These Secrets About The Weeknd Will Give You A Deeper Appreciation For the "Starboy" Singer

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This whitethorn beryllium the play that The Weeknd takes it all.

The singer, existent name Abel Tesfaye, is the most-nominated artist astatine this year's Billboard Music Awards, wherever helium is up for a whopping 17 trophies, including Top Hot 100 Artist, Top Collaboration for his azygous "Save Your Tears" with Ariana Grande and Top R&B Album for his dreamy 5th record Dawn FM. 

Known for his flawless falsetto, despondent lyrics, and slow-grooving backbeats, the 32-year-old from Toronto, Canada, has wowed listeners for implicit a decennary present with a seemingly never-ending drawstring of hits such as, "Wicked Games," "Blinding Lights," "Call Out My Name," "I Can't Feel My Face" and, astir recently, "Out of Time." 

He's performed his ain halftime show astatine the Super Bowl. He's written songs for artists including Kanye West and Lana Del Rey. He has romanced Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez

Now, up of the Billboard Music Awards, it's officially clip for Starboy to radiance erstwhile again.

With 19 Billboard Music Awards already nether his belt, we'll person to hold and spot conscionable however galore much he'll adhd to his already-impressive postulation erstwhile the awards ceremonial airs unrecorded connected NBC from the MGM Grand Garden Arena successful Las Vegas connected May 15 astatine 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST.

Until then, drawback up connected everything determination is to cognize astir the "Save Your Tears" vocalist below.  

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1. Born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, helium initially wanted to usage The Weekend arsenic a signifier name. But an already existent Ontario stone set forced him to marque a flimsy edit.

2. Emigrating from Ethiopia successful the precocious 1980s, his parents Makkonen Tesfaye and Samra Tesfaye landed successful Toronto. Never married, they divided up and helium and his ma shared a tiny flat with his grandma successful the metropolis suburb of Scarborough.

3. As a kid, helium learned Amharic earlier English, inactive speaking it to this day.

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4. He besides remains a immense instrumentality of Ethiopian food: "It's the best, man," helium told Rolling Stone successful 2015. "But it's precise fattening. I deliberation I'm inactive burning disconnected that fat, to beryllium honest. For an Ethiopian mother, if you person a chubby kid, it means you're doing thing good."

5. With his dada not astir ("I saw him vaguely erstwhile I was six, and past again erstwhile I was 11 oregon 12, and helium had a caller household and kids," helium told Rolling Stone), his ma "was moving three, 4 jobs," helium recalled to The Guardian successful 2016. "Single-mother jobs. The mode you spot successful the movies."


6. He, connected the different hand, felt rather lonely, hopeless for a sibling. "But I didn't privation a sister," helium told the outlet, "I wanted a brother."

7. He told Rolling Stone he first approached on-again, off-again emotion Bella Hadid to collaborate: "I really asked her to beryllium connected the artwork for Beauty Behind the Madness," helium said. "My motive was virtually to enactment with her." When she declined, "I was like, 'All right, cool—we tin conscionable up look to face.' It conscionable benignant of fell into my lap."


8. A precocious schoolhouse dropout astatine 17, helium tin callback the infinitesimal helium moved retired arsenic a teen, helium and and champion person La Mar Taylor pulling up to the house, grabbing his mattress and throwing it into a van. His parent changeable him "the worst look anyone could have," helium recalled to The New York Times in a 2015 interview. "She looked astatine maine similar she had failed."

9. To past successful their caller one-bedroom apartment, they and their 3rd friend, Hyghly Alleyne, would shoplift nutrient from a adjacent market store and wage their $850-a-month rent utilizing payment checks and immoderate wealth helium made from selling marijuana. At night, they'd indulge successful MDMA, Xanax, cocaine, mushrooms oregon ketamine. It was overmuch similar the movie Kids "without the AIDs", helium enactment it to the Times, "No rules."


10. Once evicted, helium bed-hopped amongst a rotating radical of women, telling the Times, "There was, like, 3 girls that thought legit that I was their boyfriend."

11. In his Guardian interrogation helium recalled a run-in with constabulary that ended with a fewer nights successful jail. Neglecting to springiness details helium said simply that it was "bad capable for maine to smarten up, to focus." Not everyone gets different opportunity, helium continued, "But astir that age, you usually get 1 2nd accidental aft a slap connected the wrist. And you either instrumentality the acquisition and think, 'This is it, last straw,' oregon you don't. And the adjacent determination aft that? It's your full life. You go who you go due to the fact that of the adjacent determination you make."


12. He got a occupation astatine American Apparel to get by, but penning songs is what fueled him. Though helium had initially intended to just sell his enactment to different artists, Taylor uploaded him singing his archetypal 3 tracks (inspired by their drug-fueled debauchery) to YouTube successful 2010.

13. Without an representation oregon adjacent his existent sanction to travel his work, helium remained genuinely anonymous, telling the Times that his chap shirt-folders at the retailer listened to his euphony without knowing it was him.

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14. Drake's manager, Oliver El-Khatib, helped him summation traction, posting the songs to his OVO blog. By 2011, the instrumentalist himself was featuring The Weeknd connected Take Care. "If it wasn't for the airy helium shined connected me, who knows wherever I'd be," helium told Rolling Stone.

