5 things to know about The Weeknd
Ahead of his performance in the UAE this weekend
Abel Tesfaye, who's stage name is The Weeknd, is a Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and producer. The Scarborough, Toronto-born singer doesn't say much outside of his deep lyrics or personal messages via his social networking accounts, which is probably why ever since appearing on the scene in late 2010, he's remained an enigma in the music world.
Keeping away from scandals and the tabloids, the 24-year-old artist has remained a mystery in more ways than one, however here are five things that you should know about The Weeknd...
1. He's proud of his Ethiopian heritage
Tesfaye's parents were born in Ethiopia, and The Weeknd — who only started speaking English at the age of 5 — addresses this heritage in the eccentric video for The Knowing, a track off the first of his three self-released 2011 mixtapes that make up the massive album Trilogy. The eerie video collage begins in Addis Ababa in the 1970s and then moves into an apocalyptic world featuring alien-like giraffes and humans.
2. He's best friends with Drake
Hailing from Toronto himself, Tesfaye and fellow Toronto native Drake have been friends since 2010 when Drizzy posted The Weeknd's first three debut tracks on his blog. Drake also helped further the artist when he appeared on his mentor's sophomore 2011 album Take Care. "We're definitely a family," said Drake, in an MTV interview. "It's a Toronto thing."
The two Canadian's have also collaborated on a number of songs, including Crew Love, The Zone and Live For.
3. He doesn't give formal interviews
Almost everything we know about Tesfaye's personal life comes from interviews with musicians who have collaborated with him, or via the infrequent bursts of life he puts up on his blog and Twitter account. "I usually don't like to 'spoon feed' my audience," he wrote in a direct message to his fans, "because I grew up idolizing story tellers who tell stories using symbolism, so it was in my nature to do the same."
4. His first performance was at the Mod Club
Singing to a sold-out crowd at the Mod Club in Toronto, Tesfaye's first ever performance lasted an hour and a half and created a lot of buzz for an unknown artist, who had yet to make a proper live debut.
5. His musical inspirations come from punk and alternative rock
The artist claims that the only thing R&B about his music is the style of his vocals — taking inspiration from R.Kelly and Prince — however when it comes to production, songwriting and the environment The Weeknds musical world runs more toward alt-rock and punk.
House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls incorporated old singles by punk pioneers Siouxsie and the Banshees. While The Knowing draws from the fantasy world of the Scottish rock band, Cocteau Twins.