The Weeknd

  • Born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in Toronto, in 1990.
  • He attributes his stage name to the fact that he dropped out of high school one weekend, and never came home. The spelling was changed to avoid trademark issues with the Canadian band The Weekend.
  • In 2010, he met producer Jeremy Rose, who had several song ideas. Rose played the songs, and Weeknd spontaneously rapped over them. Rose allowed Weeknd to keep the tracks, as long as Rose would be credited as a co-writer. Weeknd then uploaded What You Need, Loft Music, and The Morning to YouTube. Drake noticed the songs, and blogged about them.
  • In 2011, Weeknd released a mixtape, House of Balloons, which was well received. Drake met with Weeknd to propose a collaboration on a new album by Drake. The outcome was the album Take Care – Weeknd contributed to 5 songs. This record ultimately won multiple Grammy awards, and has sold over 4 million copies.
  • Over the next year, Weeknd released 2 more mixtapes – Thursday and Echoes of Silence. These too were big successes, and it led to multiple offers by record labels. In September 2012, he signed with Republic Records, and the trilogy of mixtapes was released as a compilation album, called Trilogy, which has sold over 2 million copies.
  • Weeknd has released 5 studio albums – Kiss Land, Beauty Behind the Madness, Starboy, After Hours and Dawn FM. All have been successful. He has been active with various collaborations with major artists of the day, including Wiz Khalifa, Sia, Ariana Grande, Lana del Rey and Daft Punk. He has toured with Florence and the Machine, Justin Timberlake, and Drake.
  • He has won 4 Grammy awards, and has been nominated for an Academy award for the song Earned It from the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • His 2019 song Blinding Lights became the #1 song of all time on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, thanks to the 90 weeks that it remained on the Hot 100 chart.
  • He has stated that his influences are Michael Jackson, Prince and R.Kelly. His music is best described as R&B, though it incorporates electronic and indie-style music, which gives it an alternative sound too.
  • Life’s pretty good for this high school drop out – in 2017, it was announced that he purchased a mansion in the Hidden Hills area of Los Angeles for $20 million.
  • I got hooked on his song Starboy in 2016, and it’s on several of my playlists. Here is the video of the song (over 2.1 BILLION views on YouTube). You’ll hear the Michael Jackson influence as he sings in this song.

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