|Full Name||Abel Makkonen Tesfaye|
|Birthday||February 16, 1990|
The Weeknd is a Grammy-winning Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer known for his unique sound that fuses R&B, hip hop, and electronic music with emotionally raw lyrics. Often singing about heartbreak, loneliness and drug abuse, The Weeknd‘s moody vocals and atmospheric production have made him one of the most influential R&B artists of the 2010s.
Background and Early Life
Born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye in 1990 to Ethiopian immigrant parents, The Weeknd grew up in Toronto‘s Scarborough district. He taught himself to sing and play instruments, developing an eclectic taste in music from Michael Jackson to indie rock. As a troubled teen, Abel experimented with drugs, dropped out of high school, and left home at 17. He began recording songs in 2007 under the name "The Weeknd" and uploaded them anonymously to YouTube.
The Weeknd‘s early tracks like "Loft Music" and "The Morning" showcased his uniquely dark R&B style and caught the attention of fellow Canadian artist Drake. Their collaboration helped boost The Weeknd‘s profile, leading to his "House of Balloons" mixtape in 2011, the first installment of his groundbreaking trilogy. Signed to Republic Records in 2012, The Weeknd was poised to become R&B‘s next big innovator.
Rise to Fame and Musical Impact
The Weeknd‘s debut album, 2013‘s Kiss Land, blended electronic and progressive R&B, but it was his sophomore effort, Beauty Behind the Madness (2015), that catapulted him to superstardom. Powered by hits like "Earned It," "The Hills" and "Can‘t Feel My Face," the album peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and won two Grammys.
His third album Starboy (2016) contained the infectious title track featuring Daft Punk and solidified his crossover appeal. 2018‘s introspective EP My Dear Melancholy returned to his roots before his massive success. His most recent album After Hours spawned the chart-topping single "Blinding Lights," which broke the record for most weeks spent in the Billboard Hot 100 top 10.
In just a decade, The Weeknd has fundamentally changed the R&B landscape with his dark sonic aesthetic and raw vulnerability. His willingness to tackle provocative themes has expanded the genre‘s subject matter. His collaborations with top artists in pop and hip hop have blurred musical boundaries. Forbes declared him "R&B‘s Savior" for his role in the genre‘s resurgence.
Why Fans Love The Weeknd
Captivating Musical Talent
The Weeknd possesses an incredible vocal range and a keen ear for production. He wields his soaring falsetto and tenor with equal prowess, flawlessly switching between registers. His beats are atmospheric with hazy synths, booming bass and textured percussion. He expertly toggles between slow jams and club bangers.
"His voice hits the soul. It‘s unlike any other out there." – Bruno Mars
Unfiltered Honesty in Songwriting
The Weeknd is remarkably candid in depicting taboo subjects like alcoholism, drug abuse, loneliness, and toxic relationships. His vivid storytelling enables listeners to deeply connect to experiences like heartbreak.
"I‘m more vulnerable in my lyrics than I am in real life." – The Weeknd
Dynamic Live Performer
The Weeknd‘s live performances are like epic parties. Backed by spectacular lighting and pyrotechnics, he effortlessly commands stadium-sized crowds with his swagger and showmanship.
"His concerts feel like glimpses into his psyche – captivating and dramatic." – Pitchfork
The Weeknd‘s Career Timeline
Born in Toronto, Canada
Abel Tesfaye is born in Toronto to Ethiopian immigrant parents Selam and Makkonen Tesfaye.
Uploads Songs to YouTube
The Weeknd anonymously uploads tracks to YouTube, including "Loft Music" and "The Morning."
Releases House of Balloons Mixtape
His first mixtape House of Balloons spawns hit singles "High for This" and "Wicked Games."
Releases Kiss Land
After signing to Republic Records, The Weeknd releases his debut studio album Kiss Land.
Beauty Behind the Madness
His smash hit album Beauty Behind the Madness wins 2 Grammys and achieves double platinum status.
My Dear Melancholy
The Weeknd releases the introspective EP My Dear Melancholy, exploring failed relationships.
After Hours arrives, featuring the smash single "Blinding Lights."
5 Fun Facts About The Weeknd
- His stage name is missing the "e" to avoid copyright issues with a Canadian band already called "The Weekend."
- Michael Jackson, Prince, and R. Kelly are major influences on his musical style.
- He learned Amharic growing up and sometimes includes Ethiopian music traditions in his work.
- His hairstyle has gone through many iterations, from a high top fade to dreadlocks and now his signature spikes.
- He‘s notoriously press-shy, preferring to express himself through music alone and rarely giving interviews.
The Weeknd has undoubtedly reshaped the sound of modern R&B. Armed with angelic vocals and self-produced beats, he‘s crafted a dark, intoxicating sonic world infused with raw emotion. His willingness to tackle provocative themes with unfiltered honesty has expanded the genre‘s palette. As he continues to explore the depths of fame, addiction, and heartbreak, The Weeknd promises more envelope-pushing music for years to come.