In Talks With Khaid: “I’m putting my time into something that I know a lot of people don’t do.”

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

31 May 2022

In the past decade it’s safe to say Nigeria has asserted itself as one of the music worlds most proficient star making factories. From Burna Boy selling out Maddison Square Garden to Wizkid becoming the first African artist with their own top 10 Billboard hit or even Pheelz, dominating TikTok with the ‘Folake for the night’ challenge. Naija’s bata shaped sonic footprint is there for all to witness.

The rise of social media on the continent has served as the conduit to unprecedented levels of cultural exchange. Twitter, TikTok and Instagram have fashioned a new generation exposed to the sounds of the west but still in tune with their heritage. Inevitably the seeds of fusion have started to bear fruit.

Khaid is one such artist, who at the tender age of 17 is ready to export the bubbling commodity that is Afro-trap. Pulling him aside for a brief chat, we talked about his beginnings in Ojo, his new E.P. and his plans for the future in the music game.

So for people who want to know Khaid give us a little rundown on who you are?

Khaid is this 17-year-old guy that has passion for music and basically grow up in the streets, was a one time mechanic and grew up in a family of ten.

You said you were a mechanic. How does that compare to being an artist?

Being a mechanic was harder. It was fun though because actually it matched my vibe, my music vibe. When I was working I could come up with freestyles. I didn’t want to be a mechanic I was just doing the mechanic stuff to pass time because music was kinda slowing down, it was shaky. I just did the mechanic job to keep myself busy. My dad said I had to do something.

How did you get in contact with Sydney Talker and the people you’re with now?

Basically it was through Instagram, my boss sent me a message through there. We had a few talks and link ups and that’s how it started.

You’ve been doing music for how long?

For 5 years.

At 17 you’ve been doing music for 5 years, wow?

Yeah I went from freestyling and then writing songs. Just having fun with it at school.

17 is still so young, you’re still shaping your identity as a person let alone your music. How did it feel? One day you’re just a boy from your area and then the next day you’re now Khaid. Do you feel comfortable as Khaid, like when you look at yourself in the mirror, that’s who you see?

I’ve been Khaid for two years now. Yeah, I’m very much myself. The name Khaid came from my boss, I wasn’t Khaid all along.

Even though you are a fresh artist you’ve had a lot of success in a short period of time. How are you managing to deal with that and the progress you’ve made so far?

I see it as God given. It is a blessing to me because I wasn’t actually expecting something this big actually. My mindset was glued to a little fanbase at that time. People look at you like ‘oh you’re signed to a comedian’ and it’s kinda like weird a little bit. Getting to meet him in person and the plans he had it gave me confidence.

When you see 1M views on your song do you fully grasp the idea that give or take 1 million people have actually seen it?

Searching my songs and seeing millions of plays and everything, I had this twisted mindset. Like really? Like when I searched my song and saw 11 million plays on Audiomack I was like I’m not sure it was my song haha. At that time we hadn’t really done much, it was such a short period of time I was like oh I think this is God’s grace.

What’s your favourite part about being an artist? For some artist it’s the clothes or meeting new people, for some it’s simply making the music, shooting videos, for some even interviews. Although I don’t think many artist would say the last one.

I think my favourite part is where I get to express myself to a large number of people. Like through my songs. I like to put my feelings into songs and publishing it and bringing it out for millions of people to listen to that’s my most favourite part. I want people to understand where I’m coming from. Connect with them, 100%.

Do you take the lead with your creative process with things like song writing or are there people who guide you?

Where I get my songs from is basically the environment I’m surrounded with. I could be in any type of environment and get inspiration. But when I’m writing and get those inspirations I have to mix it with some realness. I have so many people around me to show. ‘What do you think about this? What do you think about this?’. I put those opinions together and come out with something special.

I’ve seen people describe your music as Afro-trap.

Yeah. Completely I agree.

When I was thinking about who else I would put in that genre there weren’t too many names coming to mind. Of course people dibble and dabble with the sound but do you feel like you are filling a gap in the market?

Yeah definitely. I’m just trying to create a new genre of music because in the afro-trap part I haven’t really seen a lot of people doing it. I’m putting my time into something that I know a lot of people don’t do. Just trying to create a place for myself. I’m trying to put myself in a lane where I know I’m definitely comfortable doing this.

And what artists inspired your sound?

It’s actually the mixture of trap artist and afro artists. Polo G has inspired me, Juice Wrld, XXXtentacion. Fela inspired me, Davido, Wizkid, Burna.

One thing you pick up from listening to your music and watching your videos is that stylistically you are quite Transatlantic. Is that the goal, a global approach?

That’s definitely the goal. We’re trying to make something that’s global. You can actually be anywhere or be this type of person and be able to relate.

Music is normally a reflection of your reality. You talk a lot about the ladies, it sounds like you’ve got a lot problems going on in your life?

Haha, I don’t really got ladies. I just, I just be on my own. I just be vibing.

Right now you have a couple tracks out, you’re starting to build your name and buzz. The next step is the E.P. which is coming. What’s that process been like, did they lock in you in a studio for 5 months?

So recording the E.P. actually took us two years. We weren’t really that strong at that time cause we had a lot of things to put in order. We had this producer, music engineer and vocal mixer at home. We go online, search for beats and I write and record on them. Once were done we’d transfer it to the main producer to make a different beat with the vocals. So going through that process was kind of stressful but fun. It gave me the opportunity to learn how to record. From my first stage I would kind of scream on the mic. It also gave me the ability to record anywhere I find myself because the E.P. wasn’t recorded all in the studio. A room, a parlour, anywhere.

You’ve spoken on it without explicitly saying it but it seems there has been a lot of artist development with you. The people in your corner, before they bring you out to the world they want to make sure you’re on point.

Yeah, since I’ve got signed to the record label that has been the story so far.

Have you got any collabs on the E.P.?

No, no. I went solo on the E.P. cause I’m just trying to show my diversity to the fans. If I have to show the fans okay we can make this song work I have to do it alone. Brining someone with a big name is not a plus. I’m not tryna make people see it from the angle of okay he got a big name that’s why this song blew up.

You want people to know you first.

Yeah, I want people to relate and understand the sound.

No collabs on this project but in the future maybe? Okay name a couple of artist you’d like to work with. Let’s say two from Nigeria and then two from the rest of the world.

I’d definitley like to work with Fela’s son Made Kuti. I’d like to work with Rema and Fireboy. Around the world, I’d like to work with Polo G, Dua Lipa, NBA Youngboy.

Dua Lipa? Oh wow

Yeah I listen to different genre’s of music. I just have this vibe for the people I mentioned. Like if I did something with this person I think it would be special.

Last question. What do you think the future holds for this next generation of African but more specifically Nigerian artist as one of the next ones coming? We’ve just seen Burna sell out Madison Square Garden and Wizkid had the biggest song of last year, it feels like the doors have well and truly been kicked down.

I think progress. More new sounds. I really want do more than that. I’m praying on it. I don’t really know what tomorrow brings but I put all my hope in God. I just know I’ll get better and become a bigger me.

Stream Diversity out on all platforms now!