Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (born February 16, 1990 in Scarborough, Ontario), popularly known as The Weeknd, is an R&B/pop/hip-hop singer-songwriter and record producer from Toronto, Canada. He has been referred to as the songbird of his generation and the best musical talent since Michael Jackson throughout his career.
The Weeknd gained widespread critical acclaim for his three mixtapes, House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence, which he later compiled to make a remastered, three-disc album titled Trilogy after signing his record deal with Republic. In 2013, he released Kiss Land, which was considered to be his debut studio album.
In 2014, he dropped “Often,” a remix of Beyonce’s “Drunk In Love,” and “King of the Fall.” The Weeknd released two songs in collaboration with the film Fifty Shades of Grey, with “Earned It” becoming his solo breakout hit.
His second studio album became highly-anticipated, with riveting singles like “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face” leaving fans hungry for more. Beauty Behind the Madness was released on August 28, 2015.
His third studio album, Starboy, was released on November 25, 2016. The Daft Punk-assisted title track led the project as its first official single, released on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, before becoming his third number one track in the United States, as also his home country, Canada.
The effort was a commercial success, topping the Billboard 200 albums chart with over 348,000 copies sold in its first week, all eighteen tracks debuting on the Billboard Hot 100, receiving a GRAMMY Award for the Best Urban Contemporary Album category at the 60th annual ceremony, overall for the second time in his music career and being ranked as the third most popular album of 2017 in the U.S.
His follow-up EP, My Dear Melancholy,, released on March 30, 2018 includes themes revolving around his breakups with Bella Hadid during summer of 2016 and Selena Gomez in October 2017, respectively. With the lead single, “Call Out My Name”, the Canadian singer earned the largest first-day Spotify stream count of any song released in 2018 at that time and his eighth Top 10 entry on Hot 100.
Tesfaye’s fourth studio album (and his first in three years), After Hours was officially released on March 20, 2020, and is named after a 1985 movie directed by his idol, Martin Scorsese. It was primarily supported by November 2019-released singles “Heartless” and “Blinding Lights,” with the pair becoming his fourth and fifth #1 singles in the US and the latter his first #1 single in the UK. The successful promotional title track and “In Your Eyes” were also released as singles. A remix of “Save Your Tears” with Ariana Grande gave After Hours three US #1 singles in three years.
On February 5, 2021, Tesfaye released the greatest hits album The Highlights. This is his second compilation album since Trilogy. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 and became his highest charting compilation album. The Highlights was released two days before his performance on the Super Bowl LV half time show.
Tesfaye followed up After Hours with Dawn FM, released on January 7, 2022. Preceded by the single “Take My Breath”, the album imagines itself as the radio station on the highway between death and the after-life. Dawn FM peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 in 11 countries. His worldwide After Hours ‘Til Dawn tour commenced on July 14 that year.
On February 24, 2023, Tesfaye released a remix of his 2016 track “Die for You” with Ariana Grande after the song gained popularity on TikTok. The remix became the seventh #1 single for both artists on the Billboard Hot 100.
Tesfaye co-created and starred in The Idol, a 2023 TV series about a female pop star who meets a cult-like figure. Although the show received negative reviews, songs from its soundtrack, like “Double Fantasy” and “Popular”, found some commercial success.