Weeknd - Biography
The Weeknd is a Canadian musician and rapper, producer, and songwriter who initially rose to prominence as an anonymous YouTube singer. The performer of the famous singles Starboy and I Feel It Coming. The winner of two Grammy Awards and an Oscar nominee. Since 2017 he has been at the top of the Forbes ranking among the 30 highest paid singers under 30 with an annual income of over $90 million.
Childhood and youth
The musician's real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye. He was born and raised in Toronto. A third of the city's population at that time consisted of immigrants, which were his parents - Makkonen and Samra Tesfaye. In the late 1980s they moved back to Toronto from civil war-torn Ethiopia.
The Tesfaye family settled in Scarborough, one of the poorest areas in Toronto. Soon after the birth of Abel the father left the family. The boy was raised by his grandmother, who told him a lot about the historical homeland and national Amharic traditions, while his mother was working all day long. You can still see an amulet on the musician's chest that reminds him of the roots.
As the future musician was an inner city kid, he began to smoke weed when he was 11 and was fond of stealing. By the age of 17 he completely got out of hand and hooked on heavier drugs.
In 2007 Abel dropped out of school and began to rent a small apartment with a friend. From dusk till dawn friends took drugs and listened to music.
From early childhood, the future singer was inspired by the work of Prince and R. Kelly, and Michael Jackson was his idol. As a teenager Abel dreamed of becoming a famous performer but he had no idea how to do it. He tried to create the band, write music and lyrics but his all attempts faded against the background of the fantastic success of Justin Bieber and other pop musicians who topped the first lines of the world charts.
Started to live independently Abel got a job as a sales consultant in a fashion store, and in the evenings he performed in nightclubs. At one of these parties he met a musician and producer Jeremy Rose who became interested in the work of an aspiring musician and offered him cooperation.
Together with Jeremy Abel has recorded three tracks. Rose's instrumental was in perfect harmony with the clean melodic vocals. In 2010 the project was named "The Weeknd". Abel took such a pseudonym in memory of the period when he began to live alone and left school. As the musician said he "left home at the weekend and did not come back." The singer deliberately omitted a letter in his pseudonym in order to avoid litigation with the Canadian band The Weekend.
Collaboration with Rose promised to be quite successful but finally they got a conflict of interest. In December 2010 Abel cut ties with the produser. Then he posted the tracks What You Need, Loft Music, and The Morning on Youtube. One of his songs was noted by the already established by Drake.
In winter 2011 The Weeknd released on YouTube his debut album House of Balloons which consists of his better songs. Ensured the support of fans and Drake who gave the musician his studio free of charge, the rapper prepared a concert program and went on his first tour in July.
When he returned he recorded two more mixtapes Thursday and Echoes of Silence. Together with the first record they were included in the compilation Trilogy (2012). The album reflects the musician's identity — the combination of pure angelic vocals with brutal cynical lyrics. The record was about depression, drugs and sex.
After big concert tour over the United States and several performances at the largest European festivals Abel began to work on a full-length studio album in 2012.
The Kiss Land album was officially presented on the 10th of September 2013 and took rightful place among top five records of the outgoing year. The song called Devil May Cry became the soundtrack to the fantastic action movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and raised the Weeknd popularity.
In 2013 after the movie was screened many popular performers became interested in Abel music and began to offer him collaborations. From late 2013 to early 2014 the Weeknd joined Justin Timberlake on his world tour, worked with Sia and Beyoncé and also recorded a feat with Ariana Grande.
In December 2014 the song Earned It was presented to the public. It became the soundtrack to the popular melodrama Fifty Shades of Grey and won an Oscar as the best song for a film. The song was a part of the album Beauty Behind the Madness that was released in summer of 2015.
So the record became the leader of the charts in the USA, Canada, Australia, and the UK. In December it was called the most-streamed album of 2015 and ranked fifth in the Rolling Stone magazine rating.
The legendary album Starboy was presented in the fall of 2016. The musician created a short film directed by Grant Singer to support the record. The audience reaction was stormy not only to the new musical material but also to the change in the singer's image — Abel cut his dreadlocks off, which have already become his stock in trade.
At that very time the performer continued to cooperate with other singers — his collaborations with Kanye West, Beyoncé, and the French band Daft Punk made a lot of noise in the music world, and the Weeknd's creative duets with American rapper Future and singer Lana Del Rey were also successful.
In 2017 it was announced that the singer is going to take part in Rihanna's world tour, but finally the Weeknd changed his mind and focused on recording the next album. Later on he admitted that he had lost a lot of money but anyway considered he’d made the right choice.
The singer's private life is a hot topic of discussion on social media. The fans are interested in it as much as in his meteoric career. And it’s not surprising because he rolled up with two of the most desirable girls in the world — an American top model Bella Hadid and a popular singer and actress Selena Gomez.
Abel met Bella in 2015 at the fashionable American Coachella festival, where world celebrities come every year. The Weeknd was deeply impressed by her pure beauty and offered the girl to take part in his video for the track In The Night. The concerted effort did the trick so the young people began to date.
In 2016 they took part in the Victoria's Secret Show. Fans admired the couple and kept an eye on the development of the relationship with great interest. However, the romantic idyll was short-lived so Bella and Abel separated after one and a half years.
In January 2017 the rapper got caught with Selena Gomez. The couple had dinner at a Los-Angeles restaurant and it was clear that there was not a business date.
So the lovers stopped hiding and went on a romantic trip to Florence. They were seen at some public events but after a few months they unexpectedly announced the breakup. According to the official version they had different working schedules that ruined their relationship.
In 2018 Gomez briefly returned to Justin Bieber, and the Weeknd fell into the open arms of Bella Hadid. The lovers were together for more than a year and even talked about the wedding, but in August 2019 the stars broke up again.
Nevertheless, they continue to maintain friendly relations, communicate by phone and on social networks. According to the photos on Instagram Abel was invited to Bella's 23rd birthday. And after the release of his new album After Hours, fans began to claim that the track Heartless was addressed to Hadid, and so this way the singer was trying to revive the old feelings.
The Weeknd now
In March 2020 the Weeknd presented his fourth album After Hours, which immediately took off to the top of the world charts as the previous ones. Most of the tracks are devoted to his past — they reflect the thoughts of the singer if he managed to become a different person and correct the mistakes of his youth.
The video sequence of this album is closely connected with the crime drama Uncut Gems, where Abel played "himself from 2011". The film also consists of soundtracks written by the Weeknd, the main character of it was played by Adam Sandler.
The new album was supported with a limited collection of hoodies, T-shirts and hats with the After Hours logo. They were created by leading sportswear designers and world-famous fashion brands.
Nowadays the Weeknd has almost reached its ambitious goal of becoming the new king of the world of music — his incomes are measured in tens of millions of dollars. In 2017 the singer topped the Forbes “thirty” in the rating of sports and show business stars under 30 years old.
The singer regularly makes charitable donations to the organization that promote and inculcate Geza, the traditional language of the native population of Ethiopia.
Abel also supports the movement against discrimination of the black community and even refused to cooperate with a major global clothing chain because of a racist photo posted on their website.
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