Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (Amharic: አቤል ማክኮነን ተስፋዬ; born February 16, 1990), known professionally as the Weeknd (pronounced "weekend"), is a Canadian singer, songwriter and record producer. Born in Toronto and raised in Scarborough, Tesfaye began his recording career in 2009 by anonymously uploading his song "Do It" to YouTube. Two years later, he met music executives Sal Slaiby and Amir Esmailian, with whom he founded XO Records. He chose his stage name in tribute to when he, along with his close friend and creative director, La Mar C. Taylor dropped out of high school at seventeen years old, took his mattress, and "left one weekend and never came home". However, his estranged former producer Jeremy Rose claims the name was his idea. The letter "E" was excluded to avoid trademark problems with Canadian band the Weekend.
Under XO, Tesfaye released his debut mixtapes: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence. He quickly earned a following and critical recognition from several mainstream publications due to his dark style of Contemporary R&B and the mystique surrounding his identity. In 2012, he signed with Republic Records and re-released the mixtapes in the compilation album, Trilogy. His debut studio album, Kiss Land, was released in 2013. His sophomore album, Beauty Behind the Madness (2015), with the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills", won Best Urban Contemporary Album and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards. It was among the best-selling albums of 2015.
Tesfaye's third album Starboy (2016) was a similar commercial success and included the number-one single of the same name, and also won Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards. His fourth album, After Hours (2020), featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Heartless", "Save Your Tears", and "Blinding Lights", the latter of which has become the first song in history to spend over a year in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, and was the most streamed song on Spotify in 2020.
Among the world's best selling musical artists with over 75 million records sold and on the list of most-streamed artists on Spotify, Tesfaye has won many accolades, including three Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, nineteen Billboard Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, fifteen Juno Awards, five SOCAN awards and one Brit Award, and has been nominated for an Academy Award. He holds several chart records, being the first artist to simultaneously hold the top three positions on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart with "Can't Feel My Face", "Earned It", and "The Hills". In February 2015, he was awarded the Allan Slaight Award by Canada's Walk of Fame. In 2017, he was featured on the cover of Forbes for his annual earnings of $92 million.Elton John listed him as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 in Time. Tesfaye has a notable voice with a soaring falsetto and its singular tremolo. He has influenced artists in many contemporary music styles including pop,hip hop, and R&B.
Last Updated: August 18, 2021