Khalid is a singer from El Paso, Texas. This is his debut single, which was released when he was 18 years old.
The song finds Khalid calling out for the sort of love you would travel across the country to find. He told his school newspaper: "It's just a story of searching for something that we all want in life no matter who we are and that's a real genuine lover, but it doesn't come easy."
The bass-heavy production was provided by Syk Sense, Tunji Ige, and Smash David. Khalid recalled to Rolling Stone: "Syk Sense flew me to Atlanta the first time. We had this long session, and he asked me, 'Do you want to end the session or do you want to continue?' I'm like, 'I want to continue.' He played the 'Location' loop. I made the chorus there, then I had to go back to high school.
I waited for my next vacation, which was spring break, and I recorded the rest. My mom helped me out with the harmonies of the song, I released it a couple weeks before prom, and I won prom king. Now I'm singing 'Location' and everyone knows the words."
Khalid told Pigeons and Planes
the song came to him out of nowhere. "From the first time I heard the beat play, the words flew out," he recalled. "Hearing the chords instantly took me the first stage of a relationship. Young love, man. It's a crazy thing. I first started making music in the winter of 2015 so this is one of my most developed songs so far."
"Being in the same environment of great artists/producers like Syk Sense & Tunji Ige - with crazy, dope creativity helped the creation of the song move so smooth," Khalid added. "It's like I would go in and say something or think of an idea and they would stack on my idea with an even better idea and then eventually that's how 'Location' came about. It was work, but fun work."
The song is about the intimate love you can only feel when two people are in the same location. He explained to Genius
: "Sometimes I feel like as individuals we lack empathy. Everything's just based off of emojis and text messages and signs and memes and all that, which is dope, but at the same time… to connect with someone in the form of intimacy, it's really necessary to just pick their brain face to face and see their reaction."
The lyrics were inspired by a girl from back home in El Paso, whom Khalid likes but feels there's an emotional barrier preventing a relationship. He explained:
"When I was writing the song, there was always a sense of distance between the two of us. It's like, 'I like you, but I don't know why I like you.' She like me but, she don't know why she likes me, because we were never really comfortable in relationships. I was only in like two relationships. She's never been in a relationship in her whole entire life, so it was like, "Do we keep going without being in a relationship or do we give each other the title?" It's like, why do I fool with you? We have no title. No one really knows that we're talking but f--k it, I guess we'll just keep talking."
The song nearly didn't happen. "I almost didn't record it because literally I was so tired after the studio session that I was like no, I'm going to give up, but I was like I gotta finish writing this," Khalid told Billboard magazine. "It's kind of insane to think about."
Khalid made his television debut on March 15, 2017 when he performed this song on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Some of Khalid's El Paso friends sing along with him on this track. He told The Independent: "They're still all my best friends, and I can look back and be like, 'damn,' they were really a part of this."
This was the most-played song on Waffle House's jukeboxes in 2017. Khalid's track beat out Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road
" in second place to be #1 on the chain's annual list of the top songs played at 1,900 Waffle House restaurants.