Khalid kicked off the VMAs right by performing during the pre-show and cavorting with the hosts on the red carpet. For his brief set, the young star combined two of his biggest hits, “Location” and “Young, Dumb, And Broke” to get the crowd ready for the action-packed night. Surrounded by cheerleaders and dancers, he proved his chops on one of the biggest stages he’s seen so far — though he was quick to point out to Charlamagne Tha God that he’s performed on Ellen, which is a pretty big look for a new artist.
Khalid is up for a Best New Artist award tonight, and has a lot to look forward to as he’s only 19-years-old and already burning up stages across the country. Along with Bleachers and Cardi B, Khalid joins the ranks of rising artists who may not be dominating that main stage yet, but are quickly coming for the throne. His debut album American Teen is one of the year’s strongest R&B projects, and proves just how important diverse influences and fresh sounds can be for the future of music. Watch his performance above and follow along tonight to see if he picks up that coveted gender neutral Moonperson.