Music is often a youth-driven medium, so it’s no surprise that the winners at the Grammys often tend to be younger than other industry award champs, but even then Khalid would be a rarity. At age 19, the R&B singer-songwriter would join a relatively short list of artists who have won before turning 20, a list that currently includes Alison Krauss, LeAnn Rimes, and Rihanna. But it would be especially impressive if he claims Best R&B Song for his breakthrough hit “Location” or Song of the Year for “1-800-273-8255” as he would be the third youngest artist ever to win for songwriting.
Currently the youngest writing winner of all time was Lorde, who took Song of the Year for “Royals” in 2014, when she was 17-years-old. The next youngest was Beyonce, who won Best R&B Song for “Say My Name” in 2001 at age 19 while she was a member of the group Destiny’s Child. Khalid is also 19-years-old, and he won’t turn 20 until about two weeks after Grammys are handed out on January 28.
Khalid co-wrote “Location” with Alfredo Gonzalez, Olatunji Ige, Samuel David Jiminez, Christopher McClenney, and Joshua Scruggs. But in the R&B Song category he faces an uphill climb against two songs that are also nominated in the general field: Childish Gambino‘s “Redbone,” which contends for Record of the Year, and Bruno Mars‘s “That’s What I Like,” which is up for Song of the Year.
On paper “That’s What I Like” would seem to have the edge since it’s nominated for Song of the Year, the Grammys’ top songwriting award, while “Redbone” was snubbed in that race. Bruno Mars also has the most total nominations of any artist in this category this year (six), but Mars has actually never won a songwriting award even though he has now contended seven times in writing races. So perhaps there’s room for Khalid to slide in for an upset victory in this contest.
Of course, Khalid could still get his revenge against Bruno Mars in the Song of the Year race, where he and his “1-800” co-writers Logic, Alessia Cara, Arjun Ivatury, and Andrew Taggart are the current frontrunners to prevail. It helps to have two chances to make history.
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