- 12:01 PM, Jun 22
The Weeknd was dubbed the songbird of his generation. He rose above other fellow newcomers with his rich expertise in music. Born Abel Tesfaye in Scarborough, Ontario on February 16, 1990, he grew up listening to a variety of music genres, including soul, quiet storm, hip hop, funk, indie rock, and post-punk.
He dropped out of high school at 17 and "left one weekend and never came home" with some of his friends. It was where his moniker came out. It was supposed to be The Weekend but got altered to avoid copyright issue with a Canadian band of the same name.
Tesfaye worked on his music independently and performed from clubs to clubs, on the street and online until he finally got coverage from Rolling Stone, New York Times and other big publications. His fans grew ever since and he dropped his first mixtape "The House of Balloons" in 2011 to a critical acclaim.
Loaded with songs he crafted over the years, he dropped two more street albums "Thursday" and "Echoes of Silence" for free in the same year. Both received glowing reviews from critics. With his three mixtapes, he developed an enigmatic shadowy persona that set him apart from his competitors.
2012 became a bigger year for him. He landed a spot at Coachella Music Festival in 2012, and a record deal with Republic soon followed. A compilation album "Trilogy" featuring songs from his mixtapes and some new songs were released later in a joint venture with his own imprint label XO.
But his first official debut didn't come out until 2013. "Kiss Land", featuring sole guest Drake, entered Billboard Hot 200 at No. 2 and topped R7B/Hip-Hop Albums. It received positive reviews from music critics and spawned three singles; the title track, "Belong to the World" and Drake-assisted "Live For".
"Kiss Land symbolizes the tour life, but it's a world that I created in my head. Just like House of Balloons symbolizes Toronto and my experiences there, but it's a world that I created. When I think about Kiss Land, I think about a terrifying place. It's a place I've never been to before that I'm very unfamiliar with," he said.
"A lot of it is inspired by filmmakers like John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and Ridley Scott, because they know how to capture fear. That's what Kiss Land is to me, an environment that's just honest fear.