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Rae Khalil: From Netflix’s Rhythm + Flow to Def Jam’s rising star

todayMarch 19, 2024

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Rae Khalil, the talented singer-songwriter from Torrance, California, has taken the music industry by storm with her recent signing to Def Jam Recordings through Anderson .Paak’s APESHIT label. The 26-year-old artist, who gained popularity on Netflix’s first original music competition program, “Rhythm + Flow,” has already made a name for herself in the R&B and hip-hop scenes, even winning a Grammy for Best Melodic Rap Performance for her collaboration with Anderson .Paak on the song “Lockdown.”

In an exclusive interview with HYFIN Verified, Rae Khalil opened up about her incredible journey, from her audition on “Rhythm + Flow” to her current success. After recalling her initial audition, Khalil said, “I just got in my head and was like, ‘Hey, there’s no time for nerves. This is meant to be.'” Her determination and talent shone through, catching the judges’ attention and propelling her in the competition.

Khalil’s musical influences range from classic icons like Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, and Ella Fitzgerald to contemporary stars like Erykah Badu, Brandy, and Kendrick Lamar. However, her family’s love for musical theater initially sparked her passion for performing. “I grew up in the house listening to Pippin, West Side Story, Rent, and the soundtracks and just falling in love with the music first,” Khalil revealed.

The young artist’s journey took a turn when she discovered hip-hop in high school. “Rap music was in my household, but it’s not like I knew the deep cuts of like Mobb Deep and like, you know, Pharcyde,” she explained. “The East Coast stuff I didn’t get into until high school and that just kickstarted something in me to be like, ‘oh, I think I could do this too.'”

Khalil’s dedication to her craft led her to pursue artist development, which she believes is crucial for any aspiring musician. “Artist development is just, I think, finding or getting closer to who you are,” she stated. “The most important thing that we’re missing and that all the greats have is their individuality.”

The rising star’s hard work and perseverance have paid off with Anderson .Paak taking her under his wing and helping to nurture her talent. “Honestly, I feel so honored,” Khalil gushed. “I’m just blessed that we got to build an actual friendship first. You know, because I feel like if I, when I just met him, if we had gone through a deal, it would’ve been a little bit more like I have to be a little bit more serious and I’d have to be a little bit more together. But, you know, this is like one of my closest friends.”

Khalil’s debut single and music video with Def Jam, “Is It Worth It,” showcases her immense talent and creative vision. When asked about the experience, she shared, “I just can’t wait to perform. That’s like my favorite thing to do.”

As for what fans can expect from her upcoming album, Khalil teased, “My favorite song on this album is the song that one I’m scared to put out because I feel like it’s the most creative and most fun that I’ve had thus far.” She even hinted at a country-influenced track, drawing parallels to Beyoncé’s upcoming album.

Rae Khalil’s journey is a testament to the power of dedication, talent, and the importance of artist development, with her unique blend of musical influences, captivating performances, and the support of industry heavyweights like Anderson .Paak and Def Jam, Khalil is poised to become one of the most exciting new artists in the R&B and hip-hop world. As she embarks on this new chapter, there’s no doubt that Rae Khalil will continue to captivate audiences and leave her mark on the music industry.


Written by: Element Everest-Blanks

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