He's also appeared at the 2020 AMAs bandaged and bloodied and released a short film titled After Hours in which he appeared injured. These mysterious marketing efforts are making fans wonder who the real Weeknd is. Where did the name "Weeknd" even come from?
Why did The Weeknd change his name?
The Weeknd's real name is Abel Tesfaye, and he changed it because he hated his birth name and thought "The Weeknd" would be a cool stage name. He originally wanted to be known as "The Weekend" but took out the "E" because the Canadian band The Weekend already existed. The Weeknd revealed on Reddit, "I hated my name at the time though so I tried it as a stage name. It sounded cool. I took out the 'e' because there was already a Canadian band named the weekend (copyright issues)."
The Reddit AMA was posted seven years ago. The Weeknd also discussed his origins as an artist, sharing that he left home after dropping out of high school in order to pursue his music career. He said, "I left home when I was about 17 dropped out of high school and convinced Lamar to do the same lol. We grabbed our mattresses from our parents threw it in our friends s----y van and left one weekend and never came back home. It was gonna be the title of HOB ['House of Balloons']."
This Reddit AMA is probably the most personal The Weeknd has ever got, although he did recently give an interview with Variety, discussing After Hours. "You could hear the vulnerability in the music before," he tells Variety, in response to his own work, adding, "but there was such a shield, such a f**k-you to the world, and now I’m very comfortable with letting the world know that I can be that way.”
He also discussed his upbringing. Although The Weeknd was born in Canada, his parents are from Ethiopia. “Ethiopian — Amharic — was the first language I learned to form sentences in because my grandma, who raised me with my mom, would not speak English. Because of television and being in Canada, I learned English too, but I went to French-immersion school, where you’d get in trouble for speaking English, and I couldn’t speak it to my grandma, so it’s almost like English is my third language, even though now it’s my first," he shared.
He even dove more deeply into what led him to drop out of school, saying, "It was tough growing up where I was from. I got into a lot of trouble, got kicked out of school, moved to different schools and finally dropped out. I really thought film was gonna be my way out, but I couldn’t really make a movie to feel better, you know? Music was very direct therapy; it was immediate and people liked it. It definitely saved my life.”
Probably a lot of Weeknd fans can say the exact same thing about his music.