“I’m not bad, it’s just my character” | Vanity Fair Italy

“I discovered that I could sing,” Tesfaye says, “and I said to myself, ‘Oh, maybe this is what I need.’

As hazy as they were, the early mixtapes were perfectly packaged. Taylor said Tesfaye showed foresight from the very beginning of their relationship. “We visited the city center a lot,” he said, “and at a certain point we realized that we wanted to stay there.” Taylor remembers that he was still a few credits shy of graduating when Tesfaye told him, “Come on, let’s just leave.”

They surrounded themselves skateboarders AND writer graffiti and continued to experiment with drugseventually moving into the house, he will be immortalized as House of Balloons. “All the words Abel said in those songs,” Taylor said, “were the backdrop of our lives.”

At this moment any idea pop fame that would be far-fetched. I asked Taylor if he had a theory to explain the success Tesfaye’s music has achieved. “The whole universe that The Weeknd built was something that a lot of people went through, consciously or unconsciously,” he said. “There medicine, sex, end of a relationshipThis broken heart, suffering after refusal, fall out of love…all those things that people experience day in and day out.”

Cloth, Gabriela Hurst. Shoes, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello..

Photography by Mark Seliger; Style by Matthew Henson.

HOURor always thought that if someone much more famous than me sang these songs,” Tesfaye said, sitting on the couch, “they would be at the top of the charts.” In 2014, he began testing this theory by working with a Swedish super-producer. Max Martinauthor of great hits with Britney Spears and Katy Perry, who, while maintaining controversial subject matter, reconfigured the narrative and focused on new celebrity concept (on the verge of something parody) works in the space previously occupied by Marilyn Monroe. (Martin used Frank Sinatra’s old mansion as a recording studio). The ruse ended in nothing. “Will The Weeknd biggest pop star in the world? asked for biographical profile in 2015 New York Times Magazine. The problem resolved itself. The beauty behind the madness, the first album released with Martin that same year, “was my answer to people who said he couldn’t do it,” Tesfaye said. Although he has lost some of the reserve and mystery that fueled his original charm, he has found ways to go further, replacing the complex, pessimistic concept of hurtful sex with brilliant metaphors for the absence of love. This softened version from moral decline from The Weeknd in his early days, to 2023 being a TikTok trend host, press officer for grocery stores and corporate cafeterias.

“In the beginning my music was very niche” Tesfaye said. “And then it eventually spread to Main threadeventually becoming mainstream.”

After playing with anonymityin the second version, The Weeknd deviated from it show. TO Super Bowl, in front of nearly 100 million viewers, wore the same red jacket he had worn throughout the promotional tour that preceded him, sometimes with stage wounds and bandages to more literally convey his bloody glee. Although there is more sophistication and calm now, he often works in the same style after hours. “I love them dark stories, be it Greek mythology, Shakespearean tragedies or a damn Park Chan-wook movie,” Tesfaye said. “I like the way I feel. It makes me react.”

Considering these interests, 80s music continues to fascinate him. “He hid what he was saying with all these beautiful melodies,” Tesfaye said, recalling a line uttered by his character Tedros in the film’s trailer. Idol: “Pop music is the latest Trojan horse.”

Not all Tesfaye’s songs are pure nihilistic. Eat dance (Die for you2016 song that recently – and unexpectedly – reached number one on the charts after gaining popularity on TikTok and Tesfaye releasing a remix with Ariana Grande), as well as the periodic “States of the Union”, songs in which point to your parable. In 2016 he published Reminderperhaps his mission statement more significant. Last year, he cemented his place in pop music with his first chart-topping hit (the ecstatic song I can’t feel my faceNickelodeon-approved), which he’s now politely explained in his melodic voice: “I just won a new award for a kids show / Talking about a face that’s numb from the blow / I’m like, damn. Bitch, I’m not a teenager’s choice.”

Caesar, Tesfaye’s Doberman, became agitated and began dozing off while we talked after his owner calmed him with a chew toy. “Everyone says: “Fuck, you’re even real.” amazing, You know?” – Tesfaye told me. “And it makes me feel good.” From time to time he made an attempt to make some distinction between man and character, although for the most part this was not necessary. Determining Interpretation bad “a responsibility I have to take,” he almost never took on the role of a celebrity. It’s not really dark: his relationships develop like tabloid sagas, his texts havealarming intensity, his latest album included recordings by Jim Carrey and Quincy Jones. But it remained somehow illegible, if not completely inexpressive. Pop has become so pure to be impenetrable.

Tesfaye owes his success not to accessibility, but to autonomous world his creation, which, despite remaining isolated, became larger and larger. “No one sings or dances better than Beyoncé“, he said. “There are a lot of not-so-famous musicians who can definitely sing and dance better than me. But they can’t do what I do in The Weeknd.”

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