Artist’s Spotlight: The Weeknd

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Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd, is a Canada singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Tesfaye’s musical beginnings began in 2010 after meeting with producer Jeremy Rose. During this meeting Rose played one of his instrumentals for Tesfaye, who freestyle rapped over it. This led to the two collaborating on an album. Rose produced three songs, “What You Need”, “Loft Music”, and “The Morning”. In December 2010, Tesfaye uploaded the tracks to YouTube. The songs drew some attention online, and were later included in a blog post from Drake. The tracks also received coverage from various media outlets including Pitchfork and The New York Times.

On March 21, 2011, Tesfaye self-released his debut mixtape ‘House of Balloons’. The mixtape included production from Canadian producers Illangelo and Doc McKinney, and included the tracks produced by Rose, although he did not receive production credits. In April 2012, Tesfaye began his first tour of the United States with a performance at the Coachella Festival. In September 2012, Tesfaye signed with Republic Records in a joint venture with his own imprint XO. His compilation album, ‘Trilogy’, was dropped two months later.

The Weeknd’s second studio album, ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’, was released  in August 2015, featured guest appearances from Labrinth, Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey, and included production by The Weeknd, Kanye West, Stephan Mocci, and others. His third album ‘Starboy’ was sequentially released in 2016 and included the Billboard Top 10 single “Starboy”.

Over his career span, Tesfaye has released a string of mixtapes and albums. He has also topped the Billboard Charts multiple times in several countries on multiple occasions.

The Weeknd’s music is available on all streaming platforms.

Laura Reed is a Senior Mass Communications major from Sardis, Mississippi. She will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle for the 2020-2021 academic year.

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