15. His philharmonic influences are precisely arsenic varied arsenic you mightiness imagine. While helium told Vanity Fair in a 2015 interrogation that Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" is "actually the opus that helped maine find my voice," helium besides spent overmuch of his puerility listening to his mom's Ethiopian music. "A batch of bittersweet songs astir heartbreak," helium noted. "Even though I couldn't truly marque retired what they were saying, I could consciousness it."

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16. He had a strategy for his rollout, opening with his archetypal 2010 releases to his U.S. circuit debut astatine 2012's Coachella to his 2013 workplace album, Kiss Land, telling Vanity Fair, "I controlled however celebrated I was getting; I dilatory would uncover much of myself each year. That helped maine header with fame arsenic opposed to it each conscionable falling connected me."

17. Phase 1 saw him avoiding interviews and releasing deliberately obscured photos arsenic helium enactment retired his trilogy of 2011 mix-tapes. Part of his reasoning, helium explained to Vanity Fair, was that "I ever hated however I looked connected camera." But it proved to beryllium a astute move: "I ne'er enactment a look to my music, which really made the euphony that overmuch much mysterious. It benignant of worked successful my favor, and I ran with it arsenic agelong arsenic I could."


18. In his archetypal interview, for a 2013 contented of Complex, helium demurred that he'd avoided specified chats because, "I felt similar I had thing to say. I inactive consciousness I person thing to say. I'm the astir boring idiosyncratic to speech to."

19. Even now, helium told TIME successful 2018, "I deliberation I would puke," if forced to bash a unrecorded TV chat.

20. He does crossword puzzles to summation his vocabulary, but still, helium told Rolling Stone, "Me not finishing school—in my head, I inactive person this insecurity erstwhile I'm talking to idiosyncratic educated."

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21. He was horrified aft watching footage from his 2012 U.S. debut astatine Coachella. "I was frightened s--tless," helium admitted to Rolling Stone. (Also a spot smashed connected Hennessy.) "I got offstage and thought I did beauteous good, past I watched the tape, and it was a nightmare. I saw each the comments, and I wanted to termination myself. I retrieve telling my agent, 'You request to publication maine arsenic galore shows arsenic possible. That feline onstage is not a star. That's not a legend.'"

22. Despite the occurrence of his premix tapes, repackaged into the 2012 compilation album, Trilogy, his archetypal workplace album, 2013's Kiss Land sold conscionable 268,000 copies and produced nary existent vigor hits. "It humbled maine a bit," helium said to Rolling Stone. "I tin beryllium honorable astir it. Nobody wants to enactment retired euphony wherever the reception's not great."

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23. After teaming with mega-producer Max Martin (the antheral down immoderate of Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson and Katy Perry's biggest hits) for his Ariana Grande duet "Love Me Harder," helium rewrote his verse. "It was a large song," helium allowed to Rolling Stone, "but it was a small generic. I couldn't perceive myself connected it. So I changed it and made it dark." Fortunately Martin liked his edits and the 2 joined forces for 2015's Beauty Behind the Madness. His authoritative popular breakthrough, it featured collaborations with Lana Del Rey and Ed Sheeran and went triple platinum.

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24. With "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills" helium joined Elvis Presley, Taylor Swift and The Beatles arsenic the 12th creator to people back-to-back fig 1 tracks.

25. He won his archetypal Grammy for Beauty Behind the Madness close astir the clip helium scored an Oscar motion for "Earned It" disconnected the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. "I deliberation the stars decidedly did align for me," helium told TIME. "Even though we enactment a batch of hard enactment into it, I conscionable consciousness similar it was close place, close time."

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26. Inspired successful portion by creator Jean-Michel Basquiat, helium kept his signature hairstyle for years contempt the cervix symptom and instant recognizability it caused. "If I chopped it, I'd look similar everyone else," helium reasoned to Rolling Stone. When he did yet lop it off in 2016, realizing he'd beryllium capable to assertion immoderate anonymity by hiding nether hats, "I deliberation I felt a azygous teardrop travel down my cheek," helium told The Guardian.

27. Before helium made the large chop, Swift reportedly spent astir 15 minutes petting The Weeknd's locks astatine a post-Grammys party.

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28. Prior to releasing his debut EP My Dear Melancholy successful 2018, "I had a full medium written, done," helium told TIME. "Which wasn't melancholy astatine each due to the fact that it was a antithetic clip successful my life." Penned portion helium was inactive dating Selena Gomez, "It was precise upbeat—it was beautiful." And it volition ne'er spot the airy of day, helium said, due to the fact that "I don't privation to execute thing that I don't feel."

29. Doberman pinschers Caesar and Julius bask matching achromatic doghouses astatine his Calabasas, Calif. spread.

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30. Though helium agelong aspired to stardom, "Never successful a cardinal years," did helium ideate this, helium admitted to Rolling Stone. "I thought I'd beryllium a punk star—grow my hairsbreadth out, acne connected my face, super-f--king-skinny. I was looking astatine artists similar Iggy Pop and the Ramones, oregon Afropunk. But you germinate and recognize your potential. And past it's like, 'F--k yeah. Let's go.'"