Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, better known as the Weeknd has made a significant mark in the music industry over the past few years. He began releasing music anonymously way back in 2010, and while his talent did put him on the map, it was his smash hit, ‘Starboy’ that truly skyrocketed him to fame.
Now, the Weeknd’s first project was his debut album ‘Kiss Land’ which later led to his his most critically acclaimed album to date ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’, which became his first Billboard 200 number-one album and featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”.
Over the years, his talent has earned him, three Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, nine Billboard Music Awards! But, when we talk about Abel, how much do we really know about him, apart from his music?
In fact, today, the singer celebrates his birthday and that’s why, we’ve put together a little list of things you may not have known about the one and only, Weeknd:
1.The singer dropped out of high school at the age of 17 and when he moved out from home as a mere teen, it’s a moment that will always linger with him. He and his close friend, La Mar Taylor, pulled up to his house, grabbed one large mattress, threw it in their van and sped off. And yet, the Weeknd still remembers the expression his mother wore when she saw him leave. In his words, she shot him “the worst look anyone could have. She looked at me like she had failed,” But, look how far he’s come now! As they say, always expect the unexpected.
2.Abel lived in a tiny one-bedroom apartment for a long time and took up multiple jobs just to get by. One of those included working at the American Apparel store. And interestingly enough, this is also where he first began writing music. Though he had initially intended to just sell his work to other artists, he had a change of heart very soon and ended up uploading possibly his first three tracks to YouTube in 2010.
3.While he had already thought of his stage name, when he first began uploading his music, he remained completely anonymous. There wasn’t a name to be found, nor even a face to put to the name and yet, his fellow shirt-folders at the retailer listened to his music without knowing it was him. Though, he did put a lot of thought into his stage name as it was inspired by his high school dropout status, looking back on the time “he left one weekend and never came home”.
4.’Kiss Land’, The Weeknd’s first studio album, draws its inspiration from horror films or rather the concept of fear.
According to the singer, “A lot of it is inspired by filmmakers like John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and Ridley Scott, because they know how to capture fear. That’s what Kiss Land is to me, an environment that’s just honest fear… So when you hear the screams in the record and you hear all these horror references and you feel scared, listen to the music because I want you to feel what I’m feeling. Kiss Land is like a horror movie.” So, don’t let its lovey-dovey title ever fool you.
5.Now, onto something a little lighter, according to the Weeknd, the Joker is his favorite villain of all time. And there’s one intriguing reason for that, “…You don’t know his past, you just know what his plans are,” it almost reflects the mystery surrounding the singer himself and perhaps that’s why he has a certain fascination for the character.
6.The house that The Weeknd rents in the Hollywood Hills is reportedly haunted. According to him, “I’ve had sleep paralysis. I hear voices sometimes. I heard the Hills are over Indian burial ground. But maybe it’s the wind.” Hmmm, sounds spooky doesn’t it? Well, let’s all hope that it’s just the wind.
So, there you have it! Now, you know the Weeknd just a tad bit more intimately.