Abel Tesfaye, better known by his stage name, The Weeknd, is an incredibly talented singer, but his personal life and the struggles he’s been through to get to where he is now are of as much interest as his musical career — and we learnt 10 interesting new things about him in his interview with The Guardian.
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1. He struggled with drug use
The lyrics you hear in his songs actually run pretty true to life, as The Weeknd confessed to a time when “drugs were a crutch” for him. “There were songs on my first record that were seven minutes long, rambling — whatever thoughts I was having when I was under the influence at the time. I can’t see myself doing that now,” he said.
2. His outlook on relationships has changed
Just a few weeks ago, news broke that The Weeknd and longtime girlfriend, supermodel Bella Hadid, had called it quits, but during the interview he shed more light on his relationships with women in general and how they’ve changed over the last seven years.
“The mind of a 19-year-old is very different from the mind of a 26-year-old,” he explained. “You grow. You get into better relationships. You experience more, meet more people, better people. But when you’re in a dark hole, at an earlier point in your life — you write about the mindset you’re in at that moment.”
3. He’s not sorry for his lyrics
The Weeknd’s voice is hauntingly beautiful, but some of his lyrics could be described as sexist or misogynistic. However, they are also art, and reflect various times in his life — and he’d never apologize for his music.
4. He thinks highly of his mother
The Weeknd grew up in the neighbourhood of Scarborough, Toronto, and is the son of Ethiopian immigrants who split shortly after his birth. He was raised by his mother, who as a single parent worked multiple jobs, and the singer is grateful to have had such a strong woman in his life. He describes her as “a great mom, very protective, very cultured.”
5. He learnt everything from the TV
“I had to learn everything from TV,” he confessed during the interview. “I didn’t have a father figure in the house. No boys around. Just me and my mom.”
6. Loneliness was very real
The Weeknd was a lonely child, and he longed for a sibling… as long as it was a brother.
7. He dropped out of school, and he knows it was risky
Aged 17, The Weeknd and his best friend La Mar Taylor decided to drop out of school, a decision that he now realizes was incredibly risky. “I could have ruined my whole life by dropping out of school. The consequences might have been horrible,” he confessed.
8. He has spent time in jail
Although he was hesitant to go into detail about his stints behind bars, The Weeknd did tell The Guardian‘s Tom Lamont that this served as a wake-up call for him “to smarten up, to focus.” He also realized that most people don’t get a second chance.
9. He worked at American Apparel
Before he became a worldwide success and award-winning artist, The Weeknd worked at American Apparel folding clothes.
10. The spelling of ‘Weeknd’ came about to avoid a clash
You may have wondered why The Weeknd spells his name without the third “e,” well, apparently that was a decision to avoid a clash with an already established band of the same name.