goes Back to Roots with “Suncity”



courtesy Wikimedia Commons

By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor


Khalid took the world by storm in 2016 as he released “Location” and followed it with his debut album “American Teen.” If anything can be said about the fresh-outta-high-school graduate, it’s that his genuine personality extends to his voice as well. His voice sounds perfect on a smooth melody, and his music is something you can always listen to, no matter what the mood is. With his new EP “Suncity,” Khalid proves himself again while showing us the roots behind the kid from El Paso.

Khalid’s versatility is a shining facet of his EP. With the title track, featuring Empress Of, Khalid pays homage to his hometown: “a la Ciudad del sol.” He doesn’t stop there, saying, “Llévame, llévame, donde dejé mi corazón,” which translates to “take me, take me where I left my heart” in the catchy beat of the chorus. In contrast, “Saturday Nights” slows down the pace, delivering a nostalgic ode to finding someone who cares about you in ways that you didn’t know existed. The opening track “9.13” gives listeners a view of what Khalid’s hometown means to him through audio footage of Khalid receiving a key to the city. “Salem’s Interlude” is an honest song. It makes you pause and realize the speaker is incredibly relatable while showing Khalid in the process of growing — even if he isn’t on the track.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this EP, besides the fact you can listen to it all day, is that it’s almost like a coming-of-age album for the artist. In “American Teen” we were privy to moments in the life of a teenager of color. Khalid made living at home and going to high school, well, cool. His music is relatable, his voice is calming and it’s really something to see him grow as a musician and a person. In contrast to artists before him, this coming-of-age era is tied to his roots. While “American Teen” grasped at leaving home and making dreams come true, “Suncity” gives home the respect it deserves.

Since the release of “American Teen,” Khalid has moved forward, exploring new sounds and collaborating with artists like Shawn Mendes, Halsey, Normani and more. It’s plain to see he is testing what sound works best for him and his audience, but Khalid may be an artist without one specific sound. He’s one of those artists who dabbles in a little bit of everything, but he retains a consistent vision throughout “Suncity.” There’s no mistaking the soothing sound of his voice when you’re flipping through radio stations. Khalid has found chart success — he is featured on various high-profile Spotify playlists, and “Suncity” debuted at number five on the iTunes charts. Even with commercial success, Khalid remains authentic — something fans hope to see even as his career continues to grow.

“Suncity” is a testament to Khalid’s attention to detail, genuine sincerity and mesmerizing vocals. Khalid is an artist with a bright future.

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