Using a stage name is kind of a right of passage for many actors and musicians. Not many celebs are born with a name that matches their inherent star quality. (For example, not many other human beings could so perfectly embody a "Beyoncé Knowles." It just sounds like her.) Since releasing his latest album, Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd has reached superstar status. Yeah, the weekend (in the calendar sense) has always been on our minds, but the 25-year-old's expert choice of stage name adds a whole other dimension to it. So, why did Abel Tesfaye choose The Weeknd as his stage name?
Personally, I think the singer's Ethiopian birth name is really beautiful, unique, and definitely attention grabbing. He still uses his first name, Abel, in his Instagram handle, simply as @abelxo. The Weeknd initially started making music as the Noise with a producer in Toronto. Soon after that, he met another producer, Jeremy Rose, who started producing a lot of the music he first released mysteriously on YouTube as "The Weeknd."
The answer for why the "Can't Feel My Face" performer chose this stage name is pretty straightforward. (Well, at least according to him, but we will get to the juicy stuff later.) Reddit's Ask Me Anything sessions have become one of the jewels of the Internet and allow people of various expertise to answer almost anything fans want to know. Two years ago, The Weeknd was a featured AMA artist and one of the first questions was where his name came from. He answered,
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 sh*tty van and left one weekend and never came back home. It was gonna be the title of HOB. 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).
For reference, Lamar is part of The Weeknd's XO crew from Toronto and HOB is short for title of his debut mixtape, House of Balloons. A few commenters on Reddit cleverly hypothesized that the dropped "e" means the moniker is meant to be read as "The Weakened" or that it means he has "dropped E," making it a drug reference.
Inevitably, once you start getting recognition, there might some people from the past that want to take credit for your success, and aforementioned ex-producer Rose's story of The Weeknd's name doesn't sound entirely unlikely.
In 2012, Vice caught up with Rose, who was the first producer who worked with the singer and helped to make the first tracks he ever dropped. He told Vice, "We started as a group; it was he and I, and we called ourselves “The Weekend.” I came up with that name, by the way."
He also talked on about the bad blood that happened after they stopped working together. He said,
Well, I left. He dropped the “e.” But he was pushing for some things I didn’t want to do, and it got to the point where he wouldn’t respect my opinion. He wanted me to produce for him without any of my input. And I was like, “Well then, what’s the point of being a group?” and he was like, “You can just be my producer."
Hmmm, considering his severed relationship with The Weeknd now, it's hard to know who is in the right, but it seems like things have settled by this point. Since those first songs he released, The Weeknd has produced and written tons of tracks that have totally validated his talent. At this point, no one else is The Weeknd, but Abel Tesfaye.
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