THE RISE OF THE ARTIST OF THE MOMENT, FROM TORONTO’S SUBURBS TO THE WORLDWIDE CHARTS.
The Weeknd is undoubtedly the artist of the moment. Born in 1990 in the suburbs of Toronto from Ethiopian parents, Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (his real name) is now climbing the charts.
After a serene childhood with his grandmother who taught him Aramaic – the language that Abel speaks fluent as is evident from the last verse of his hit The Hills – the Toronto boy rebels: at 11 years old he starts smoking marijuana, then switches to hard drugs, as he sings in his lyrics, and as he himself said in an interview with The Guardian: “The drugs were a support for me. There were songs of my first record that were seven minutes long, totally disconnected. They represented every thought I had when I was under their effect. “
Sex and drugs are a constant for the singer with angelic voice: in fact, his record label is called XO, a term that in American slang means “hugs and kisses”, but in this case rather seems to refer to ecstasy and oxycodone, substances of which the Weeknd has abused in the past.
After leaving Toronto, the young singer began his rise: under the protection of Drake, he made himself a name in the R&B scene thanks to his Trilogy. His big break came short after: 2015 is definitely the year of the change, when he released his second album Beauty behind madness and the single I can’t feel my face (another reference to cocaine) became a worldwide hit.
On November 25th, 2016 The Weeknd released his most mature album, Starboy, whose title is a clear homage to David Bowie, one of Tesfaye’s reference artists. In just one week, the album – which features collaborations of Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey and Kendrick Lamar – has sold nearly 350,000 copies.
The day before, the short movie M A N I A was presented: this is a real gift for all the fans of the singer, but not only. The intriguing storyline is accompanied by six tracks of the new album (All I Know, Sidewalks, Secrets, Die For You, Party Monster and I Feel It Coming) and it narrates a dark scenario that does not obscure the talent of the Canadian artist. About a month ago, in Glasgow, he performed at his concert, the twelfth date of the Legend of the Fall Tour.
The show – which lasted about two hours – opened on a space set design, consisting of a kind of spaceship that went down toward the audience, before recovering slowly. Exactly as we expected, The Weeknd entertained about 13,000 spectators, thanks to his superb voice and an incredible stage presence.
Moreover, the same day, it was released the video of his latest single, I feel It Coming (featuring Daft Punk): this time, we are in space and between electromagnetic storms a romantic and explicit text, with whom The Weeknd captures the listener once again, echoes.
Text by Cinzia Maiello