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Here’s How American Teen‘s Khalid Writes His Hit Music

2 minute read

Where do you begin?

All of my music is based off moods and feelings. I have to put my emotions into a song. It’s a form of therapy for me. I start with melodies. I don’t necessarily start with words. Because I can hear what I felt from melody, I usually build upon that.

R&B is going in a chill, deconstructed direction. Why do you think this is happening at a time of national upheaval?

Because it’s honest. Nowadays there’s a lot of dishonesty. Trying to find yourself is the hardest thing. I think me being vulnerable about whatever I was going through, people listen to it and they hear authenticity.

What role does technology play in your process?

My best songs are written on my iPhone. I click back and forth between Voice Memos and Notes. On Voice Memos, I record all my melodies. If I’m in a session and feeling the mood, I can play a memo and we can re-create it.

What makes this wave of artists unique?

There used to be such a small space when it came to music. Now we accept the fact that we literally can do whatever we want. The box, especially in R&B, is growing, growing, growing. I’m glad to be a part of that.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com