Abel Tesfaye, or better known as The Weeknd has become increasingly popular over the past bunch of years and has become one of the biggest stars in the industry as of late. His mystical and mysterious ways make every fan want to know who he really is. Although much of his identity and upbringing is completely unknown (possibly a strategic thing), we did our best to dig around the web about what we do know about him for-sure. And what we found is that he is a pretty incredible individual who has taken his share of faith abiding leaps into the unknown which has resulted in some big-time success. Here’s 10 inspiring facts about The Weeknd’s life and rise to prominent fame.
1.) The Reason Abel Tesfaye Chose The Stage Name The Weeknd:
Tesfaye explained his reasoning, and well it makes pretty killer sense. According to www.capitalxtra.com he did a Q & A with fans on a Reddit forum stating that he left his home in Toronto at roughly age 17 and dropped out of school at the same time. He also managed to convince his XO crew member Lamar to do the same. The story behind the name is quite intriguing and Hollywood movie like. Tesfaye admitted the details stating “We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends s****y van and left one weekend and never came back home… I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name. It sounded cool. I took out the “e” because there was already a canadian band named the weekend.”
2.) Confined To His Grind, The Weeknd Earned Mastery Level At His Craft By Putting In The Time:
According to his hit track, Kiss Land, The Weeknd spent 21 years in the inner city of Toronto without ever leaving until he mastered his art and musical touch. In the song lyrics he states, according to genius.com “I went from starin’ at the same four walls for 21 years
To seein’ the whole world in just twelve months.” In other words, he went from grinding in the same room, perfecting his talent, creativity and imagination to finally putting it out for the world to witness. The outcome was his masterpiece product from all those years of hustling hard which ultimately led to freedom and the ability to perform around the globe.
3.) Ethiopian Descent And Upbringing:
The Weeknd’s parents came from Ethiopia in the 80’s to the Scarborough, Ontario area in Canada. His father was apparently absent while he was growing up and his mother was usually busy working. This is why he spent so much time with his grandmother who taught him his first language, Amharic, which he can speak fluently. He does not forget where he came from as he did a song and video directly dedicated to his roots and heritage. The song is called ‘The Knowing’ and the video is heavily filled with creative graphic design that reflect his homeland of Ethiopia.
4.) The Come Up And His Big Break:
Initially, he worked privately and performed at clubs and on the streets. The Weeknd met producer Jeremy Rose and his biggest defining element would be created. Jeremy had a brilliant idea of dark R&B, which was a new niche that was never tapped before. The two of them worked on a few tracks and then The Weeknd put himself out there by uploading them to Youtube in 2010. He would get some decent exposure but he ultimately received critical acclaim when other Toronto based rapper Drake put out a blog post with his songs and tweeted some of his lyrics. Upon his later success, many thought Drake and The Weeknd were on bad terms, but it was The Weeknd who told the world that those were just rumours and they both respected one another as artists. The Weeknd confidently wanted to go his own route and build his own name rather than sign with Drake, who was completely understanding.
5.) The Weeknd Prefers To Remain Secretive, Here’s Why:
He admitted that the reason he does not do interviews nor take many pictures at all is because he prefers to remain mysterious and does not like his fans to know everything, but to sort of figure out through his songs and lyrics what he is feeling etc.. He stated in a a rare interview “Because I grew up idolizing story tellers who tell stories using symbolism, so it was in my nature to do the same,”. He’s also camera shy and a bit insecure about his looks. He told Complex magazine “In the beginning, I was very insecure. I hated how I looked in pictures”. “Like, crop me out of this picture right now. I was very camera shy …The whole ‘enigmatic artist’ thing, I just ran with it. No one could find pictures of me. It reminded me of some villain s—. But you can’t escape the Internet.”
6.) He Is Very Real, Especially With His Fans:
Most musicians rarely apologize to fans, especially for taking the mainstream avenue. Well, The Weeknd is not your average artist by any means. He literally said sorry for signing with a major label and thanked his fans for being extremely patient with him. He revealed that he was caught between the underground music scene and the mainstream world. Being real has made his fans appreciate him even more. Maybe this is why his fans constantly call him the acronym GOAT, which stands for Greatest Of All Time.
7.) The Weeknd Surrounds Himself With Other Ambitious Musicians:
It’s overly stated and rightfully so, that it’s necessary to hang out with successful people in order to become successful. They seem to have contagious matter within them. The Weeknd is no exception. He constantly surrounds himself with the best, in fact, he listens to Michael Jackson’s ‘Off The Wall’ before he performs to get into the right zone. He also modelled for Kanye West’s clothing line recently, who is also a good friend of his. The Weeknd also explained how Ed Sheeran visited his home and he and Waka Flocka Flame had a rap battle. He did a track with famous rapper Wiz Khalifa called ‘Remember You’. Wiz is a huge fan and claims he get’s pretty inspired by The Weeknd saying “He’s just very creative and forward thinking. Abel’s my man.” Kendrick Lamar has also admitted he’s a fan and wants to work with him soon.
8.) His Unorthodox Inspirations:
Although he is definitely an R&B musician, it’s his voice and sound that are the only true R&B part. The music itself can often be dub step/rap/pop type beats that are nowhere near the typical slow jam type R&B we are used to hearing. He has few inspirations in the category, most notably Prince and R.Kelly but gets more of his creativity and ideas from inconventional alternative rock and punk. The Weeknd also claims that he got much of his artistic inspiration from Japan. His visit there was what really shaped the album “Kiss Land.” He is a pioneer for a new genre and era of R&B music as he tests the boundaries and pushes the limits to new new heights.
9.) The Weeknd Can Be Very Straight Up About His Flaws:
Although he’s extremely talented at what he does, he still opened up about how he struggles with knowing all of his own lyrics. The Weeknd relies on a songwriter language when he’s in the studio booth. Apparently, this results in him singing a bunch of jabber for 45 minutes straight , as he told Complex magazine “There are lyrics on ‘Thursday’, I don’t even know what the f— I said,”. Like we mentioned earlier, he’s also open to admit that he was very insecure about the way he looked too and would ask publications to crop him out of pictures.
10.) He Is Dubbed The New Michael Jackson:
In the new era of music, no one is closer to becoming the next Michael Jackson than The Weeknd. From singing a new version of Dirty Diana to his sharp vocals and mysterious ways, there’s no denying it. He is able to touch on very controversial lyrics but sing them in such a sexy and elegant way, something Michael would do in a different era of course. The Weeknd is the face of a fading genre of pop and R&B, but he is bringing it back to life with his raw, blunt and powerful lyrics and sound. He says “When I write, I write about my surroundings. Sometimes it’s light and sometimes it gets very dark. With this album I’ve learned to balance them out and evolve my sound.”