By: Keyshawn Kistoo
Arguably the most famous artist from Toronto is the one and only Weeknd. In case you didn’t know, Abel Tesfaye is his real name and he is born in Scarborough, Ontario (Scarborough ting from time G). The Weeknd’s career is just another demonstration that dropping out of high school can bring you success. He was enrolled at Wexford Collegiate which is one of the art schools located in Scarborough by Pharmacy and Lawrence where most of the students achieve a career as a street pharmacist. He got his name because he went out one “weekend” and never came back home and his artist name got changed to avoid copyright with a Canadian band already named “The Weekend”. The Weeknd spent most of the 2010 year writing and producing his own music and performing at various clubs throughout the GTA. Kanye West said “The Weeknd is one of my favourite artists today”. Furthermore, his musical inspirations include: Michael Jackson, R. Kelly and Prince.
Rise to Fame
The Weeknd produced three songs from his earlier work “What You Need”, “Loft Music” and “The Morning” and was discovered by Drake and OVO Sound. Between 2010-2012, The Weeknd released three mixtapes “House of Balloons”, “Thursday” and “Echoes of Silence” which contributed to the peak of The Weeknd’s mainstream success. Some of the successful singles on these mixtapes include: “Wicked Games” and “High for This” which all received billboard success within their years. The success the Weeknd gained from these mixtapes lead to him making his debut album titled “Trilogy” which was a combination of all three mixtapes divided into three sections along in addition to some newer songs that he wrote. 2012 was a great year for him because he got a record deal with Republic Records and was part of the lineup at the Coachella music event.
Higher Level of Success
In 2012, The Weeknd’s success continued to grow internationally, following his second album “Kiss Land” with his only collaboration being with Drake. Some songs off this album that reached high success were “Live for featuring Drake”, “Wanderlust”, “Kiss Land” and “Belong to the World” which elevated his status within the music industry. “Kiss Land symbolizes the tour life, but it’s a world that I created in my head. Just like House of Balloons symbolizes Toronto and my experiences there, but it’s a world that I created. When I think about Kiss Land, I think about a terrifying place. It’s a place I’ve never been to before that I’m very unfamiliar with,” is what he had to say about this album.
The Weeknd’s success grew between 2014-2015 when he came out with his album “Beauty Behind the Madness” which is arguably his best work to date. It had number one singles on this album including “Earned it”, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills”. He also collaborated with acts including Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Ray. After this album was released I would have to say this is the most I listened to the Weeknd since his older material from The Trilogy. Beauty Behind the Madness stayed on the Billboard 200 for three consecutive weeks. As well, he contributed to other artist’s work including: Meek Mill, Travis Scott and Ariana Grande.
The Weeknd is definitely one of my favourite artists today because of his unique styling and is one of the very few artists that have stuck to their musical roots into his success. He maintains his Indie/R&B style through his sounds and is lyrically talent. If you haven’t listened to his new album GO LISTEN NOW! It will definitely win a Grammy this year at the awards. He is the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time).