Friday, July 12, 2024

Khalid delights the MTSU stage with nostalgic hits, smooth dance breaks and a beaming smile


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Featured photo by Shamani Salahuddin

Story by Shamani Salahuddin

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On Wednesday, Middle Tennessee State University students, faculty and alums closed the spring 2024 semester with a Signature Event concert by Billboard Music Award-winning artist Khalid.

The crowd packed into Murphy Center, excited to groove to old favorites from his standout debut album, “American Teen,” and his other chart-topping hits.

He instructs the crowd to sing a verse one more time.

Match Records artist BReal set the stage as the student opener for the show. The audience sang word-for-word his singles from “Temporarily Loved” to “ICU,” but no moment will top his cover of the viral song “Made For Me” by Muni Long. It was hard to resist singing along to the catchy chorus, and BReal’s vocal rendition was just as strong as Long’s.

After his set was over, it was clear the audience was expecting Khalid to be the next artist on stage because when the event staff introduced Unusual Demont to perform, an overwhelming number of people in the pit said, “Who?” On top of that, his microphone was not working when he bounded on stage. Despite this, he continued singing with no sound like a true professional, and once his voice flowed through the speakers, his high energy made up for any difficulties.

The surprise opening guest had the crowd swaying left to right with their arms in the air as he performed songs from his 2021 album “HUES.” When performing his single “Maybe Not,” Unusual Demont successfully grabbed the audience’s participation to sing during the chorus.

Unusual Demont bellows a long note into the microphone. (Photo by Shamani Salahuddin)

Both opening acts complimented Khalid’s energy, good vibes and silky vocals. BReal and Unusual Demont primed the stage for the headlining act everyone waited for.

The arena erupted as Khalid ran onstage with a wide smile, and the instrumental of “Young Dumb & Broke” started to play. His prominent baritone voice echoed in the room, transporting the crowd to 2017—the release of “American Teen.”

For most MTSU students, this album came out when they were enduring high school or surviving middle school. There was no pandemic; social skills were just the right amount of awkward and the best part of the day was hanging out with friends. And just as friends would sing along together in the car, the arena recited the lyrics of “Location” in unison. The audience waved their arms on beat with the artist during the chorus. He pointed to the crowd on the bridge, looking for everyone to vocalize with him.

Khalid kneels, singing to the crowd in the pit, at the spring Signature Event concert 2024.
Photo by Shamani Salahuddin

Khalid’s connection with his backup dancers incited cheers from the crowd. They wore complimentary outfits with dancers in distinctive white, neutral-colored ensembles and Khalid in a black bomber and pants with a white tee, complete with black Nike Airmax sneakers. They shared moments on stage when Khalid would join in on the choreography, exchanging joyful glances with each other.

“Shout out to all the dancers out there. Y’all are some talented m—-,” Khalid said, taking a sip of water.

During the hook of “Rollin,” the award-winning singer bopped and swayed in sync in a dance break with his two male backup dancers.

The artist enjoyed performing for MTSU, he said, introducing the final song, “but all good things must come to an end, and nothing feels better than this.”

The audience gushed with applause, recognizing the melody. They jumped up and down to the beat of “Better” from Khalid’s album “Suncity.” He waved goodbye to the arena, shaped his hands into a heart and then embraced his dancers in a group hug.

Shamani Salahuddin is the assistant lifestyles editor for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines. Also, sign up for our weekly newsletter here.

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