The Weeknd

The Weeknd
FEQ July 2018 The Weeknd (44778856382) (cropped).jpg
The Weeknd performing at FEQ in 2018
Abel Makkonen Tesfaye

(1990-02-16) February 16, 1990 (age 32)
  • Singer-songwriter
  • record producer
  • actor
  • businessman
Years active2009–present
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Also known asThe Noise, Kin Kane[1]
  • Vocals
  • piano
  • keyboards
  • bass
  • guitar
  • drums
The Weeknd signature.png

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (born February 16, 1990), known professionally as the Weeknd, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, actor and record producer.[2] Known for his sonic versatility and dark lyricism, his music explores escapism, romance, and melancholia, and is often inspired by personal experiences.[3] He has received numerous accolades, including four Grammy Awards, 20 Billboard Music Awards, 17 Juno Awards, six American Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, and nominations for an Academy Award, a Latin Grammy Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award.[4]

Born and raised in Toronto, Tesfaye began his music career in 2009 by anonymously releasing music on YouTube. Two years later, he co-founded the XO record label and released the mixtapes House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, which quickly gained recognition for his style of contemporary and alternative R&B and the mystique surrounding his identity.[5] In 2012, he signed with Republic Records and rereleased the mixtapes in the compilation album Trilogy. He explored dark wave in his debut studio album Kiss Land (2013), which debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200. After its release, Tesfaye began contributing to film soundtracks, with his acclaimed single "Earned It" from Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) winning the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance, while also being nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.[6]

Tesfaye earned major critical and commercial success with his pop-leaning second studio album Beauty Behind the Madness (2015). It became his first number-one project in the US, and is one of the year's best-selling albums. With the US Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills", Beauty Behind the Madness won the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album and was nominated for Album of the Year.[7] His trap-infused third studio album Starboy (2016) saw similar commercial success and included the US number-one single of the same name. Like its predecessor, the album won the Grammy Award for Best Urban Contemporary Album. Tesfaye explored new wave and dream pop with his critically acclaimed fourth studio album After Hours (2020), which featured the chart record-setting single "Blinding Lights" and the US number-one singles "Heartless" and "Save Your Tears".[8] His dance-pop inspired fifth studio album Dawn FM (2022) included the US top-ten single "Take My Breath", and "Sacrifice".

Among the world's best-selling music artists with over 75 million records sold,[9] Tesfaye holds several streaming and Billboard chart records.[10][11] He is the first artist to simultaneously debut on the top three on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs,[12] while "Blinding Lights" is the longest-charting song in Billboard history.[13][14] Often considered as a prominent figure in contemporary popular music,[15] Tesfaye was listed by Time magazine as one of the world's most influential people in 2020.[16] An advocate for racial equality and food security, he was appointed a World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador in 2021.[17]

  1. ^ Marsh, Calum (February 16, 2021). "Everything We Know About The Weeknd Before He Blew Up". Complex. He apparently also recorded music under the names The Noise and Kin Kane.
  2. ^ Eells, Josh (October 21, 2015). "Sex, Drugs and R&B: Inside The Weeknd's Dark Twisted Fantasy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 15, 2018.
  3. ^ McDuffie, Candace (November 23, 2016). "5 Reasons the Weeknd Is Redefining Music". Teen Vogue. Retrieved December 23, 2021. Born Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd is a provocative and groundbreaking artist with a vocal style that simultaneously channels the greats, putting the Toronto native in a league of his own. Not only does he champion and embrace individuality, he chooses to be both lyrically and sonically daring. The Weeknd’s creative approach to music is uniquely appealing because he offers a form of escapism; he is able to transport you to the exact moments he sings about through his use of explicit detail.
  4. ^ "The Weeknd". Grammy Awards. Archived from the original on April 19, 2017.
  5. ^ "House of Balloons – The Weeknd". Metacritic. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021.
  6. ^ Cox, Jamieson (February 28, 2016). "Watch The Weeknd reenact the "Earned It" video on the Oscar stage". The Verge. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  7. ^ "59th Annual GRAMMY Awards". 59th Annual Grammy Awards. November 28, 2017. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018.
  8. ^ McIntyre, Hugh. "The Weeknd Scores The Largest Streaming Week Ever For An R&B Album". Forbes. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  9. ^ Tyska, Jane (February 7, 2021). "Photos: The Weeknd plays Super Bowl LV halftime show". The Mercury News.
  10. ^ Lavin, Will (December 1, 2020). "Billie Eilish, The Weeknd and Bad Bunny among Spotify's most-streamed artists of 2020". NME.
  11. ^ Aswad, Jem (November 30, 2020). "Bad Bunny, The Weeknd Top Spotify's Year-End 'Wrapped' Lists". Variety.
  12. ^ Alston, Trey (November 19, 2020). "Soul Train Awards '20: Here's Why Each R&B/Soul Male Nominee Deserves The Top Spot – The Weeknd". BET. Archived from the original on November 30, 2020.
  13. ^ Trust, Gary (March 8, 2021). "Olivia Rodrigo's 'Drivers License' Leads Hot 100 for 8th Week, The Weeknd's 'Blinding Lights' Marks a Year in Top 10". Billboard.
  14. ^ "The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" Is Now the Longest-Charting Billboard Hot 100 Song of All Time". Complex. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
  15. ^ Wimmer, Micah (March 21, 2018). "On the Weeknd, House of Balloons, and Its Massive Influence". Medium. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Listening to House of Balloons now, years after its initial release, its influence stands out as much as its quality. It might not be fully accurate to name it as the first so-called alternative R&B album, the one that set the stage for Frank Ocean, FKA Twigs, Rhye, Tinashe, and Miguel’s more experimental work, but regardless, it still seems like a dividing line in the progression of R&B in the 2010s.
  16. ^ John, Elton (September 22, 2020). "THE 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2020 – The Weeknd". Time. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021.
  17. ^ "U.N. World Food Programme Announces The Weeknd as Global Goodwill Ambassador | World Food Programme". Retrieved March 3, 2022.

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