The Weeknd vs. Abel Tesfaye
August 2, 2021 9:28 AM   Subscribe

With an instantly recognizable voice and songs that have been streamed several billion times, The Weeknd is one of the most ubiquitous pop stars in the world. But where does Abel Tesfaye end and his dark, grimy public persona begin? Mark Anthony Green finally gets the artist to explain. [GQ]
posted by ellieBOA (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Zero questions about U of T Scarborough. Disappointing.
posted by GuyZero at 9:46 AM on August 2 [5 favorites]


I've heard he can be kinda douchey IRL, but I've always had a soft spot for him because he's a fellow Toronto immigrant kid who went off and became a sexy vampire pop star instead of becoming, like, an accountant.

Also his first three mixtapes still slap
posted by airmail at 10:01 AM on August 2 [7 favorites]


I’m a fan of his because of his gift of money to the UofT for the study of Ge’ez.
posted by tftio at 10:06 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Also his first three mixtapes still slap

As creepy as his whole vibe is there (hopefully an artistic choice) - yeah.
posted by atoxyl at 10:09 AM on August 2


That was a great interview. I'm happy to have been introduced to the human.
posted by djeo at 10:19 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Responses from the article:

Also his first three mixtapes still slap.

As creepy as his whole vibe is there (hopefully an artistic choice) - yeah.


It’s clear that the rumors are true: Abel and The Weeknd are two very different beings.

I've heard he can be kinda douchey IRL

He exudes a type of politeness found only in the world capital of politeness (Ontario, Canada).
posted by ellieBOA at 10:30 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


It’s clear that the rumors are true: Abel and The Weeknd are two very different beings.

Certainly it’s clear that he doesn’t want to live as that guy, now, and it makes me feel a little weird that I still like his music the best when he is doing the character. But I guess that’s me, too (the drug problem turned sober-lite, not so much the formerly menacing sexual aura). Obviously an incredibly talented singer even in full-on pop mode, though.
posted by atoxyl at 10:56 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Not that I ever believed - you know, I don’t think Future really still takes all those pills, either...
posted by atoxyl at 10:59 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


M.A.G. is easily the most famous person in my high school class and it's so fun when he pops up in the wild.
posted by dismas at 11:34 AM on August 2 [1 favorite]


Zero questions about U of T Scarborough. Disappointing.

Curious as to what I'm missing. I don't know his music and don't follow him, but I thought the interview was an interesting meditation on projected vs "real" media personas. A quick google search didn't turn up anything problematic but maybe I don't know what to look for
posted by treepour at 12:06 PM on August 2


It was a joke, I'm pretty sure.
posted by sagc at 12:08 PM on August 2 [2 favorites]


You’ll never submit your music to the Grammys?
No. I mean, I have no interest. Everyone’s like, “No, just do better next time.” I will do better, but not for you. I’m going to do better for me.


That's a strong thing to say. I hope he lives up to it.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:25 PM on August 2 [5 favorites]


I knew essentially noting about The Weeknd and barely any of his music but that was great- thanks for posting. If only for the Jim Carrey / telescope anecdote.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:06 AM on August 3 [1 favorite]


I don't really listen to The Weeknd because of this entire story of how The Weeknd started as a project with Tesfaye and the producer who created the original sound, and then the story gets really gnarly from there, because the original producer didn't receive any money or credit for designing the concept or the songs. Considering Tesfaye's still coasting on it, I'm not into it. More information
posted by yueliang at 3:19 AM on August 3


the story gets really gnarly from there, because the original producer didn't receive any money or credit for designing the concept or the songs

A lotta stories like that in music, unfortunately. I was aware of this one but it’s hard to own the concept of the persona. I was never sure exactly what the deal was with ownership of the songs - several of the ones that Rose claims to have produced are on the first tape, credited to Illangelo and Doc McKinney (who have stuck with The Weeknd since). I know he’s acknowledged that “The Morning” was remade by the new producers but I don’t know if he’s supposed to have a legal claim to the others?

(Also apparently “Wicked Game” is so-called because the fragmentary Rose version originally had a sample of the Chris Isaak song. Which answers a long-running question!)
posted by atoxyl at 9:34 AM on August 3


Curious as to what I'm missing.

If you are from Toronto the only thing interesting about The Weeknd is that he's from Toronto. Toronto is the biggest one-horse town in the world.
posted by GuyZero at 10:27 AM on August 3 [2 favorites]


If you are from Toronto the only thing interesting about The Weeknd is that he's from Toronto. Toronto is the biggest one-horse town in the world.
–––

You need someone to tell you how to feel
And you think your happiness is real
There's so much more the world has to reveal
But you choose to be concealed
So you're somebody now
But what's a somebody in a nobody town?
I don't think you even know it

posted by pmv at 12:14 PM on August 3


Regarding the Jeremy Rose thing, this is supposedly the original version of “The Morning.” Very different from the House of Balloons version - would be hard to say that version was stolen. Not sure about the others but Wikipedia has Rose credited on “What You Need” and “Loft Music” so I think maybe he did eventually get formal credit on those?
posted by atoxyl at 3:10 PM on August 3


okay yeah Rose got his credit on the package rerelease

Those two songs plus “The Party” are the ones where they mostly used the original production. The others were ultimately produced by Illangelo and McKinney, even if the songs were started with Rose.
posted by atoxyl at 3:22 PM on August 3


Toronto is the biggest one-horse town in the world.

Drake: Nay!
posted by Apocryphon at 3:48 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Very useful updates on that, thank you folks - didn't see anything like that when I was searching for counter evidence!
posted by yueliang at 12:04 AM on August 4


Toronto is the biggest one-horse town in the world.

Keanu: Whoa!
posted by From Bklyn at 6:04 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


Very useful updates on that, thank you folks - didn't see anything like that when I was searching for counter evidence!

I think it’s true that Rose did originally get ripped off/not credited for several songs on the first tape. I’m interested in this controversy because the original tapes (mainly the first) really blew me away when they were newish. I eventually found the original original versions of “What You Need” and “Loft Music” on a blog and they are very close to the “House of Balloons” versions. Just slightly different intros and use of samples. But it seems that everybody may have come to some agreement for credit eventually.
posted by atoxyl at 9:50 AM on August 4


I actually really liked this article.

Many people are "kinda douchey" irl. Human emotional complexity, maybe.
posted by firstdaffodils at 11:06 AM on August 4 [2 favorites]


As a follow up:

See photo for what looks like authentic happiness.
posted by firstdaffodils at 4:49 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


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