This week, Khalil Amaru was named the grand prize winner of WXPN’s 24 Hour Song Challenge for his breathtaking, soulful song “Dear June,” written in a single day based on the prompt “summertime.” To celebrate, he joined midday host Mike Vasilikos on the air to talk about his background — he grew up in Michigan and was raised on Motown, moved to Philadelphia in 2020 for grad school, and just began releasing music for the first time this spring. He also shared the process of writing a song while such an intense deadline loomed — he says he actually fell asleep on his living room couch, on top of his microphone, once the song was submitted.

Amaru also gave a beautiful solo piano performance of “Dear June,” and you can watch it below, along with his conversation with Vasilikos. Later this year, he’ll appear at the XPoNential Music Festival the perform the song, and as part of his grand prize package, he also has a block of studio time at MilkBoy, meaning we expect to hear more from Khalil Amaru in the not-too-distant future.

WXPN 24 Hour Song Chalenge winner Khalil Amaru performs on WXPN