Born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye on February 16, 1990, the Weeknd goes by the stage name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye. Toronto, Ontario, was the place where he was raised by his mother and her grandmother after they divorced. In the late 1980s, The Weeknd’s parents immigrated to Canada from Ethiopia. Tesfaye’s father was absent from his life as a child, and the two only saw one other a few times.
Tesfaye’s early life was marked by his frequent attendance at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which shaped him profoundly. Abel Tesfaye began using narcotics at the age of 11 despite his religious commitments. Tesfaye maintains that he committed crimes to pay for his drug habit, which began with marijuana smoking. The fact that he went to high school is irrelevant because he dropped out before his senior year.
As Tesfaye explained, he left high school and his family’s home “one weekend, and never returned.” His stage name is a reference to this fact. He met producer Jeremy Rose three years after graduating from high school. When Rose came up with the idea of “dark R&B,” Tesfaye seemed like the right person to spearhead the movement. Tesfaye rapped on a handful of Rose-produced songs. Kin Kane and The Noise were among the nicknames the musician was utilizing in this era. Rose agreed to let Tesfaye use the tracks in exchange for credit as a producer. It wasn’t long until Tesfaye had a large following on YouTube, and even Drake got wind of it.
— The Weeknd Access (@WeekndAccess) June 3, 2022
House of Balloons, The Weeknd’s first major release, was a mixtape. Jeremy Rose was one of many producers who worked on the album, but he wasn’t given credit for any of the work because of an earlier agreement. The album was a huge hit, and Drake was happy to applaud the artist once more. As a fan of The Weeknd, Drake also attended his debut show and later approached him with a collaboration proposal. The Weeknd and Drake then embarked on a joint tour, with The Weeknd serving as Drake’s opening act. Many major record labels came forward when The Weeknd released two additional mixtapes.
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The Weeknd teamed up with Republic Records in a joint venture that also saw the establishment of his imprint, XO, following a tour of the United States and Europe in 2012. The Weeknd’s record label, XO, is a division of Republic Records and is run by The Weeknd himself. Trilogy, a compilation of The Weeknd’s first three mixtapes, was released as a result of their friendship. For the first time, Jeremy Rose was given credit for the songs he had written and recorded. The album ranked fourth on the Billboard 200 in the United States.
Kiss Land, his first studio album, was released a year later. Drake appeared on numerous tracks on the album, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. He collaborated with singers such as Justin Timberlake and Ariana Grande and toured extensively in the following years.
The Weeknd’s second studio album, Beauty Behind the Madness, came out in 2015. The album sold 412,000 units in its first week of release and topped the Billboard 200 in the United States. It was eventually certified platinum, having sold more than 1.5 million copies worldwide. With his next three tracks, all of which went platinum, The Weeknd became the first male artist to hold all three top slots on Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart at the same time!
Starboy, The Weeknd’s follow-up album was released in 2016. Daft Punk appeared on several tracks on the album, which was released in 2012. The Weeknd released My Dear Melancholy in 2018 after collaborating with a variety of other artists and touring again. In 2017, The Weeknd achieved a Guinness World Record for the most Spotify streams in a calendar year.
The Weeknd, his first greatest hits collection, was released in Japan in 2018 as well. A new album from The Weeknd is due out in 2020, and the working title is After Hours.