How Khalid And John Mayer Became Friends (And Made The Best Song On ‘Free Spirit’)

@johnmayer / Instagram
– Fast Friends
Khalid appeared on John Mayer’s Instagram show in March.

Khalid’s buzzy collaborations with artists from Logic to Halsey to Shawn Mendes have landed on the charts and expanded his fan base. He has high standards: “For me, I don’t feel like doing a collab with anyone I haven’t had a personal conversation with,” Khalid told the audience at his Pollstar Live! keynote.

Enter John Mayer, who plays on Free Spirit standout “Outta My Head.” 

“We were at Henson Studios [in Los Angeles] recording and John Mayer was working there as well,” says Courtney Stewart, Khalid’s manager. “Khalid was going somewhere, maybe to the bathroom or just hanging out in the studio, and he ran into him.”

The two had never met, but when Khalid mentioned he was working on his new album, Mayer asked if he could listen to some of the in-progress songs. 

“Khalid played him the album and he was like, ‘I love this record, this song is massive! Could I play on it?’” Stewart recalls. “We looked at him like, ‘What? Can you play on it?!’ He just jumped on the song and played on it and it was amazing. It literally happened just like that.”

The encounter “sparked a relationship,” according to Stewart. They’re now friends, he says, and Khalid even appeared recently on Mayer’s weekly Instagram show. 

As for “Outta My Head”? “For the record,” says Stewart, “that’s my favorite track on the album.”

Hear “Outta My Head” above and, for more about how Khalid and Stewart built a streaming-age juggernaut, read Pollstar‘s latest cover story.