Khalid Announces Headlining Arena Tour In Pollstar Live! Keynote

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– Khalid
Khalid performs during the Y100 Jingle Ball at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., Dec. 16.

It wasn’t long ago that Texan artist Khalid was a high school kid uploading homemade songs to Soundcloud. But his star has risen meteorically and in a Pollstar Live! keynote on Wednesday — Khalid’s 21st birthday — the multi-platinum artist and his manager Courtney Stewart announced a 35-date headlining arena tour.

“He’s going on his first arena tour in June,” Stewart told the Pollstar Live! audience. “It is 35 cities. We’re super excited about that. We’ll be touring in Europe as well, and then Australia. We have a lot of touring coming up.” Given that Khalid only released his debut single in 2016, Stewart admitted that such a quick leap is “not normal.”

But abnormal as it may be, Khalid’s jump to headlining arenas stems from a deliberate strategy between him, Stewart and the rest of his team. “When you’re building an artist, don’t skip steps,” Stewart said. “Especially in Khalid’s case, things grew really fast. We had the opportunity to skip steps. But we took our time on the touring side.”

That meant playing clubs, then theaters and then resisting the temptation to accept offers to open arena shows for other acts. “We said, ‘No, we want to build our fan base organically,'” he explained. “We went through every step. I think it’s important, as things are growing, don’t get too excited and actually build your fans organically.”

Stewart also cited Khalid’s tremendous work ethic on the road as a major element of his touring success. “He’s about 500 shows in,” Stewart said. “He’s never missed a show. He has never missed a flight. That is unreal.”

Khalid’s commitment has at times even gone against Stewart’s advice. “That’s another time we bumped heads,” Stewart shared. “I was like, ‘Look, you have a half-broken leg and laryngitis. You can’t perform!’ [He said] ‘I don’t care!’ One time, there was a storm, we were performing outside. There was thunder and lightning — it was a safety thing. He said, ‘They better move the show inside, I don’t care. I’m not letting my fans down.'”

Though Khalid has featured on several popular singles of late, fans attending his arena tour this summer will likely hear tunes from his sophomore album — the follow-up to 2017’s double-platinum American Teen which he also teased on Wednesday. “I wrote American Teen as a high-schooler,” Khalid told the audience. “I wrote the next album as an artist, as an entertainer. There’s definitely a different level of insight that I feel like it shows growth. It shows a level of maturity that I didn’t have before. Honestly, I mean I’m being biased, but I definitely think that it’s way better than American Teen.”