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Thursday, August 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A&E >  Music

Chart-topping R&B singer Khalid brings ‘Free Spirit’ tour to the Spokane Arena

The “Free Spirit” world tour brings Khalid to the Spokane Arena on Tuesday. (Grace Pickering)
The “Free Spirit” world tour brings Khalid to the Spokane Arena on Tuesday. (Grace Pickering)

Those who checked out the Billboard R&B Songs chart on April 20 might have thought there was a glitch.

The top five spots were all occupied by tunes by R&B singer Khalid.

“Better” and “Talk” took the first two spots, while “My Bad” moved up to No. 3.

“Saturday Nights,” his collaboration with country singer Kane Brown, rose to No. 4, and “Outta My Head,” which features John Mayer, entered the chart in the fifth position.

But, believe it or not, the chart was accurate, making Khalid, 21, the first artist to occupy the top five spots of the R&B Songs chart.

All five songs are featured on his second album, “Free Spirit,” which was released in April.

But that wasn’t the first time Khalid’s name was splashed all over the Billboard charts. According to a Billboard article from late April, Khalid was celebrating a 59-week streak on the Hot 100 singles chart from 12 songs.

To top it all off, “Free Spirit” debuted in the top spot of the Billboard 200 album chart. And now the “Free Spirit” world tour brings Khalid to the Spokane Arena on Tuesday.

It’s been a meteoric rise for the Georgia-born singer who now calls El Paso, Texas, home.

He released his debut album, “American Teen,” in 2017 and immediately caught the attention of fans and critics alike with songs like “Location,” “Young Dumb and Broke” and “Saved.”

“American Teen” would go on to earn Khalid (full name: Khalid Robinson) nominations for best urban contemporary album and best R&B song (“Location”) at the 2018 Grammys.

That year, Khalid was also nominated for best new artist and, with Logic and Alessia Cara, song of the year and best music video (“1-800-273-8255”).

Khalid’s shine got brighter thanks to collaborations with the likes of Billie Eilish, Halsey and Normani and, between “American Teen” and “Free Spirit,” the release of the “Suncity” EP in October.

Khalid teased “Free Spirit” with performances of “Talk” and “Better” on “Saturday Night Live” in March, and just after the album was released, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2019.

“He’s accessible – almost like you’ve met somebody like him before, although there’s nobody else like him,” singer Alicia Keys wrote about Khalid for the magazine. “He has his own style, and I think we’re all hungry for individuality right now … He has a beautiful journey ahead of him. I hope he accomplishes things he can’t even imagine yet.”

One of those things, as Khalid announced in May, is starting the Great Khalid Foundation, which partners with music education programs in local schools and provides scholarships, community partnerships and holiday gift giveaways.

“If I didn’t take the path I did, I would’ve became a music teacher!” Khalid wrote on Twitter. “Luckily, I get to teach in a way I would’ve never imagined. One of my main goals has been to start a foundation for music and art in education and I finally did it so this means a lot to me!!”

Now on the road on the “Free Spirit” world tour, Khalid’s calendar is booked through early December.

Even still, he’s recently found time to appear on Ed Sheeran’s “Beautiful People” and Buddy’s “Trippin’.”

And later this summer, Khalid will perform in Washington, D.C. as part of Apple Music’s “Up Next Live” tour, which highlights seven breakthrough acts including Bad Bunny, King Princess Ashley McBryde and Lewis Capaldi.

The sky really is the limit for Khalid, who has been racking up critical acclaim and commercial success since his debut with “Location,” off “American Teen.”

Along with Keys, Khalid also counts Elton John as a fan.

“I also love Khalid,” the legendary singer told Complex on July 1. “He’s a great writer, a great singer and he’s going to be a great artist who has a long and interesting career.”

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