The Weeknd is a YouTube sensation artist and a triple Grammy awardee. He is an R&B singer known for the songs "Can't Feel My Face" and "Starboy." His tenor range characterizes his enigmatic signature voice with his light-lyric and youthful sound.


Life and career

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, more popularly known as The Weeknd, was born on February 16, 1990, in Toronto, Canada, and is an only child. His parents, Makkonen and Samra Tesfaye, are Ethiopian immigrants. He spent his growing years with his mother and grandmother as his father left the family when he was a toddler.

In 2007, Tesfaye dropped out of high school and subsequently left his home. He used the stage name The Weeknd to signify the weekend he went away and never came back home. The missing "e" letter was intentional to differentiate him from a Canadian band The Weekend.

The Weeknd
(Photo: Commons Wikimedia/RTotzke)

The Weeknd's early career

While still in high school, Tesfaye started recording his singing, continuing to pursue his interest in music after dropping out of his studies.

In 2010, he met producer Jeremy Rose who was looking into a project on the dark side of R&B. They worked together in an album where The Weeknd rapped some of the songs. The record though was not released, but Rose allowed Tesfaye with proper credits to take with him "What You Need," "Loft Music," and "The Morning."

In December of the same year, he uploaded the three tracks on YouTube using the account name  "xoxxxoooxo." Very little was known of the artist since his early music videos featured only static images. His enigmatic sound gained him followers on the streaming platform, which were noticed by the rapper, Drake.

Artistry through mixtapes and albums

"House of Balloons," The Weeknd's debut mixtape released on March 21, 2011, was critically acclaimed.

During one of his club performances in Toronto, Canada, Drake, who was watching from the audience, approached him after the show. The two collaborated on Drake's 2011 album "Take Care," where The Weeknd contributed four songs as a writer or singer.

The Weeknd released two more mixtapes "Thursday" and "Echoes of Silence" in the same year. The three mixtapes were compiled, which came to be known as "Trilogy," released in 2012. It became a platinum-selling record.

His debut studio album "Kiss Land" was launched on September 10, 2013. Shy as he was, the album cover featured photos of women and not of himself. With his outstanding vocal talent, the album made its debut on Billboard 200 chart at No. 2.

The Canadian singer also worked on "Earned It" from the soundtrack of "Fifty Shades of Grey" which earned him an Academy nomination.

Dropped on August 28, 2015, "Beauty Behind The Madness" was the singer-songwriter's sophomore album that debuted on Billboard 200. "The Hills," one of the tracks, became his first No. 1 single. "Can't Feel My Face" also landed on the top spot of Billboard Hot 100 and earned a nomination in the Grammy Awards under Best Pop Solo Performance category. The album was also a nominee for Album of the Year.

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November 25, 2016 was the release date of "Starboy," his third album. The title track was a collaboration with French electronic music pair Daft Punk which gained No. 1 spot on Hot 100 chart. "I Feel It Coming," another collaboration with the duo, is part of this album. His other featured artists in the LP are Lana del Rey, Future, and Kendrick Lamar.

RELATED: The Weeknd's New Album 'Starboy' Sets Spotify Record for Most Streams in a Single Day

His EP, "My Dear Melancholy" was released on March 30, 2018, that showcased the single "Call Out My Name."

RELATED: WATCH: The Weeknd Goes Dark For 'Call Out My Name' Music Video

His fourth studio album, "After Hours," was dropped on March 20, 2020. The second single from the LP, "Blinding Lights" was earlier released on November 29, 2019. The track peaked at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 2020, alongside the album that also topped Billboard 200 album chart.

Influences and awards

The Weeknd acknowledges Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and Prince as his musical influences. He particularly cited MJ's upbeat song "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" that helped him find his voice. His musicality is considered to be as alternative R&B.

Tesfaye The Weeknd has three Grammy Awards under his belt: Best R&B Performance for "Earned It," Best Contemporary Album for "Beauty Behind The Madness" and "Starboy." He also won eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, and nine Juno Awards.

The now

"After Hours" album is still dominating the charts. The Weeknd also starred and co-wrote one of the episodes in the TV sitcom "American Dad" showed on May 4, 2020.

In April 2020, through his resurrected XO record label, he launched non-medical cloth face masks to raise funds for MusiCares Coronavirus Relief Fund. All proceeds of the sales will benefit the organization.