The Weeknd is notoriously private. Considering the career path he's chosen, it's a bit of an odd character trait to have. His fans know very few details about his personal life since he arrived on the scene five years ago. But that's what adds to his mystique. The more you don't know fuels the fact that you want to know more about him.
Since 2011, the singer-songwriter has been on a roll. In that year alone, the Weeknd dropped three mixtapes -- House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence -- showcasing his sharp falsetto, lyrics replete with all-sex everything and unconventional R&B. "Wicked Games" is a prime example of that. He has one album under his belt, Kiss Land, and a new one, Beauty Behind the Madness, on the way Aug. 28.
Then there's the work he put in on Drake's 2011 LP, Take Care. The two may not work as closely as they once did, but Drizzy's co-sign certainly upped his cool factor. Now he's selling out his own tours, has more than a few songs we're sure are in your playlist (“Often,” “Earned It,” “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel My Face”) and gracing the stage at awards shows -- he'll perform next at the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 30.
Abel Tesfaye has certainly been busy without providing fans with too big of a window to peer into his life. He lets his music speak for itself. So yes, these facts have been tough to come by, but you have to respect an artist for leaving his music at the forefront, even as people clamor for personal details. Take a look at 25 Facts You Probably Didn't Know About The Weeknd.
Notoriously wary of the media, he said that the root of his hesitation to do interviews is based on the fact that he believes he's "the most boring person to talk to" during a 2012 interview with Complex.
When he first entered the music industry, he was so insecure that he would ask to be cropped out of photos.
Drake's "Crew Love," "Shot For Me" and "The Ride" were all meant to be on the Weeknd's 'House of Balloons' mixtape.
The Toronto native was actually in the middle of working on "The Ride" when Drizzy heard it and had to have the song. During a very smoked-out studio session, the rapper showed up. "It was terrible how much weed smoke was in that room. I was surprised I could even hit a note. I had sung this melody-- it wasn’t a hook, just an unfinished lyric. And he liked it so much, he was like, 'I need to have this, man.... I know I’ve already taken ‘Shot for Me’ and ‘Crew Love’ and this and that.' And me, I was hungry at that time. I was like, 'Dude, take anything,'" he told Complex.
The singer has admitted to not knowing all of his own lyrics and relies on a "songwriter language" in the booth, which sometimes ends up with him singing gibberish for almost 45 minutes straight. "There are lyrics on 'Thursday' [mixtape], I don’t even know what the f--- I said," he told Complex.
Tesfaye never left his Toronto hometown until he hit the age of 21.
Prince's influence on the Weeknd is clear but he's a huge fan of R. Kelly too.
"Crew Love" originally had a second verse that the singer freestyled. Unfortunately, the "hate" he has for that verse is real.
The 'Beauty Behind the Madness' creator is of Ethiopian descent and speaks his parents' native tongue -- Amharic -- fluently. It was his first language.
His stage name was actually supposed to be the name of his breakout project 'House of Balloons.'
Kendrick Lamar is a fan of his work. In 2011, K. Dot told Stolen From Africa that he'd love to work with the "Rolling Stone" singer. Nothing has come of it yet but we'll definitely be checking for that track.
The Weeknd has a friend in Wiz Khalifa. In 2013, Khalifa told Droz Daily Steezin that Tesfaye always inspires him. "He's just very creative and forward thinking. Abel's my man."
Most people in hip-hop seem to love this guy. Juicy J considers the Weeknd to be his "little brother." "We just vibe man," he told The Come Up Show in 2012.
Sometimes we get the feeling that the Weeknd is a little overwhelmed by his success. In the MTV documentary 'Road to Release' he said, "Seeing so many different parts of the planet in such a short period of time is hard to digest. It's makes me wonder sometimes how one person can endure so much information at once."
Japan had a major impact on his artistic approach. The Weeknd says his visit there molded the concept for 'Kiss Land.'
Unfortunately, his father hasn't been in the picture for much of his life. The two haven’t spoken since the Weeknd was a boy.
In his most recent interview with GQ, the Weeknd enjoys the fact that some people think his music is "too creepy." "How much is too much? Some people love PG horror movies and some people love R-rated horror movies," the 25-year-old shared.
He also revealed that Ed Sheeran visited his crib recently and the British crooner and Waka Flocka Flame ended up having a rap battle in his kitchen.
"In the Night," a new song, was inspired by an American icon -- in the most unprecedented way. "Max [Martin, producer]’s studio used to be Marilyn Monroe’s old house and I came up with the concept for a song called 'In the Night' in her bedroom. That was pretty amazing. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but imagine Joe DiMaggio's sperm everywhere on the floor."
At the age of 17, he dropped out of high school and persuaded his best friend, La Mar Taylor, to join him. In an interview with The New York Times magazine, he says he moved into a one-bedroom with Taylor and another friend and got high at night on many occassions. MDMA, Xanax, cocaine, mushrooms and ketamine were their drugs of choice.
Not only is Tesfaye stepping out of his element by interviewing these days but he's also taken up a little modeling -- only for his close friend Kanye West of course. He appears in the rapper's new Adidas collection in the September issue of GQ. "I really felt like he targeted someone like me. The camo, the army look, the black boots, the nonchalant kind of vagrant look. I relate to it. It relates to my story. Kanye is such a great friend of mine as well, when he asked me I couldn’t say no. It was the least I could do."
"The Hills" singer hopes to be as influential as Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson for the youth of today. "These kids, you know, they don’t have a Michael Jackson,’’ he told The New York Times. ‘‘They don’t have a Prince. They don’t have a Whitney. Who else is there? Who else can really do it at this point?"
"The Morning,’’ ‘‘What You Need’’ and ‘‘Loft Music’’ are the first songs the world got to hear from him when they were uploaded to YouTube in 2010.
Before concerts, Tesfaye gets his energy right by blasting Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall."
The Weeknd is rumored to be dating model Bella Hadid but is hesitant about the "L" word. "Probably my and my manager’s biggest fear is if this kid falls in love, we’re done, we’re finished," he admits.
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