The Weeknd, born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is a leading voice in R&B and pop since he began his career in 2014. The Canadian singer was introduced into the mainstream with “Earned It” which was featured on the Fifty Shades of Grey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The record “earned” him his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
In his discovery phase, The Weeknd credits fellow Canadian artist Drake for introducing him to the music world.
“Drake will always be like a big brother to me,” the singer told The Wall Street Journal back in 2016. “He always showed love and kind of showed the world what I could do.”
The Weeknd first collaborated with Drake on his 2011 album Take Care: “Shot for Me,” “Crew Love,” “Cameras / Good Ones Go Interlude,” “Practice” and “The Ride.”
“He’s like a writer, collaborator on four songs on my album, which I’m very proud of,” said Drake of The Weeknd in an interview with MTV News about Take Care. “I usually don’t branch out writing-wise working with other people. I usually like to write all my own stuff, but we get it. We try to tap into the same emotions because we’re from the same city.”
Since The Weeknd’s emergence, he has released five studio albums, and earned four Grammys (although he boycotted of the awards show since 2021 due to its lack of awarding Black artistry).
In recent years he was the headliner for the 2021 Super Bowl where he performed several of his greatest hits.
The Weeknd’s artistry goes beyond the music. He recently co-created HBO’s The Idol which starred Lily-Rose Depp as an aspiring popstar and her relationship with his character Tedros. While the series received criticism for its “uncomfortable” scenes, the singer said he intended to make onlookers feel uneasy.
“With this show, we love to play with the emotions,” he told GQ.” “We’re puppet-mastering your feelings through the show.”
Take a look at The Weeknd’s 10 best songs ranked: