Abel Tesfaye is the Weeknd

Adam will appreciate this post.

 

The Weeknd

weekndonrollingstone1I’m certainly not the biggest Weeknd fan but I’m smart enough to know when others are.  To give you an idea of how big Abel Tesfaye (the Weeknd) has gotten, he is averaging 24 million monthly listens on Spotify.  One Direction has 16 and Katy Perry has 9.   I don’t know who else the kids are listening to these days.

The Weeknd is on the cover of Rolling Stone this issue and I read the entire article and came away with a better understanding of who he is.  He came from rough beginnings and rose to meteoric fame while feeling innocent in the process of super stardom.  An example:

The then-anonymous Tesfaye declined all interviews.  In part, it was because he worried he wasn’t well-spoken enough: a high school dropout, he used to do crossword puzzles to improve his vocabulary, and to this day, he often wishes he were more articulate. ” Me not finishing school – in my head, I still have this insecurity when I”m talking to someone educated,” he says. “I don’t want them looking  at me like this fucking retard – no disrespect.”

 

Sex, Drugs and R&B 

My favorite part of the interview was his interpretation of a good song:

“It’s all about songs for me right now,” he says.  “The production can be cool and crazy -sounding, but that’s just special effects.  If you can’t strip it down and play it on piano, it’s not a good song.”

I also enjoyed reading about the work he put in after feeling like his shows weren’t what they should be

“Coachella was the first show I did in the States, and I hated my performance,” he says.  “I was scared shitless.  I got offstage and thought I did pretty good, then I watched the tape, and it was a nightmare.  I saw all the comments, and I wanted to kill myself.  I remember telling my agent, ‘You need to book me as many shows as possible.  That guy onstage is not a star.  That’s not a legend.'”

So Tesfaye got to work.  He took some dance lessons, trying to build confidence and learn how to perform.  And he played a lot of shows… When it came down to it, Tesfay was driven by fear.

 

In the Night

Max Martin

The song “In the Night”  will be hitting airwaves shortly if it hasn’t already.  He worked with Max Martin (if you don’t know who this is you should learn because he’s basically part of every pop song out) on it.  Martin also co-produced “Can’t feel My Face,” and “Shameless”.  The songs hook is Michael-esque and it’s quite a song.  Give it a listen.