How Did The Weeknd Get Famous?

How did The Weeknd get famous?

The Weeknd, born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, has become one of the most influential and iconic artists of our generation. His rise to fame is a fascinating journey marked by a blend of talent, strategic marketing, and a distinctive musical style. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the various stages of The Weeknd career, exploring the key elements that contributed to his meteoric rise.

Early Life and Musical Beginnings

Abel Tesfaye was born on February 16, 1990, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Raised by his Ethiopian immigrant mother and grandmother, Abel experienced a multicultural upbringing that would later influence his music. From a young age, he was drawn to music, finding solace and expression in the art form. His early influences included iconic artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, and R. Kelly, whose styles can be detected in his work.

The Mystery of The Weeknd’s Initial Releases

In 2010, The Weeknd began his musical career by anonymously uploading songs to YouTube under the name “The Weeknd.” His decision to remain anonymous sparked curiosity and intrigue within the music community. The tracks, characterized by their dark and moody R&B sound, quickly gained attention. This mysterious approach created a buzz and allowed the music to speak for itself, devoid of any preconceived notions about the artist.

Breakthrough with Mixtapes: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence

In 2011, The Weeknd released a trilogy of mixtapes: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence. These mixtapes were made available for free download on his website, a strategic move that helped him build a dedicated fan base. The mixtapes received critical acclaim for their innovative sound, blending elements of R&B, soul, and indie music. The haunting production, coupled with The Weeknd’s unique voice and introspective lyrics, resonated deeply with listeners.

House of Balloons

House of Balloons was the first mixtape released in March 2011. It introduced the world to The Weeknd clothing signature style: atmospheric beats, melancholic melodies, and raw, honest lyrics. Tracks like “Wicked Games” and “High for This” became instant favorites, establishing The Weeknd as a formidable new artist in the music industry.


Released in August 2011, Thursday continued to build on the themes and sounds introduced in House of Balloons. The mixtape featured collaborations with artists like Drake, further expanding The Weeknd’s reach. Songs like “The Birds Part 1” and “The Zone” highlighted his ability to craft immersive musical experiences that explored themes of love, pain, and desire.

Echoes of Silence

Echoes of Silence, the final installment of the trilogy, was released in December 2011. This mixtape solidified The Weeknd’s place in the music world, showcasing his versatility and growth as an artist. Tracks like “D.D.” and “Montreal” displayed his unique ability to reinterpret classic songs and infuse them with his own style.

Collaboration with Drake and Mainstream Recognition

The Weeknd’s collaboration with fellow Canadian artist Drake played a crucial role in his ascent to fame. Drake, already an established star, recognized The Weeknd’s talent and featured him on several tracks from his critically acclaimed album, Take Care (2011). Notable collaborations included “Crew Love” and “The Ride,” which introduced The Weeknd to a broader audience.

This association with Drake not only brought The Weeknd into the mainstream spotlight but also validated his artistry. The exposure and credibility gained from these collaborations were instrumental in elevating his career to new heights.

Signing with Republic Records and Debut Album

In 2012, The Weeknd signed with Republic Records and XO, his own imprint. This partnership marked a significant turning point in his career, providing him with the resources and platform needed to reach a global audience.

Kiss Land

The Weeknd’s debut studio album, Kiss Land, was released in 2013. While the album received mixed reviews from critics, it showcased his evolution as an artist and his willingness to experiment with different sounds. Tracks like “Belong to the World” and “Live For” (featuring Drake) highlighted his ability to blend genres and create immersive musical landscapes.

Commercial Success and Critical Acclaim

The Weeknd’s subsequent albums brought both commercial success and critical acclaim, solidifying his status as a global superstar.

Beauty Behind the Madness

Released in 2015, Beauty Behind the Madness was a game-changer for The Weeknd Merch. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and featured hit singles like “Can’t Feel My Face,” “The Hills,” and “Earned It.” These tracks dominated the charts and showcased The Weeknd’s ability to create mainstream hits without compromising his unique sound.

