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New Music to Know: How Naughty Boy Went from Pizza Delivery Guy to the Top of the Charts

"Whatever I'm doing right now," he said, "I believe anyone can do this if they put their mind and heart into it."
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(Courtesy: Naughty Boy, Virgin EMI)

(Courtesy: Naughty Boy, Virgin EMI)

By Annie Reuter

When talking with Naughty Boy the words “fate” and “destiny” come up a lot. As they should. The former pizza delivery guy and hotel waiter started his music career thanks to a big win on the game show Deal or No Deal.

“I was in a bit of an all-time low,” he told Radio.com. “I never won anything so to go on a game show for the first time, the first time I ever applied for a game show, and to win gave me confidence.”

It should be noted, he didn’t just win, he took home millions.

Before his Deal or No Deal win, Naughty Boy (real name Shahid Khan) was broke and struggling to keep his head above water. “My parents wanted me to take my life seriously,” he said. Khan was at first concerned that his appearance on a game show would ruin any chances of people taking him seriously, but he now believes his good fortune can be a lesson to others.

“Whatever I’m doing right now,” he said, “I believe anyone can do this if they put their mind and heart into it.”

“[Music] is the one thing that I don’t feel like I’ve ever worked a day and that’s what you ultimately want for your job,” he added. “I’m doing what I love.”

Naughty Boy has also managed to do what he loves with those he loves, enlisting his friends like Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and his “musical soulmate” Emeli Sandé, who he previously worked with as the producer of her 2011 debut, Our Version of Events, to appear on his first album, Hotel Cabana, out May 6.

 

Like Khan’s career, his chart-topping single “La La La,” happened by chance after he bumped into Smith at the studio and the two decided to meet for a session. Khan says that the song was actually inspired by heartbreak–something Smith knows a little something about–and No Doubt‘s song “Don’t Speak.” The sentiment being, “You’re breaking my heart, but I don’t have to hear it,” he said. “It’s affected a lot of people and that’s ultimately what I want to do with my music.”

Khan says the song is also a plea for all the grown-ups out there to stop acting their age. “You don’t have to listen to everything you’re told. Sometimes it’s cool just to block it out and act like a kid,” he explained. “I’m a kid, pretty much, in my mind.”

 

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