It's been a good year for the 25-year-old singer, songwriter and producer known as The Weeknd — he’s gained mass appeal with two high-profile singles, summer hit "Can’t Feel My Face" and "Earned It," which was the breakout feature song from Fifty Shades of Grey. He's also collaborated with superstars like Sia, Ariana Grande, Rick Ross and Drake, had a couple of big festival appearances, a triumphant MMVA performance and a headlining tour planned for the fall.
And his new album featuring new collaborations with established mega-stars like Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey, Beauty Behind the Madness, just dropped on Aug. 28, so everybody's talking about him right now. So what do we know about him?
Born and raised in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, The Weeknd spent his formative years working on his craft right here in Canada. He even claims to have not left his hometown (or been on a plane) until he was 21 years old.
Born Abel Tesfaye, the singer got his stage name when he left home one weekend at 17: "[I] 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 (copyright issues)."
A Canadian of Ethiopian descent, The Weeknd’s first language is Amharic, a Semitic language common in Ethiopia, and he still speaks it fluently. “Had no dad and mom was working 24/7 so my grandma raised me until I was like 5. No English,” The Weeknd explained in a Reddit AMA.
An integral part of The Weeknd’s notorious mystique comes from how he interacts with the press. The short story? He doesn’t do it often. The Weeknd is known for his reluctance to participate in traditional interviews, mostly preferring to interact with the press via outlets he can control, like his Twitter or Reddit.
In addition to collaborating with Kanye West in the studio, The Weeknd recently veered from his camera-shy tendencies to model the Yeezy collection for GQ.
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