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Davis, California

Monday, March 4, 2024

The American Teen in Davis

R&B Artist Khalid Performs at the ARC Pavilion

There’s something undeniably charming about 20-year-old R&B singer Khalid. Whether it’s his authentic lyricism or his soothing voice, Khalid relates to his listeners in the most refreshing way possible. With the 2017 release of his debut album “American Teen,” audiences young and old found themselves enjoying Khalid, reminiscing about days past of being “young, dumb and broke.”

On May 7, the R&B sensation made his way to the Activities and Recreation Center Pavillion to perform a sold-out show, thanks to the efforts of the ASUCD Entertainment Council. A self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, the Texas-born artist brings the same feelings of closeness and warmth that fans appreciate in his music to his live performance. He started the night off with “8TEEN,” a song that embodies Khalid’s brand so flawlessly, encouraging audiences to “do all the stupid sh** that young kids do.”

Taking breaks between each song to chat with the audience, reciprocating shouts of “I love you” to passionate fans in the crowd and dancing goofily across the stage apparently without a care in the world, Khalid was visibly having the time of his life. And the best part of it all? The audience was having the time of its life, too. High school kids and college students alike sang along to every lyric, hung on to every word and didn’t leave a single moment uncaptured by their iPhones. This is the generation that Khalid seeks to represent in his music, and he succeeds.

Over the course of the night, the young artist ran through nearly every song off his album, along with a few snippets of tracks he’s recently been featured on. The crowd was also treated to three new songs that Khalid claimed will be on his next album, set to be released in the fall. But despite the excitement of his eye-catching backup dancers and aesthetically pleasing light effects, Khalid’s greatest strength still lies well within the music itself. Khalid is talented — indisputably so — and what he lacks in stage presence, he makes up for with the sheer power of his voice, not to mention killer songwriting abilities.

Although at times the show felt a bit repetitive or drawn out over the course of the hour and a half, audience members can appreciate the fact that Khalid still has the rest of his career to master the art of performance. While watching his live show, you are reminded of how young he really is, fresh out of teenhood and dressed in a T-shirt and colorful shorts. Looking around the room, I realize that Khalid could be any one of us in the crowd. He’s not just Khalid. He’s also you, me and anyone else who has ever resonated with being an “American Teen.”



Written by: Sydney Odman — arts@theaggie.org



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