Abel Tesfaye, AKA The Weeknd, has the distinction of being the performer to get Kanye West up and dancing at the MTV Video Music Awards, and Kanye’s not the only one moved by the music. Previously a mysterious musician, preferring to keep his identity a secret and release mixtapes online solely as The Weeknd, nevertheless the artist has garnered high praise from tons of music news outlets and a slew of awards shows. Often hailed as the future of R&B, The Weeknd cites Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and Prince as major influences. Building on the “slow-jam,” by sampling from unconventional sources, including plaintive lyrics, and featuring a more digitized and electronic production style, The Weeknd really is expanding on and changing R&B with his music and performance. After having opened for the likes of Justin Timberlake and Drake, The Weeknd has become a must-see headliner in his own right. The Weeknd has already drawn legions of fans to shows, even after such a quick rise to success from unknown mixtape artist online to sold-out headliner. His shows are often accompanied by a disclaimer that they contain “content for mature audiences,” but audiences seem to be responding in full force.
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