by Evelina Mavrides
He dated a Hadid, pioneered a hairstyle, and put out the biggest album on the planet, and yet Abel Tesfaye—a.k.a. The Weeknd has manged to keep it down low. Most of the people recognize the icon but not the artist, but this time it was different because that’s exactly what he wanted. So, for a long time, The Weeknd didn’t want anyone to even know who he was. When people first became aware of him, in 2011, after he released the three epic mixtapes that would become his first album, Trilogy, no one knew what he looked like or what his real name was (his real name is Abel Tesfaye, by the way). People didn’t even know if The Weeknd was a person or a group. He was just this voice, a sweet, smoothy voice trained in the sacred arts of Michael Jacksonism, that had been completely disembodied from the human who possessed it.
But where did “The Weeknd” came from? Tesfaye explained the origin of his stage name in a Reddit Q&A with fans: “I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar [XO crew member] to do the same lol. We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends s****y van and 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.”
From that point on all the stars seemed to have aligned for him in many different ways. In an interview he describes how intense was that period of his life, with everything changing. “It was so scary, man,” he says. “If I had been living in L.A., and it was like, ‘Hollywood, here I come…’? But it’s different. I wasn’t even from Toronto. And even making it from Toronto, it’s not really a believable, realistic thing.
“I don’t think I did it to make it. I don’t think I was like, ‘I’m leaving. I’m going to go become a star.’ It was more like, ‘I need to get the fuck out of here and live another life.’ You know? Be somebody else. Not a star, just someone else.” And I am pretty sure he did, you don’t have to like his music to fall in love with it, because that’s the thing with life and stories, and that’s exactly that he is doing,
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