Singer-songwriter Khaid is only 18 years old but has made big waves in his home country of Nigeria and beyond, with hits like ‘Jolie’ and ‘With You.’ He looks to capitalise on this recent success with his latest EP, ‘Full’.

Taking influences from both American Trap and Afrobeats, Khaid has huge plans for his future as he looks to join the likes of fellow Nigerians: Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tems, Rema and Davido in blowing up worldwide…

How did you get started in the music industry?

Music wasn’t something I took seriously until I was 13. At that time, music was the only escape route I had because I didn’t want to go to university. If I was going to do music – according to my parents – I needed some handwork so I told them I was going to be a mechanic. I had someone close to me that was a mechanic, so I thought I’d be a mechanic and continue making music.

When did the switch come where you could do music full-time and quit your job as a mechanic?

I quit my mechanic job the day after I got signed to Neville Records. I had to tell my parents that I was signed to a record label, that was an achievement for me. I just had to convince my parents at that time that getting signed to a record deal was an achievement so I could quit my job and focus on my work fully.

Your music is multicultural and you can tell that you take influences from different genres and different countries, who were your influences growing up?

Growing up I heard Michael Jackson a lot because my mum loves him and when it’s Christmas time she will play him all the time! I used to spend some time with my Dad at his workshop when I was younger if I was not at school, he was a tailor and he used to play all kinds of music so I got influenced by different genres of music. When I was of age and I became my own self I got introduced to Trap stars like Polo G, Juice Wrld, XXXTentaction, NBA YoungBoy and a lot of them. Listening to them, I started to infuse my own sound into it because I started off with Rap, I wasn’t really on the singing level.

You have entered the space in one of the most exciting times in Afrobeats and Nigerian music history with the likes of Wizkid, Burna Boy, Tems, Rema becoming increasingly successful. How does it feel to be part of this conversation?

I didn’t really see myself on this type of level. When I got signed I thought that even if I don’t make the big charts and everything, I just want to be known. So to see myself up on those charts and seeing Wiz, Burna and Davido on the same charts, shows I’m actually achieving something.

It must feel like the sky’s the limit for Afrobeat!

Yeah it’s just amazing to see Afrobeat stars performing worldwide. It kind of puts me on my toes, I really need to buckle up and I really need to take what I’m doing seriously. Growing up listening to Afrobeat songs, I wasn’t really seeing them on TV, I just knew we had Nigerians doing that stuff and then Hip Hop stars doing their stuff, which we see on TV worldwide. Growing up in this generation, I’m seeing Afrobeat stars going worldwide doing things and I realise that I’m grateful to be in this generation because I feel like I’m going to get there soon, very soon. I believe that I’m gonna do it too, it’s just an advantage to me.

Is it your goal to emulate their success or are you on your own path?

I would say I’m on my own path, I would prefer whatever God has planned for me.

Being so young and new to the industry, do you feel less pressure when you’re releasing music as you’re still developing your sound?

I don’t feel the pressure. There are still so many people in the industry who are working hard and we still have the GOATs of the industry. I actually want to feel that pressure because it’s going to give me that mindset of “you have to come hard with everything you’re doing.” Everything has to be correct.

In an interview, you said that you let some hate comments get to you. 

The hate comments and everything were because I was so new to the industry. I was like two days old in the industry, I dropped a Trap freestyle and everyone in the comments was like “delete this! It’s not going to work in Nigeria!” Actually, it is my fault because I let it get to me, so when I dropped my first song I saw the love. Then I dropped my second song which was a Trap song and people still went crazy, I was like “why did I let that get to me?” It was funny to me and I’m just grateful.

I was reading the comments under the video for ‘Jolie’ and they’re all really positive, one said ‘KHAID’s music should be sold in pharmacies because it makes people feel so good!’

[Laughs] I ain’t even seen that one yet, but I will very soon. Right now I’ve even got people in my comments who are saying “You’ve gotta drop a Trap song soon” and I was like “Yo, you told me this wouldn’t work, why are you now telling me to drop it.” I’m trying to work on the Hip Hop side of Nigeria. I’m not just trying to make everything in Nigeria about Afrobeat, I’m trying to create different genres of music and make Nigeria as versatile as it can be.

You’re releasing your EP ‘Full’ in March, what can people expect?

It’s definitely going to be more of an Afrobeat EP because I’ve got something very special coming for my Trap fans and people that listen to those songs.

The response to your single ‘Jolie’ has been crazy, what’s been the best part?

First of all, I knew that Jolie was going to be a big song before it was released but I had this little doubt in me: “what if people are past this sound?” or “what if the song doesn’t really suit the people?” I knew it was going to be a big song because the melody, the flow and everything was sweet to me. I had played it for everybody but I didn’t know what the fans would say. I was actually a bit nervous when I was about to release the song but a week later there was love from everyone saying, “We missed this type of song.” I was like, “Wow, I think I found a place already.”

Who would be your dream collaboration?

Oh definitely Polo G!

Would you say you listen to more American Trap than other genres or is it a mixture?

Yeah, I listen to more American Trap music. I don’t even listen to Afrobeat most of the time, I just listen to Trap music because I really love it.

Is that kind of rare for someone growing up in Nigeria or is it just becoming one of the more mainstream genres now?

Yeah, it’s actually becoming one of the mainstream genres in Nigeria now because everybody wants to listen to Trap. Every kid in Nigeria actually wants to be like that Top Boy stuff.

Finally, what’s 2023 got in store for you?

I don’t know, I can’t predict the future. I’m trying to get better in my sound, release more songs and basically try to learn new things.

Words by Adam Davidson 

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