The Weeknd

The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, born February 16, 1990 in Toronto, Canada, is a singer-songwriter and artistic director of Ethiopian origin and Canadian nationality.

Abel Tesfaye grew up in Scarborough, east of Toronto. He learns Amharic (a Semitic language) from his grandmother, who takes care of him while his mother, who raises him alone, is at work. During his youth, Abel Tesfaye was exposed to the musical influences of R&B and pop artists like Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Prince. He dropped out of school at 17, settling with two friends in the Toronto neighborhood of Parkdale and discovered drugs there. He then got his first job in an American Apparel store: it was around this time that he started recording songs.

Tesfaye acknowledged that Michael Jackson’s music allowed him to flourish in a musical career, referring to the words of Dirty Diana as an example. He also said that his vocal style was influenced by habesha singers like Aster Aweke. He grew up listening to a variety of musical genres, including soul, quiet storm, hip hop, funk, indie rock and post-punk.

The Weeknd has won three Grammy Awards, eight Billboard Music Awards, two American Music Awards, nine Juno Awards, one NRJ Music Awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award.

He sold over 75 million records in the United States