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In the hindsight, it wasn’t easy for him – Abel Makkonen Tesfaye or The Weeknd had to earn his stripes to be where he is today. His father had left the family and his mother had to work really hard to make ends meet. Life was tough and he got it going with a rough crowd during his teenage years. He learned that nothing in life comes easy.
He was always into music. The Weeknd used to listen to all types of genres and that did help him when he turned professional. There was however one more obstacle to overcome and that came in the form of insecurity. Tesfaye was not really comfortable with performing live and he admitted to that in an interview with The Guardian:
“I was very insecure about my voice.”
But like every other impediment, he overcame this as well to become one of the fastest rising names in music. The incredible number of The Weeknd tickets that sell every time he performs is a testament to that.
Early Life and Influences
The Weeknd listened to all sorts of music but there were three names that always stood out for him. Those were R. Kelly, Prince and Michael Jackson. The late Michael Jackson and the kind of music he made is what encouraged Tesfaye to become a musician. Not a bad role model to have as a musician!
Abel Tesfaye was born on February 16, 1990, in the city of Toronto. His parents were both Ethiopian immigrants who had come to Canada in the last part of the 1980s. His father deserted the family when Tesfaye was just a few years old and the responsibility of looking after the kid fell on the shoulders of his maternal grandmother. Tesfaye’s mom spent most of her time out of the home, working multiple jobs to financially support her family.
The Weeknd was growing up with a rough crowd and he found himself falling in trouble. He dropped out of school and ran away for the weekend, vowing never to return back. The Weeknd also had a few run-ins with the law and he was eighteen when he realized that his life had gone off the rails and something had to be done about it. That was a pivotal moment in his life and he recalls that in these words:
“A lot of people don’t get that second chance. But around that age, you usually get one second chance after a slap on the wrist. And you either take the experience and think, ‘This is it, final straw’, or you don’t. And the next move after that? It’s your entire life. You become who you become because of the next move you make.”
Breakthrough and Recognition
He moved out of the apartment he was living in and began to work odd jobs. At the same time, he started to write songs simply because he was insecure about his voice. Eventually he overcame that and began to lend his voice to what he was penning down.
In 2010, The Weeknd met Jeremy Rose and the two of them worked on a few tracks. Three of those, “The Morning,” “Loft Music” and “What You Need” were uploaded on YouTube and garnered some attention. March 21, 2011 was the day when he came out with his critically acclaimed first mixtape “House of Balloons.”
The Weeknd hit the road for a tour across Toronto and performed the first show at the Mod Club. As luck would have it, Drake was in attendance and he offered The Weeknd an opportunity to work with him. The Weeknd played a part in five tracks on Drake’s next Grammy winning album “Take Care.” His next two mixtapes “Thursday” and “Echoes of Silence” both received a lot of critical acclaim.
The Weeknd signed a recording contract with Republic Records in 2012 and released “Trilogy”, a compilation record consisting of tracks from his three mixtapes. The album went to the number four spot on the US Billboard 200 and to number five on the Canadian Albums Chart. It has since gone platinum in the US.
Notable Work and Album Releases
The Weeknd then released his first studio album “Kiss Land” on September 10, 2013. The album went to the number second spot on the Billboard 200 on its debut and sold an impressive ninety-five thousand copies in the first week. He then went to join Justin Timberlake on his “20/20 Experience World Tour” for six shows. The Weeknd then hit the road as a headline act for the first time. The road trip was named “King of the Fall Tour” with Jhene Aiko and Schoolboy Q as the supporting acts.
His next album “Beauty Behind the Madness” hit the music stores on August 28, 2015 and became a rage almost instantly. Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran and Labrinth all appeared on the record. It topped charts in multiple countries and sold over three million copies in the US alone to go triple platinum. It went a step further to earn quadruple platinum status in Canada. Beauty Behind the Madness also won an American Music Award and a Grammy to put The Weeknd on the map.
The name of The Weeknd’s next album was “Starboy” and it came out on November 25, 2016. But before that, he released the title track from the album that topped charts in multiple countries. The album went straight to the top spot of the US Billboard 200 and the Canadian Albums Chart. Starboy earned double platinum certification from RIAA and went triple platinum in Canada. It also went platinum in France, Norway, Sweden and Austria.
The Weeknd has also won two American Music Awards, eight Billboard Music Awards, two Grammy Awards and ten Juno Awards. He also holds two Guinness World Records for the “Most Streamed Album on Spotify in One Year” and “Most Consecutive Weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100” by a Solo Male Artist.
The Weeknd Tour Tickets
The superstar is right now on his “Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour” which kicked off on February 17, 2017 with a concert at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm. As of now, the tour is scheduled to conclude on December 14, 2017 and demand for The Weeknd tour tickets is at an all-time high.