The Weeknd, man of mystery
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, the name The Weeknd must certainly ring a bell.
Abel Tesfaye, the man behind The Weeknd, gained popularity with the mainstream crowd trough his duet with Ariana Grande. The result was the song Love me Harder.
Shortly after that he managed to establish himself trough the sultry R&B hit Earned It. The song got featured on the Fifty Shades of Grey movie soundtrack and landed him a Grammy for best R&B performance. Another handful of hits dropped after that.
Catchy songs like Can’t feel my Face and The Hills followed shortly after. His next track Starboy - a collab with Daft Punk - got loads of airplay and the same titled album won him another Grammy for best urban contemporary album. You could tell Abel was here to stay.
His lyrics most often talk about drugs, partying, women and heartache. All of his songs are deeply personal, often drenched in a bit of melancholy. They’re heartfelt and raw and most importantly authentic.
And then there’s the songs that make you want to dance and sing along. If his older tracks tend to remind you of Michael Jackson, that’s a compliment. Michael‘s music was a huge influence to him. He even covered Dirty Diana on his mixtape way back in 2011, and he did it well.
No matter the type of song, he always finds a way to take your heart trough both the pleasure and the pain.
On stage he looks comfortable in his own skin, performing on all the big festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. He easily calls out the high-pitched falsetto notes and when done right they have a massive hypnotic effect on you.
He seems unbothered by all the screaming girls. He’s simply the guy who does it all unapologetically. It’s not a perfect show, but somehow it’s just so right.
He isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and shed a tear or two. That’s exactly what happened when singing Call out My Name on his 2018 Coachella performance, allegedly written about his break up with Selena Gomez.
Just as he isn’t shy to sing about strippers, money and cocaine and have 100.000 people sing along to his every line.
But when you look a little closer, Abel is also very private. Only a handful of personal interviews go around on the web. On Youtube it’s equally as unlikely to find them. It’s clear that the reporters go to great lengths to get that one-on-one time with him.
In a piece written by Rolling Stone Magazine he said he used to dodge interviews, because he felt like he wasn’t wellspoken enough as the high-school dropout he was.
Before his big breaktrough, nobody really knew what he looked like either, he felt out of shape and awkward on photo’s. Something that is very unlikely to happen with an artist.
He released his first 3 tracks of his mixtape on Youtube, all without using any pictures of himself. Eventually he dropped 3 mixtapes for free. These eventually were into one huge album, that we now know as Trilogy.
The individual mixtapes gained him a huge fanbase in the underground music scene and even caught his fellow Canadian Drake’s attention. The people seemed to know all along that he was going to be big.
All of this makes you wonder, who is Abel really? Is he the “Starboy” and the “Party Monster” as he so portrays on stage? Or is he actually the shy and sensitive guy who craves to be loved, as the “My Dear Melancholy” and “Trilogy” albums do suggest?
And just when you think you know, off he goes into another direction again. Taking on the 80’s disco-esque vibe wholeheartedly, even down to his appearance. Cleaning out his entire Instagram page and start it all fresh. He’s just that serious about it.
With the 2019 releases Heartless and then
Blinding Lights effortlessly hitting #1 positions in multiple countries, the next album is another promising one. On February 13th he announced the title would be "After Hours" and shortly after he dropped another single with that same title.
One thing is certain, the world is impatiently waiting for the release of another masterpiece coming March 20th. It’s going to be worth it.