Singer and songwriter, whose given name is Abel Tesfaye, is ready to shed his artist name as The Weeknd. He recently shared that he’s going through a major rebirth and updated his social media profiles to reflect his birth name. Since the change, we learned more about Abel’s Ethiopian and Canadian heritage and why he’s choosing to embrace his cultural identity a little bit more these days. Read more inside.
In an interview with W Magazine earlier this month, the “Die For You” singer revealed that he was on a path to reinvention as a musician and the album he’s working on, “is probably my last hurrah as The Weeknd”.
The Ethiopian and Canadian singer-songwriter updated his social media profiles to his real name Abel Tesfaye, while keeping his handle the same as “The Weeknd.”
“I’m going through a cathartic path right now,” the 33-year-old told the magazine.
Tesfaye reflects on the purge he’s undergoing as he cleanses himself of his artist name and closes The Weeknd chapter once and for all.
“It’s getting to a place and a time where I’m getting ready to close the Weeknd chapter,” he adds. “I’ll still make music, maybe as Abel, maybe as The Weeknd. But I still want to kill The Weeknd. And I will. Eventually. I’m definitely trying to shed that skin and be reborn.”
While fans get ready for a new album, Tesfaye is healing and replenishing himself so that the music is reflective of his truest and most elevated self.
In a post created by AJ Plus, they dissect how The Weeknd’s Ethiopian and Canadian heritage has influenced his rebirth as Abel Tesfaye.
Here are a few things we discovered after watching:
1. Abel TesfayeSource:The Weeknd
The name Abel in Amharic means “hope,” which is an ode to his Ethiopian culture.
2. His BackgroundSource:The Weeknd
His parents fled the country in late ’80s due to civil unrest.
3. Abel’s Influences Come From His HomelandSource:Aster Aweke
Aster Aweke (pictured) and Mulatu Astatke are two of his musical influences. Both artists share the same cultural background as Tesfaye.
4. English Is His Third LanguageSource:The Weeknd
Abel’s culture has always been significant to him. So much so, that his first language his Amharic. Then, he learned French in school and English later.
5. Culture Reflected In The MusicSource:YouTube
Abel sings Amharic in his music as heard at the end of his hit song “The Hills.”
6. Partnered With Coffee Brand To Honor His Mom & HomeSource:The Weeknd
Tesfaye partnered with Blue Bottle Coffee to create “Samra Origins,” which is named after his mother and homeland.
7. Making A Name For HimselfSource:YouTube
In a 2018 interview with Zane Lowe, he talks about his mom and representing his culture.
“Make a name for and represent where I come from and the culture I come from,” he shares in the interview. “Because there ain’t many Ethiopian artists, like American, Canadian, Pop.”