Khalid, who hails from Texas, first came to the spotlight as a star on the rise in 2017 with his Grammy-nominated debut album American Teen and hit multi-platinum single “Location;” TIME named him one of the Most Influential Teens of the year. Since then, he’s toured with artists like Lorde, collaborated with Billie Eilish, Shawn Mendes and Logic and released an EP and second album.
And this year, he made it to the TIME 100 list as well, after the April release of his sophomore album, Free Spirit, which topped the Billboard 200 chart.
For the TIME 100 Gala, Khalid performed several songs, including top hits “Location,” “Talk,” and “Young Dumb and Broke.”
“He’s a beautiful writer with the ability to take human concepts and make you understand and feel them,” Alicia Keys wrote in his TIME 100 profile. “He has a full, powerful voice that is somehow unassuming and smooth at the same time. He’s accessible—almost like you’ve met somebody like him before, although there’s nobody else like him.”
Back in 2017, Khalid spoke to TIME about being young in America and using his music as an outlet for personal expression: “Nowadays there’s a lot of dishonesty. Trying to find yourself is the hardest thing,” he said. “I think me being vulnerable about whatever I was going through, people listen to it and they hear authenticity.” In another interview, he added: “It’s the young people of America, the teens, who have the power to create change.”
Khalid will embark on a tour of the U.S. and Canada to support the new album, kicking off in the summer.