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Portrait of Khalil Ismail

Khalil Ismail

About Khalil Ismail

Baltimore, MD

While the current state of Hip Hop and R&B is at an artistic crossroads, suffering from lack of talent and substance, there are still those who would dare dream. Khalil Ismail is a Washington, D.C. native with a Baltimore City upbringing. There’s something magical about the artistry that comes out of D.C. It’s is the same birthplace of the legend, Marvin Gaye, who is one of Khalil Ismail’s major musical influences. There’s something special about Khalil Ismail. He is both a lyricist and a vocalist. “I didn’t realize I could sing until a couple of years ago. I’m still discovering things about myself.” Khalil Ismail extracts some of the same elements we loved about Marvin Gaye and implements the substance that the industry is currently lacking. It’s the passion that drives him. “Marvin has one of the purest voices you’ll ever hear. The angle he approached writing and delivering a song, you could really feel his dream realized. The way he cared about humanity and social issues that still plague us today. Socially conscious songs like “Make Me Wanna Holla” and “Mercy, Mercy, Me” are templates that I draw from. Once Marvin got on stage it was like he was in a mirror. He believed in what he performed. I try not to write, rhyme or sing things that I don’t believe in.”

Khalil Ismail’s multitalented inclinations range from music composition, song writing, music and video production, singing and rhyming. His talents collectively landed him performances on the same stage as Mos Def, Freeway, Brother Ali, and international stars like Zain Bhikha, Native Deen , Outlandish and Dawud Wharnsby. His budding career has taken him from the US to the UK, France to Africa, Holland and back. His first release, “The Truth” garnered critical acclaim. His latest effort, “Red Pill Mixtape” shows growth in lyricism and vocal abilities. Khalil Ismail’s is driven to make an impact on the community around him through his art. IMAN welcomed the crossover appeal of Khalil Ismail at its historical Apollo theatre show, as well as it’s noted Takin’ It to the Streets Fest.

There’s only one objective for Khalil Ismail. To change the art form we call music by making us remember why we loved it all along. He brings passion back to the platform and makes you feel alive again. His real life stories and social concerns interject a genuine air of caring that translates to an added depth in his music. His single “Sometimes” featuring Maimouna Yousef tells the vivid story of strength and heartbreak. Songs like “Freedom” won Converse’s Get Out the Garage Contest and led to independent awards such as Music Aid’s Best Solo Artist of 2009.

Khalil Ismail doesn’t just sing about improving the world around us. He’s conducted creative workshops for elementary, middle, and high schools around the country. He's spent his life working in the nonprofit field. He recently helped open a woman's shelter and is currently working to expand it.

Khalil Ismail is realizing his dreams. Passion and art are the driving force. This is only the beginning to the question Who is Khalil Ismail?

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