The hype began when Abel Tesfaye, mostly known as The Weeknd, dropped his first single “Starboy” on September 22, 2016 and it continued when other singles were also dropped like “False Alarm” and “Party Monster”, along with a short film he titled “MANIA”. With contributing artists like Lana Del Rey, Kendrick Lamar, and Daft Punk, his third studio album, “Starboy”, was out on November 24th, 2016 and immediately rose in the charts. This isn’t the first time Canadian singer-songwriter takes the lead on the top charts of Apple music but he also did this with his second studio album, Beauty Behind The Madness, that also got the attention of many. Throughout the years, we can see that The Weeknd has gone through immense development and grown into a successful Starboy. From “Trilogy” to “Starboy”, Abel has captivated the eyes of many and has gained tons of fans over this time period.
Since the start, The Weeknd has always referred his record label, “XO”, as not only a label but more of a representation of his fans and his very close friends. He explained how his team was a group of people that he grew up with and he emphasized the importance of always keeping these people close because these are the people that “made them who he is”.
In 2011, he came out with three mixtapes, “House of Balloons”, “Thursday” and “Echoes of Silence” that were released on his official website. After House of Balloons was released, “The Noise EP” was leaked where it had songs that Abel wrote as a teen. Like all artists, he started at the bottom and he was an underground artist but for some time he wanted to remain this way. He would decline any interviews but would continue to make his music. When he started becoming more comfortable with publicity, he explained in interviews how it was more about his insecurities where he didn’t like how he came out in his pictures so instead he just let his music do all the talking for him. His unique R&B voice influenced many and even though he wasn’t as outspoken in public, he had a great talent. In 2012, he came out with “Trilogy”, which was a compilation album of all three mixtapes where he remastered some of the songs. His first single and official music video from this album was “Wicked Gamed” which was released October 22, 2012. Canadian rapper, Drake, was very interested in Abel’s voice and he wanted him to be featured on his album “Take Care” and so that is exactly what occurred. Not only was he featured in the song “Crew Love” but he also contributed to the hook of one of his songs, “Practice”. Drake became a big supporter of Abel’s career in music.
Abel then moves on to what he called the ‘Second Chapter’ where he tells the story after “Trilogy”. He explained in an interview how he had never gone away from his home in Canada when he wrote his first songs so this is when the reasoning behind having an Asian-inspired album came about. “Kiss Land” has a very Japanese vibe with its’ album art and videos but he explains that this was just a representation of how Japan was the furthest he had ever been from his home in Canada. The Weeknd began to travel more often and this is what inspired him to write his songs. Although he might’ve been portrayed as very insecure and perhaps “shy” because of his rejections towards interviews, his lyrics had a lot to say. When MTV productions asked about his reasons on writing Kiss Land he said, “The album is about what young men think but will never say out loud,” meaning he had no boundaries within his music. He continued to write this way and eventually came out with a new single “Often” on July 31, 2014. He had more singles out in 2015 like “The Hills” which was on the Billboard Hot 100 ranked at number 20 and “Can’t Feel My Face” which made it to number 24.
On August 28, 2015, The Weeknd came out with his second official studio album “Beauty Behind The Madness” which instantly became a big hit. It was ranked number one on the Billboard 200 with all the streams and copies he had sold. When talking about his new album and its success, he said, in an interview with Pitchfork, “It’s going to be fun, and I’m going to use this opportunity to make great music because I know the whole world’s listening. It inspires me. Now that I know people are expecting and anticipating great music, I’m going to make great music.” His style had evolved over the years but his XO fans always seems to accept and grow with him as well. The Weeknd then announced “The Madness” Fall Tour in 2015 where he would be performing in 20 cities in the U.S.
His third studio album or fourth chapter as he calls it, has reached more streams on Spotify than any other album. The R&B pop star has been inspired by artists like Michael Jackson, Prince and The Smiths. There are still more records that are predicted to be broke by the successful “Starboy” who will also be going on the “Starboy: Legend of the Fall World Tour” in 2017 where he will be performing in cities like Phoenix, Los Angeles and even those outside of the U.S. like Stockholm, Manchester and Toronto.
Claire Lobenfeld | July 15, 2013 – 5:12 Pm. “Read The Weeknd’s First-Ever Interview.” Stereogum. SpinMedia, 15 July 2013. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
Mistry, Anupa. “The Dark Knight Returns: A Conversation With the Weeknd.” The Dark Knight Returns: A Conversation With the Weeknd | Pitchfork. PitchFork, 31 Aug. 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.
The Weeknd Set for Big No. 1 Debut on Billboard 200 Albums Chart”. Billboard. August 31, 2015. Web. 01 Dec. 2016.