Beauty Behind the Madness earned him several awards, including two Grammy Awards, and established him as a household name. The album’s success was a testament to his artistic vision and the growing appeal of his music.


In 2016, The Weeknd released Starboy, another chart-topping album that further cemented his place in the music industry. The title track, featuring Daft Punk, became an international hit, and the album received widespread acclaim for its innovative production and introspective lyrics. Tracks like “I Feel It Coming” and “Party Monster” showcased his versatility and ability to continuously evolve as an artist.

After Hours

After Hours, released in 2020, marked yet another milestone in The Weeknd’s career. The album featured the record-breaking single “Blinding Lights,” which became one of the most successful songs of the decade. The song’s retro-inspired sound and captivating music video captured the attention of audiences worldwide. After Hours received critical acclaim for its cohesive narrative and ambitious production, solidifying The Weeknd’s reputation as a visionary artist.

The Weeknd’s Unique Aesthetic and Influence

One of the key factors contributing to The Weeknd’s fame is his distinctive aesthetic. His music videos, performances, and public appearances often feature a dark, enigmatic, and stylish visual style. This consistent and recognizable brand has helped him stand out in a crowded music industry.

Moreover, The Weeknd’s willingness to push boundaries and tackle complex themes in his music has resonated with a diverse audience. His exploration of love, heartbreak, and self-destructive behavior has struck a chord with listeners, making his music relatable and impactful.

Philanthropy and Cultural Impact

Beyond his musical achievements, The Weeknd hoodie has also made significant contributions to philanthropy and social causes. He has donated millions to various organizations and causes, including COVID-19 relief efforts, Black Lives Matter, and Ethiopian humanitarian aid. His philanthropic efforts have further endeared him to fans and highlighted his commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

The Weeknd’s influence extends beyond music. He has collaborated with major brands, appeared in films, and contributed to the soundtracks of popular movies and TV shows. His ability to cross over into different mediums has solidified his status as a cultural icon.

Happy Weekend Classic Hoodie

Is The Weeknd a trained singer?

Yes, The Weeknd is a trained singer, but his journey to vocal excellence is quite unique and largely self-directed. Unlike many artists who undergo formal training, The Weeknd developed his vocal skills through experimentation and practice, drawing inspiration from his musical influences and personal experiences.

Early Influences and Self-Taught Techniques

Growing up, The Weeknd Sweatshirt was heavily influenced by artists such as Michael Jackson, Prince, and R. Kelly. He spent countless hours listening to their music, studying their vocal techniques, and mimicking their styles. This informal training helped him develop a keen ear for pitch, tone, and emotive delivery.

Practice and Experimentation

The Weeknd’s early music career involved a significant amount of trial and error. He experimented with different vocal styles and recording techniques while creating his initial tracks. This period of experimentation was crucial in honing his unique sound, characterized by its haunting, ethereal quality and emotive depth.

Natural Talent and Dedication

One of The Weeknd’s most remarkable attributes is his natural vocal talent. He possesses an impressive vocal range and an innate ability to convey deep emotion through his singing. His dedication to improving his craft, even without formal training, has been evident throughout his career.

Collaborations and Professional Growth

As his career progressed, The Weeknd had the opportunity to collaborate with established artists and producers, such as Drake, Daft Punk, and Max Martin. These collaborations exposed him to new techniques and professional vocal coaching, further refining his skills.

Evolution of Vocal Style

Over the years, The Weeknd store vocal style has evolved. His early work featured a raw, unpolished quality that resonated with listeners for its authenticity. As he gained more experience and exposure, his voice matured, and his control and versatility improved, allowing him to explore a wider range of musical genres and styles.


While The Weeknd may not have undergone traditional vocal training, his journey as a self-taught artist, combined with natural talent and a relentless drive for improvement, has made him one of the most distinctive and captivating vocalists in contemporary music. His unique sound and emotive delivery continue to captivate audiences around the world, proving that formal training is not the only path to vocal excellence.

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